Though Peugeot got plenty right with the original 2008 crossover, it freely admits some elements were wrong.
The brand did an admirable job anticipating the trend for compact SUVs, beating many rivals to market when the city SUV based on the 208 hatch arrived in 2013. But key ingredients weren't quite right - the entry-level model was only available with a five-speed manual transmission, while other variants were saddled with an old four-speed auto.
Peugeot has reworked its line-up for 2017, replacing a choice of two transmissions and three engines with a single 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol motor mated to a six-speed automatic.
Finding that the majority of Peugeot customers - and baby SUV buyers - were avoiding cut-price models, the brand added extra features to its 2008 Active entry point which has climbed from original opening point of $21,990 (manual) to $26,490 plus on-road costs.
Vehicle Style: Compact SUV
Price: $26,490 (Active) - $32,990 (GT-Line - both prices exclude on-road costs),
Engine/trans: 81kW/205Nm 1.2 litre 3cyl turbo-petrol | 6sp automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 4.8 l/100km
The new entry-level 2008 features a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, single-zone air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels and more. But it doesn't have autonomous emergency braking, which is reserved for the next rung up.
Customers prepared to pay $30,990 can get into a 2008 Allure, which offers 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, self-parking, dual-zone climate control and more.
The exclusively diesel and manual top-line 2008 Outdoor has been replaced by a new 2008 GT-Line using the same engine (now petrol-powered) as lesser models. Cosmetic in nature, the $32,990 model includes a leather steering wheel with red stitching, alloy sports pedals, a gloss black grille surround and red highlights throughout the exterior and cabin.
Peugeot is offering a five-year warranty to initial customers, an agreement likely to revert to three years after a few months. Capped price servicing at 12 month / 15,000 kilometre intervals runs to $2721 for the first five years.
A mild exterior facelift across the range introduces a new grille with more prominent placement for Peugeot's lion emblem, as well as claw-shaped LED tail lights.
ON THE ROAD
On the inside, the 2008 persists with Peugeot's odd ergonomics framed around a tiny, low-set steering wheel and high-mounted driver instruments that can be obscured by the controls. As before, the cabin's design and materials feel a cut above many Japanese rivals, though there are a few niggles including a lack of grab handles or rear air vents, and a squeaky dash in one of our two test cars.
Front occupant space is more than passable, but rear room is a little tight for adults - an element compensated for by a larger-than-average 410 litre boot home to a temporary spare wheel.
While much of the 2008 remains unchanged since it first arrived, the 2017 model's engine represents a departure of sorts.
The previous model was available with 1.2-litre or 1.6-litre engines offering 60kW/118Nm or 88kW/160Nm, along with a 1.6-litre diesel driveline with 68kW and 230Nm, and only the 88kW petrol motor was available with a (four-speed) automatic transmission.
All three of those engines have been replaced with a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol motor borrowed from the 308 hatchback. Offering up 81kW at 5500rpm and 205Nm at 1500rpm, the engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels, helping return an official fuel figure of just 4.8L/100km - less than key rivals and the outgoing petrol models. Peugeot also says the combination is good for a 0-100km/h time of 11.3 seconds, which isn't brisk in anyone's book.
The three-cylinder engine is something of an acquired taste. Like many of its kind, the triple offers a charming thrum with more character than regular four-cylinder engines, but it can grumble and shudder under load at low revs. That new automatic transmission is a good thing, helping keep the engine quiet at cruising speeds and doing a generally agreeable job of choosing the right ratios.
Peugeot reckons cars of this type don't need all-wheel-drive, and they're right - few buyers are likely to take the 2008 off road, or at least far enough off the beaten track that all-wheel-drive is a must.
Those who do may be better served by the "Grip Control" system fitted to mid-spec Allure and top-end GT-Line models; a clever stability control system intended to optimise traction in a variety of conditions.
We didn't have a chance to drive the new 2008 away from sealed surfaces, so it's difficult to say whether the machine is any more capable than other front-wheel-drive vehicles on loose surfaces.
What we can say is that the 2008 has decent road manners no doubt helped by its lithe 1045 kilogram weight. The little Peugeot responds quickly to steering inputs, offering confident roadholding and decent composure in the bends.
TMR FIRST DRIVE VERDICT
The 2017 Peugeot 2008 doesn't ride quite as well as we've come to expect from Peugeot, fidgeting somewhat over bumps, though that could be traced to its 160mm ground clearance.
There's also a more-than-average amount of road noise, and the little engine can feel stressed when pressed.
Like many examples of this breed, the 2008 offers little to recommended it over a similarly-priced conventional car such as Peugeot's excellent 308 hatch.
But those who do gravitate toward the butch styling and extra ground clearance will be happy to see Peugeot has righted the wrongs of its original model.
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