Peugeot has given its accomplished 3008 crossover an uprated engine paired with an eight-speed transmission
A winner gets better The Peugeot 3008 has a panoramic sunroof with motorised screen and blue LED accents; and its chassis is as exquisite as before. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Two years ago, Peugeot's newly launched 3008 came within a hair's breath of clinching The Straits Times Car of the Year award. It lost out by merely two points to the eventual winner - the Lexus LC500.

The compact crossover's high score was not surprising. It was extremely well put together, offered a high equipment level and drove exceedingly well. Its chassis exceeded all expectations and its progressive styling made the car stand out in a sea of SUVs.

Peugeot could have left the car untouched for its entire product lifespan. After all, if it ain't broke, why fix it? Indeed, some "fixes" have had less than desirable outcomes.

Fortunately, that is not the case with the 3008's facelift.

The car's output has been raised - from 163hp at 6,000rpm to 181hp at 5,500rpm. Peak torque goes from 240Nm to 250Nm, although availability is a little higher at 1,650rpm (from 1,400rpm previously).

The car gets an eight-speed autobox, up from a six-speeder. The upgrade translates to a 0-100kmh dash of 8.8 seconds - an improvement of 0.1 seconds. Top speed goes up to 222kmh, from 206kmh. And fuel efficiency improves by 1.7 per cent to 5.7 litres/100km.

On the road, these marginal changes are not obvious. The previous car was already a very accomplished product, which was not wanting in driveability nor pace.

But if you were to split hairs, then you might find the revised car a little less responsive to throttle inputs at lower engine speeds, especially if you were in a particular hurry.

On the highway, the long-leggedness of its eight-speed transmission comes to the fore. The result? Slightly more relaxed cruising.

The extra horsepower is not all that relevant in Singapore, where you would hardly find the need to rev hard to get the car up to a trot. Unless you are in a drag race or rushing to your destination on Malaysia's North-South Highway, the additional 18hp is not going to matter.

But it is good to know the extra oomph is there when you need it.

The car's chassis is as exquisite as before. Which is saying a lot, since two years can be a long time in the fast-changing automotive world.

Then again, with many manufacturers focusing on adding more onboard gadgets rather than improving, say, a car's ride and handling, the 3008 is in a good place.

Hardly any changes have been made elsewhere. The wing mirrors' self-folding function can be de-selected and the left mirror dips when Reverse gear is selected. The latter is irrelevant as the car comes with a useful 360-degree camera system.

Its equipment list remains impressive. In Allure trim, it includes full LED headlights, panoramic sunroof with motorised screen and blue LED accents, and foldable front passenger seat. Safety features include blind-spot monitor, lane-keeping assist and high beam assist.

The cockpit is still modern, with digital instruments that are useful and visually pleasing. The car's sporty steering wheel (with flat top and bottom) is as grippy, light and quick-acting as before.

If you have not considered the 3008 before, now is an even better time to do so.