New Peugeot 2008 2016 review
More technology and efficiency for the facelifted Peugeot 2008 crossover in GT Line form but is it enough?
The Peugeot 2008 gains an extra dose of desirability with this mid-life update. It’s more stylish and better equipped than before, plus it’s just as cheap to run. And while the three-cylinder PureTech engine offers adequate performance, the cheaper 108bhp version should suit most buyers. This new GT Line spec may look good, but it’s quite pricey. A cheaper trim makes more sense and would likely add an extra star.
The Peugeot 2008 caught the attention of small car buyers when it arrived in 2013. Based on the 208 hatchback, it offered style-conscious supermini drivers something a bit different. Pitched directly at the Nissan Juke, the 2008 has now found more than half a million homes around the world and nearly 50,000 in the UK.
But three years later, the time has come for a mid-life nip and tuck. There’s a fresh face and updated kit list, along with a sporty new top-of-the-range GT Line trim tested here. The familiar i-Cockpit dashboard remains, with the interior of most models featuring a seven-inch touchscreen display.
The biggest changes are on the outside. Up front, Peugeot has fitted a bolder, vertically slatted grille, scuff plates and darkened headlamps, while new wheelarch extensions provide a more aggressive look. At the back, a set of 3D tail-lamps offers a distinctive design after dark.
Inside, anyone who has driven a 208 or 308 will feel right at home. Material quality is decent overall; it’s just a shame Peugeot didn’t upgrade the scratchy plastics on the top of the dash. The familiar small steering wheel and raised dials are carried over from the outgoing car, while MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay technology are incorporated into the infotainment system for the first time.
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This extra smartphone functionality will come as a welcome addition to those deeply immersed in our ever-connected world. The lack of physical buttons is still frustrating, although that’s likely to improve on models like the new 3008, which will come complete with Peugeot’s second-generation iCockpit design later this year.
Already successful on the 208, 308 and 508, the new GT Line spec features gloss-black detailing, 17-inch alloys and unique badging. Buyers also get stainless-steel tread plates, aluminium pedals and red stitching inside, along with a full-length panoramic roof and sat-nav.
However, as GT Line sits above Allure trim at the top of the 2008 range, these extra details come at a price. Our test car cost almost £20,000, which is a lot of money for what is effectively a supermini on steroids. It’s not available with the best-selling 81bhp PureTech engine, either, meaning even the cheapest GT Line model starts at £18,815.
On the road, the new 2008 feels, unsurprisingly, much like the old 2008. No changes have been made to the chassis, suspension or steering, so it remains capable rather than fun to drive. The small steering wheel gives it a heightened sense of agility, but it feels numb in faster corners. The turbo petrol engine needs to be revved quite hard to extract its potential, and those after a more relaxed driving style will be better suited to one of the torquey diesels.
Still, the 128bhp PureTech petrol engine is remarkably refined on the motorway. There’s a characteristic three-cylinder thrum under hard acceleration, yet it settles into a rhythm at higher speeds. It’s a shame the gearbox has such a long throw, though, as this makes it hard to string together a series of smooth changes.
But what the 2008 can’t offer in fun, it makes up for in running costs. Claimed 58.9mpg economy for our PureTech 130 is pretty good, pipping the less powerful auto-only Renault Captur TCe 120 by almost 9mpg. Road tax is cheap on all 2008s thanks to the fact that CO2 emissions come in at less than 115g/km across the range.
As before, practicality is decent – the car adds a dose of versatility to the smaller 208, without the larger footprint of a 308 or 3008. It’s unchanged from the outgoing model, with decent space in the back for adults and wide door openings meaning fitting a child seat is no trouble. The 350-litre load bay is on par with the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka’s capacities, while folding the rear seats flat frees up a cavernous 1,194 litres.
Higher-spec cars – including our GT Line model – paired with engines that deliver more than 100bhp also benefit from Peugeot’s unique Grip Control system, which distributes the torque differently on sand, mud or snow to get the car out of tricky situations. All models remain front-wheel drive only, but on our short test route, the set-up worked well. More go than show, perhaps, yet we still wonder how many 2008 owners will actually use it.