It looks chunkier and more appealing than ever, but the Peugeot 2008 is still a middling option in a mediocre class of cars

What is it?

This facelift of the Peugeot 2008 is just that. Styling and equipment has been changed but little has happened beneath the skin, with the same engine line-up and chassis set-up remaining. And why should they, given that the company has shifted more than half a million 2008s worldwide? If it ain’t broke…

As well as simply keeping it up to date with key rivals such as the Renault Captur and Nissan Juke, Peugeot is hoping that the more bluff-nosed styling, which includes a higher leading edge to the bonnet and the lion badge set into the grille, will make the 2008 appeal to a broader spread of buyers.

A new GT Line trim, which replaces the previous range-topping Feline trim, brings a more sporting appearance, with gloss black roof bars and grille, red Peugeot lettering, a panoramic glass roof and red stitching around the cabin, among other tweaks. You also now get Peugeot’s ‘Grip Control’ system – an electronic system that maximises grip in the front-drive 2008 for mud, snow and sand - as standard on more powerful Allure models and all examples of the GT Line trim.

What's it like?

It’s much the same to drive, of course. The 1.6-litre 118bhp diesel motor is a staple in the Peugeot range these days, although its installation in the 2008 leaves a little to be desired. There’s a lot of boomy engine resonance in the cabin at lower revs and a general background din of suspension and tyre noise even at town speeds, while tyre noise takes over on the motorway. Still, the engine pulls with fair gusto and it isn’t hard to keep on the boil. A good thing, since rowing the notchy, imprecise gear shift is no pleasure.

Body roll is quite progressive and there’s no ungainly jarring on the bump stops to worry about, while ride comfort is pretty good. It bustles around a bit over undulating and scrappy surfaces, but bump absorption is generally pliant and you feel like you’re getting a cushy ride over most roads. You’ll be more bothered by the aggressive initial steering response, which is emphasised by that tiny steering wheel. While a fast rack and small wheel do result in a reactive, nimble-feeling turn-in that many will enjoy, it also makes the 2008 feel a touch flighty at times. It’s just too easy to whack a few degrees too much lock on and have to adjust your line subsequently. 

The higher seating position of the 2008 actually suits Peugeot’s rather opinion-dividing cabin style more than lower-set hatches such as the 208 and 308. Being raised to a loftier position makes it easier to see the dials over the low-set wheel, so while some will still find it odd, most will at least be able to get comfortable while still having the dials clearly in sight. This is also the nicest looking cabin in the class, helped along by the 7.0in colour touchscreen, which you get on most trims and which now features Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink.

There’s a enough room in the back for a couple of average-sized adults to sit comfortably behind taller adults in the front, but the short rear doors and surprisingly high sill over which you have to step means that this actually isn’t a particularly function-first small SUV. You’d struggle to get three across the rear bench, and there’s no centre rear armrest either.

The boot also has some odd quirks, mainly a load bay cover that doesn’t lift with the bootlid. Instead, it’s hinged so you can lift the leading edge to see the boot better, but lifting the whole thing is a double-handed faff that is sure to infuriate if you’re trying to simultaneously martial wayward children and shopping trolleys. At least the split-folding seats drop easily to leave a flat loadbay.

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Should I buy one?

This whole class of dinky urban SUVs is blighted by mediocrity. All the key contenders have major pitfalls, from the cheap-feeling Renault Captur to the too-pokey Nissan Juke, the aged-feeling Ford Ecosport, and firm-riding Kia Soul. The Peugeot 2008 is no exception, with oddly impractical touches marring its cabin functionality and its quite poor refinement being big irritations in an otherwise respectable dynamic repertoire. For that reason, we’d still say that a conventional hatchback – be it Polo-sized or even Golf-sized – will do much the same job, only better. 

Still, the high seating position and chunky looks undoubtedly have big appeal, and if you’re set on a bit of urban roving in a compact SUV, we’d say the Renault Captur, with its superior cabin versatility and equipment levels, plus lower pricing, is a better bet. The Peugeot’s classier-feeling forward cabin and sharper handling give it an edge that some buyers will fall for, but look to  the still well-equipped Allure trim to get much better value, given that the GT Line models command a price tag of around £20,000 that the 2008 struggles to justify. Ultimately, the 2008 remains a middling option in a middling class of cars. 

Peugeot 2008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 GT Line

Location: Gloucester; On sale: Now; Price £20,565; Engine 4 cyls, 1560cc, diesel; Power 118bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1200kg; 0 62mph 9.6sec; Top speed 119mph; Economy 76.3mpg (combined); CO2 rating & BIK tax band 96g/km, 19%

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gazza5 3 June 2016

its not too bad

we have one on a 14 plate - its the wifes car - shes very happy with it. We ruled out the captur as she didn't like the 0.9 tce engine - preferred the peugeot 1.2. I actually like the little engines noise - although 1st and 2nd gears are very short.

Motorway it isn't as bad as the review states - unless the GT Line trim has larger alloys - ours is allure spec and is fine - although I didn't really enjoy 4 hours of motorway we did in france with it - the engine noise did get tiresome - but it is in my mind a around town car.

Shrub 2 June 2016

Oh Lordy

for less than £20k you can buy an SE spec Yeti and avoid the described mediocrity.