Peugeot has refreshed the 3008, handing it an even more distinctive face. We drive the flagship GT version.

Despite the impact of a certain pandemic, Peugeot managed to improve its market share in South Africa’s passenger-vehicle segment in 2020. While that progress came off an admittedly low base, the French firm nevertheless appears bang on course to achieve more growth this year, with the new, sharply styled 2008 leading the charge on the local front.

But the larger 3008 has a key role to play, too. Fortunately, some four years after the second-generation model hit local shores, the Stellantis-owned automaker has rolled out a refreshed version, furnishing the compact crossover with an even more striking face.

Note the striking new front end.

So, what does this facelift bring? Well, the 3008’s mid-cycle update adds a daring new frameless grille that spills out into the area below the redesigned LED headlights, while fang-like daytime running lights now stretch deep into the front bumper (similar to those employed by the latest-generation 208 and 2008) and double as indicators. Round back, the changes aren’t quite as comprehensive, though the LED taillights do upgrade to the latest version of the firm’s eye-catching “3D claw” lighting signature.

As before, the three-strong local range’s bottom and middle rungs are occupied by the Active and Allure variants respectively, though the previous flagship (GT-Line) derivative has been supplanted by this new GT. As you might expect, the range-topper boasts the sharpest styling of the trio, set apart by design elements such as two-tone 19-inch alloy wheels and a gloss-black finish for the roof.

The GT model features two-tone alloys as standard.

Inside the GT, the pre-facelift model’s eight-inch centrally sited touchscreen has made way for a version upsized to 10 inches (Active and Allure stick with the smaller display, though), again supplemented by a neat row of toggle switches that provide quick access to on-screen functions such as air conditioning, telephony and mobile applications.

The GT version’s cabin is further distinguished by wireless smartphone charging, an uprated sound system, Nappa leather upholstery (offered in red rather than black at no extra cost) and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat complete with heating and massage functions.

Red leather is a no-cost option.

Overall, the cabin is of a high perceived quality, featuring a pleasing mix of soft-touch materials and lovely little design details, from intricate stitching to the wood-effect trim set into the dashboard. Peugeot has persisted with its almost comically small steering wheel but the arrangement works surprisingly well in this package – if you’re not too finicky about your preferred driving position, that is. As before, the pilot views a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster over the top of the low-slung tiller, with the latter helping the 3008 feel like a more compact, wieldier thing from behind the wheel.

In reality, of course, it’s not that compact at all inside, thanks in part to the 2 675 mm wheelbase. The result is enough interior space – fore and aft, and both in terms of leg- and headroom – to place the 3008 somewhere in the middle of the class. Luggage space, meanwhile, has grown to a particularly generous 591 litres, accessed via an electrically operated tailgate.

GT model upgrades to a 10-inch display.

As before, any firmness to the ride becomes obvious only over aggressively corrugated surfaces, quickly fading into the background in daily driving thanks to sophisticated damping. While the 3008 doesn’t feel quite as dynamically polished as, say, a Mazda CX-5, it still steers with a sense of confidence not entirely common in this segment.

Whereas Europe enjoys a broader powertrain line-up – including smaller petrol mills, a diesel unit and even a top-spec hybrid model boasting a healthy 223 kW – the single, unchanged engine option soldiers on locally, as does the six-speed automatic transmission. That means urge again comes from a turbocharged 1.6-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 121 kW and 240 Nm to the front axle.

Still, it’s a tractable powerplant with many virtues, including the linear manner in which it delivers its power to the tarmac. Since that useful dollop of twisting force is on tap from as low as 1 400 r/min, the Sochaux-built 3008 displays satisfying in-gear punch, too, while the otherwise refined four-pot becomes aurally obtrusive only under hard acceleration.

The rear lighting signature has been updated, too.

While the price tag of this GT flagship may appear somewhat steep at first glance, it’s by no means out of step with those of its rivals (yes, car prices really have ballooned of late). In fact, considering Peugeot’s move upmarket and this model’s lengthy list of standard features – including lane-departure warning, blind-spot detection, a 360-degree camera system and adaptive cruise control (though the switchgear is curiously hidden from view on a satellite stalk) – the 3008 offers plenty for the money.

Thanks to the latest evolution of the 3008’s attention-grabbing exterior styling and its frankly stunning cabin, this refreshed crossover remains a compelling option in a segment where many automakers choose to play it safe. While the update isn’t a major one, the 3008 is certainly still very well equipped to play its part in Peugeot’s push for yet more local growth.

At a glance

Peugeot 3008 1.6T GT
In a swirling sea of compact crossovers that all look and feel very much the same, Peugeot’s daring 3008 continues to stand out. Thankfully, it has the substance to back up all that style.

Price: R644 900

Engine: 1.6 L, 4-cyl, turbopetrol

Transmission: 6-spd AT

Driven wheels: F

Power: 121 kW @ 6 000 r/min

Torque: 240 Nm @ 1 400 r/min

0-100 km/h: 8.9 seconds

Top speed: 201 km/h

Fuel consumption: 7.0 L/100 km

CO2: 156 g/km