THERE'S something of the Russian doll effect about the newly restyled diminutive Peugeot 2008.
Following the runaway success of its bigger brother, the 3008, with its chunky off-road styling, snazzy headlights and sharp lines, Peugeot decided to transfer the formula to the smaller car which didn't have such a clear identity. And why not!
The result is a neat crossover with of-the-moment looks together with family appeal by the bucketload. It's a bit bigger than before, improving passenger and luggage capacity, and is built on the same platform as the Citroen C3 Crossback and the latest Vauxhall Corsa, as they are all part of the same Stellantis group.
There's a choice between electric, diesel or petrol power - we opted for the 1.2litreturbo petrol PureTech unit, a delightful three-cylinder engine that knocks out a healthy 129bhp.
Rivalling the new Nissan Juke and the successful VW T-Roc it's up against some notable opposition.
In typical Peugeot fashion, it's a very driver orientated car offering keen performance with bags of character and feel. It's one of those models that just begs to be driven hard.
The little engine offers instant throttle response, yet it remains civilised and pleasantly muted. A standard six speed gearbox has a quick, neat change with carefully chosen ratios that allow it to blend brisk acceleration through the gears with relaxed cruising ability.
In fact few of its rivals are capable of matching either its standing start acceleration (0 to 62mph in under nine seconds) or the mid-range high gear shove.
Brakes are reassuringly powerful, though the pedal requires a delicate touch to avoid abrupt stops or jerkiness.
It leads the way in terms of cornering or handling. Most smaller SUVs are tad dull and unresponsive through the bends and have tendency towards cornering roll. The Peugeot is composed and controlled with a well-damped ride and ample feedback through the steering.
Like the external styling, the cabin also mirrors the design of the 3008 with a really small steering wheel that's set low, over which the digital instrument panel can be viewed. It's not to everyone's taste, but it's certainly individual and we soon got used to it.
Controls are well laid out and easily to hand while the central touchscreen is comprehensive and user friendly. Decent quality plastics mouldings are used for the fascia and the overall effect is of classily designed small car.
There's ample room for four adults and with 360litres of luggage space, most families will be satisfied. Headroom all round is generous although backseat legroom is somewhat restricted.
Drive gently and the 2008's thirst for fuel will be pretty miserly, with close to 50mpg easily being within sight. But allow yourself to be tempted into more enthusiastic stuff - oh, so easy - and you'll see that figure dwindle to the mid-to-late 30s.