IT'S rare that I drive a new model that so surpasses the one it replaces that it seems in another league.
But the new Peugeot 2008 with its stronger, more purposeful look and huge range of plus points, is just such a beast.
I would not have believed that the 1.2-litre turbo petrol I drove could deliver such performance along with excellent economy.
The three cylinder turbo is available with 110bhp, but this one had the more powerful 130bhp version and it's a gem.
There are also two versions of the improved 1.6 diesel in the range but, if you enjoy your driving, the petrol is the one.
I said when I first drove a car with this little power unit that it would be marvellous in a smaller body and it most certainly is.
It's delightfully smooth and wonderfully tuneful, revving sweetly whenever needed. But it will also pull happily from low revs in fifthand sixthgears and deliver real acceleration remarkable quickly.
The combination makes it a joy to use and, in this car, absolutely superb. There's always enough power for overtaking or pressing on and I just couldn't get enough of it.
The new model is wider, longer and taller than the 208 it's based on, with a raised ride height giving excellent ground clearance.
It's not a proper off-roader because drive is only to the front wheels, but it can be had with Peugeot's Grip Control system, which helps give best traction in snow, mud or on grass.
In that it's the same as many crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-3, except that those two-wheel-drive versions don't have such electronic help.
The high stance of the Peugeot 2008 helps give a very comfortable ride on the road, soaking up everything at slow speeds and also out on rougher open roads.
But it's also very good through the corners, with fine balance, excellent grip and not much roll.
Peugeot has listened to owners and changed the dials so that they now both sweep clockwise instead of one going anti-clockwise - always a strange idea.
The high driving position is comfortable and gives a great view all round, rear legroom is very good and the boot is huge.
The GT-Line I drove comes with parking sensors, reversing camera, sat nav, alarm, drilled metal-look pedals, remote locking, climate, sun roof, leather and cloth seats with red stitching, leather covered steering wheel and sombre-looking black alloys.