Peugeot 2008 1.2-litre petrol Allure VTi Crossover manual.

Price: £15,095 (on the road).

Top speed: 105mph.

0-62mph: 13.5 seconds.

Fuel: 57.6mpg (combined figure).

CO2 emissions (g/km): 114.

Verdict: Trendy, practical, great interior, roomy, decent boot, well-equipped, well built, good on emissions and fuel.

THE car market is rather like the fashion trade – what’s all the rage one year can be old hat the next.

In the crowded supermini sector, for instance, there is a strong shift from the conventional hatch to the small crossover vehicle with its rugged and trendy looks and the latest manufacturer to join the fray is Peugeot with its 2008, largely based on the stylish 208 hatch. The main rivals are Nissan’s Juke and Renault’s Captur.

The 2008 is an interesting vehicle being taller and higher off the ground than the 208 and it is very roomy and practical for a mini-SUV. It’s equally at home nipping in and out of the city traffic as it is crossing a muddy field, thanks to the enhanced traction of Peugeot’s grip control which is fitted to the larger-engine vehicles.

But the 2008 is no 4x4.

It comes well-equipped and well priced considering its styling and versatility, with prices starting at £12,995 for the 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol Access and rising to £19,345 for the 115bhp 1.6-litre diesel in the top Feline trim.

As one might expect from Peugeot there is a decent choice of diesel and petrol motors and there is more to come at a later date. The diesels are renowned for their blend of performance with economy but the petrol motors are finding favour with an increasing number of motorists as they are cheaper to buy in the first place and are more efficient than ever.

Take the entry-level 1.2-litre with 82bhp. Its performance is nothing special but the new generation three-cylinder motor has impressive eco credentials.

And with the car being a lightweight it feels nimble on its feet with sharp steering and good composure, especially along twisty routes and through tight bends. The ride comfort is good, too, with the suspension managing to soak up potholes and rough surfaces remarkably well.

However, the 2008 is probably at its best in town where it is very manoeuvrable and easy to park. On the open road or on the motorway the engine has to be worked fairly hard to obtain high speeds.

Nevertheless, the 1.2-litre is a good all-rounder and is expected to be a big seller to the private buyer.

Despite the off-road pretensions, there is no 4WD though high-specification models with larger engines are equipped with the company’s grip control which works across the front wheels to transfer power to the one with the best grip.

This means the 2008 can negotiate muddy fields and rough tracks but with the limited ground clearance, off-asphalt use is restricted.

Drivers can select from normal, snow, mud, sand and ESP-off modes with a handy rotary control. The grip control vehicles also get mud and snow tyres.

The innovative and practical cabin is impressive. Quality materials are used and features include stylish LED surrounds to the dials, a laser-cut pattern in the headlining and aluminium embellishments to smarten the interior.

Interestingly, the 2008 has a small steering wheel so that most drivers look over it to read the instruments.

Everything is neatly to hand and works well.

Even the seats belts can be fastened very easily, unlike some cars where the fasteners are tucked away towards the bottom of the seats.

Both driver and passengers are well catered for. There is a higher driving position with plenty of adjustments and generally good vision, save for the side pillars that can hamper the outlook at junctions.

The five-door, five-seat 2008 can cater for large adults in the rear in reasonable comfort while the boot size is good with a low loading sill.

The cargo area is given as 360 litres and 1,194 litres with the rear seats folded flat.

There are also roof bars to carry extra luggage.