The previous generation Peugeot 2008 may have lacked the visual impact of its SUV rivals but this updated model not only gets that more robust image it benefits from new engines, a much improved automatic transmission and a new specification grade.
In the Metal:
Many of the new design features replicate what has already been seen on the current Peugeot 208, which itself was updated in May 2015. Up front there is a new grille that is more upright than before and wider too. That Lion badge that was on the bonnet previously is now in the centre of the grille while the Peugeot name takes pride of place along the top. Restyled headlights add to the sharper image and at the rear there are new tail lights that mimic the three claw design seen in other new Peugeot models.
Even though the previous version of the 2008 was ostensibly a crossover, it looked largely like a raised five-door 208 rather, whereas now it very much resembles a small but rugged looking SUV. Grille aside, the front bumper has been restyled to give the car what Peugeot calls a more "robust" image.
Inside the design retains the same iCockpit layout as before though a new range-topping trim level, GT Line, is introduced and adds a sportier styling. Throughout the cabin there are various storage bins and compartments that add up to give 24 litres of storage in the passenger compartment. Boot space is now 410 litres - up from 350 litres in the previous 2008 - and this can be expanded up to 1,400 litres by lowering the rear seats, which conveniently splits 60:40. Passenger space in the rear isn't bad and is complemented by reasonable headroom but whoever is in the middle seat will feel a bit squeezed. Go for the Allure specification and you'll get a panoramic glass roof which features an illuminated surround as standard.
Little has changed in how the Peugeot 2008 performs on the road though it did benefit from a decent starting point. What is more impressive is the new 1.2-litre PureTech 110 petrol engine combined with Peugeot's 6-speed Efficient Automatic Transmission (EAT6). Pulling away the engine feels smooth and sounds quite refined, with the EAT6 slipping easily between gears. At urban speeds it feels every bit as good as any of the best automatic transmissions on the market. If it was to marked down for anything it would be the lack of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, especially on this sportier GT Line specification, and also the selector itself appears quite dated looking with its open gate.
At speed the 2008 feels composed and even on hillier roads with varying topography the EAT6 by and large does a fine job of having the suitable ratio engaged the vast majority of the time. Occasionally it can get a little caught out but it does quickly rectify itself and all by the more astute drivers will most likely fail to notice.
The ride is compliant on a variety of surfaces and easily copes with the usual urban obstacles like potholes and speed bumps. Its steering is on the light side and at higher speeds like on motorways for example can see it moving about easily, so steady hands are required.
Whether you opt for the 1.2-litre PureTech 110 engine in manual or automatic form as tested here its CO2 emissions are the same meaning the only penalty you will pay is in the price difference of the vehicle. If you regularly have a full accompaniment of passengers or do lots of longer distance driving you may want to consider the more powerful PureTech 130 as it has that bit more torque.
What you get for your Money:
The introduction of a new fourth trim level with GT Line demonstrates that Peugeot is aiming to offer a 2008 to suit all tastes including the more premium end of the segment now. The existing three trim levels offer reasonably generous levels of equipment in comparison to some of its rivals.
All models from level two 'Active' get Mirror Screen and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity as standard along with Active City Brake and Park Assist.
The new GT Line will add a sporty looking black interior with red accents and contrasting red stitching on the steering wheel, handbrake, gear selector along with a red LED instrument panel. Stainless steel sill plates, aluminium pedals and GT Line badging on the front wings and tailgate all add to the sportier appeal of this new trim line as do the 17-inch diamante alloy wheels that come as standard on this trim level. Door mirrors, fog lights and grille surround are also all finished in black. The GT Line also benefits from having Peugeot's Grip Control as standard. This optimises traction for the front wheels in difficult conditions like mud or snow to give improved drivability. It also gets slightly more ground clearance at 16cm and comes equipped with all season certified winter tyres.
With its raft of exterior updates the new Peugeot 2008 has gained the kerbside appeal it was previously lacking. This combined with good levels of equipment throughout the range not to mention some pretty polished engines make this one of the better propositions in the burgeoning small SUV crossover market.