With demand ever growing for crossover cars, French giant Peugeot has launched the 2008. The ‘00’ numbering denotes a niche machine in the brand’s stable of cars e.g. Peugeot 208 is the conventional supermini and 2008 is the alternative - for those who need more space and a taller driving position.

We have grown used to the excellent Peugeot 3008 (Nissan Qashqai rival), the seven-seat 5008 MPV and the quirky two-door 1007 town car that flopped but was truly innovative with electric sliding doors. Sadly, 1007 was far too dear and ultimately dropped, but the 3008 and 5008 are fine machines.

Outside, 2008, at 4,159mm, is a longer machine than the compact- but-roomy 208 (3,962mm). The front end features a classy corporate grille and interesting headlight design. The bonnet features some interesting creases, but it is the roofline that is unique. From the ‘B’ pillar (driver’s shoulder) back the roof takes a little lift (inspired by the RCZ) and this gives rear seat passengers excellent headroom for its class.

There is a lot of glass on show when you look at the side-view. While this brings light into the cabin, the styling needs the unique chrome strip (above the rear doors) to distract from the usual styling. The rear-end is smart and features a large one-piece tailgate.

2008’s long wheelbase helps ride comfort and also frees up passenger legroom. 2008 can seat five, but four adults will fit comfortably. The rear seats slide fore and aft to make the interior very flexible. Seats folded down, there are 1,194 litres of cargo space available.

The cabin may lack well-positioned cup holders but otherwise 2008’s dash and trim echoes the 208. The main dials sit above the compact and sporty steering wheel and this means the driver has an easier time of reading their speedometer at a glance.

We took a high spec, 1.6-litre HDi 2008 to Clare recently and gave the machine a good workout as the boot was needed for filming at multiple locations. The low sill and flat cargo area meant little effort was needed to load and unload equipment. The only issue with the tailgate for users could be if someone parks too close. The tailgate needs a fair bit of space to swing up.

Our test car featured Peugeot’s ‘Grip Control System’ that is basically a switchable traction control feature with the fitment of ‘mud and snow’ tyres. Combined Grip Control will help drivers keep the front-wheel drive 2008 moving in slippy conditions. A massive panoramic sunroof with electric blind is a noticeable option, too. It is classy and features subtle mood lighting. The main interior downside concerns the elegant-looking multifunction centre display: its functionality can be challenging to use.

Petrol and diesel (1.4 and 1.6) engines feature with a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol unit as the entry model. Our fully-loaded test car’s 1.6-litre diesel engine was powerful and economical, but for most low-mileage buyers the 82hp, entry-level car will make most sense.

At the beginning of our test drive the 2008 seemed to be just a tall 208, but, after many kilometres and a fair bit of loading and unloading, 2008 grew to be a machine with its own character.

Michael Sheridan