Peugeot has facelifted its small SUV 2008 for 2016, changing its looks and adding this Puretech 130 GT Line model. We've driven it abroad

What is it?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 10 years, you'll have noticed that SUVs are big business. To be honest, even if you have been living under said rock, you'd probably still have a small SUV out front on your driveway. Peugeot knows this; it has built nearly 600,000 of its Peugeot 2008s worldwide since 2013, and enjoyed more than 40,000 UK sales.

To keep it fresh, the Peugeot 2008 has received new bumper, grille and light styling for 2016, as well as a more butch appearance including new wider arches and front and rear scuff plates on its two highest trim levels, together with Peugeot's Grip Control off-road advanced traction control system. Emergency city braking also now makes an appearance on the options list, as does a self-park function and two new exterior colours.

GT Line trim now sits at the top of the range acting as the sporty option with more aggressive styling, and Peugeot's proven 129bhp turbocharged three-cylinder Puretech petrol engine is available on the 2008 for the first time. It's this engine in the aforementioned GT Line trim we're focusing on here. 

It's no secret, this SUV boom - plenty of other manufacturers have noticed. As such, the 2008 still needs to tempt buyers away from a wide spectrum of rivals such as Renault's Renault Captur and Nissan's Nissan Juke.

What's it like?

Unfortunately, this GT Line isn't as exciting to drive as its name and unique black and red accents suggest. Our car's range-topping Puretech engine is certainly stout enough to cope with town and motorway work, but it often needed a lower gear to access its sweetest band on our hilly test route. It feels a little less well installed in the 2008 too, compared with Peugeot's 308, say, sending more vibration back through the controls under load. There's also a fair amount of wind and tyre noise heard in the cabin at higher speeds.

Peugeot's trademark small steering wheel remains a feature, but the 2008's relatively aggressive steering doesn't really suit its chassis. It's a little vague around its centre, but weights and speeds up rapidly just a few degrees beyond it, returning to the straight-ahead briskly while never communicating much of what's happening at the front wheels. Subsequently, it feels slightly nervous on the move, often forcing you to adjust your line in sharp bends. Push hard, and it's not long before the 2008's front wheels give up grip.

There are no suspension modifications for the GT Line, and its soft set-up ensures noticeable body lean through corners. It also allows vertical movement over undulations and the 2008's nose to dip more than you'd like under braking. It does help the 2008 soak up large obstructions well, although the GT Line's range-largest 17in alloys transfer edges to the cabin more readily than in lesser models with more rubber.

Inside there's better news. The GT Line's front seats provide decent support and both they and the steering wheel adjust generously. Two tall adults will have no problem with head or leg room, either. The back seats will struggle to sit three adults abreast comfortably, but two will find good head room, and enough leg room if the front passengers aren't too gangly. 410 litres of boot space with the rear seats in place is impressive, and it's an easily accessible, practical space at that. 60/40 split-folding rear seats open the space to 1400 litres. 

The 2008's cabin quality was close to class leading when it was launched, and it still looks and feels right up there; hence there haven't been any changes. A more welcome addition can be found on the 2008's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system found as standard from Active trim, although it remains a little less responsive than the class's best efforts. Apple CarPlay and Mirror Link (for non-Apple devices) is now standard from second-rung Active trim, and transforms the user experience for the better. 

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Should I buy one?

The Peugeot 2008 remains a solid choice among the UK's many small SUV options. Its cabin still feels plush next to its closest rivals', and it offers competitive space for people and luggage, too. That its handling inspires little fun is unlikely to be a big concern to most buyers, but this GT Line has to be marked down for its uncomfortable ride and considerable price. At £19,215, we're well into bigger and dynamically superior (albeit less well equipped) Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti SUV territory.

In truth, our back-to-back experience of this 129bhp Puretech and its slightly less powerful 109bhp guise suggests that there's better value in the lesser unit. The latter feels only slightly less alert, is as clean and frugal and costs less to buy. While we're at it, Allure trim retains many of the 2008's stylish features, comes very well equipped and slashes the 2008's price to a level that helps this small SUV make even more sense.  

Peugeot 2008 1.2 Puretech 130 GT Line

Location Valencia; On sale now; Price £19,215; Engine 3-cyls, 1199cc, turbo, petrol; Power 129bhp at 5500rpm; Torque 170lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1160kg; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 124mph; Economy 58.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 110g/km, 19% 

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bowsersheepdog 8 May 2016

A step not far enough

Instead of a facelift they should have picked up the whole thing, with a fork lift, and dropped it off a cliff.
scrap 5 May 2016

Butch? It's a very camp kind

Butch? It's a very camp kind of butch. Really, who buys this rubbish? It's not a good car, yet it sells. Baffling.