Peugeot lift the lid on new 2008 DKR

There have been Peugeot SUVs before, but none have been quite like this…

Peugeot have finally lifted the veil on the workings of their new 2008 DKR, due to test its mettle in the gruelling 2015 Dakar Rally.

Dakar Rally

Despite being called a rally, the Dakar event is more akin to an off-road endurance race, and entering vehicles will be expected to tackle sand dunes, mountains, rough terrain, searing temperatures and much more.

2008 DKR

The vast majority of entrants are four-wheel drive, but Peugeot have made an unprecedented move by making the 2008 DKR two-wheel drive only.

Bruno Famin, director for Peugeot Sport, said: “When it comes to cross-country rallying, the biggest question is whether to run with four-wheel-drive or just two. After a detailed study of the question, we decided to go for two-wheel drive transmission which presents a number of interesting benefits.”

Some of the benefits include reduced weight and the use of bigger wheels, to make the 2008 DKR more nimble and able to tackle more types of environment. In addition, the DKR features suspension travel, the distance the suspension can move, that’s nearly twice as long as competitors, enhancing its ability over rough or uneven ground.

V6 twin-turbo diesel engine

The 2008 DKR is powered by a muscular 240bhp V6 twin-turbo diesel engine, positioned in the mid-rear of the chassis, increasing weight distribution and balance, as well as giving the DKR plenty of power to hammer through everything the Dakar Rally will throw at it.

Officially unveiled in April, the 2008 DKR is based on Peugeot’s popular 2008 crossover model.

The road-going 2008 is based on the 208 supermini, albeit with an enlarged and raised profile to bring it into the SUV crossover class.

It feels distinctly upmarket, as opposed to its rough and ready DKR offspring, with soft plastics, blue-rimmed dials and a touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone-style scrolling function.

An economical 1.6-litre diesel engine with emissions of just 98g/km offers free road tax with CO2 emissions of just 98g/km means that it’s road-tax free. It can also be specified with an automatic gearbox, giving fuel economy of 74.3mpg, while the manual gearbox will return 70.6mpg with either the 92 or 115bhp options.

There’s also plenty of room in the boot, with the 360-litre storage space head and shoulders above the 2008’s closest rival, the Nissan Juke, which only has 251 litres of boot space. There’s also plenty of room for passengers, but the 2008’s compact profile still makes it equally easy to navigate around country lanes or tight city streets, and the raised profile offers excellent driving visibility.

Prices for the Peugeot 2008 start from £12,995. The 2008 DKR, meanwhile, will make its debut at the 2015 Dakar Rally next January, covering a 9000-kilometre route from Argentina through Chile and Bolivia.