PEUGEOT doesn't stand out in the all time ranking of 'great' makers of 4 x 4 vehicles – in fact, its original version of the car in this review has been around for about eight years and hasn't exactly troubled the Richter Scale in any way.

However, the transformation of the 3008 is such that this is now a serious contender for the lightweight SUV sector of the market.

It looks chunkier and more 'fit for purpose' than the old model, has a nice look and feel to the more spacious interior and as-you-drive four-wheel-drive sensing giving useful off-road capability.

So there's a lot to like about the 3008, but one of the strange things about it is Peugeot's recent penchant for small and squashed steering wheels, which does take a bit of getting used to. For some this hides a few of the dials, for others it has a sporty whiff about it ... I quite liked it.

Built on a chassis that's slightly longer – though the 3008 has a lower roofline than the old model – the engine choice is pretty standard fare, with some of them offering incredibly cheap motoring.

For petrol heads, the choice is either a 1.2 or 1.6-litre turbocharged unit, or 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesels. On test was the smaller diesel which is rated at 118bhp and costs £28,025 in top spec' GT Line trim.

This engine is capable of achieving more than 70mpg on the 'combined' cycle, though I found it hovered under the 60mpg figure, depending on what kind of journey was being undertaken. But that's still a great figure what is essentially quite a big five seater.

If you are towing, then you'd probably want to opt for the more powerful 2.0-litre diesel which has 177bhp at your disposal, though a quite nippy 148bhp detuned version is also available.

As well as looks and performance, its also light years ahead of its older sibling in practicality. The 80mm longer length translates into more rear passenger and luggage room.

You can pack 90 litres more into the new model, with a total of 520-litres available with the rear seats in position. Once folded flat, there's an almost van-like 1580-litre capacity.

As a driver, Peugeot aims to assist you in almost every way via its i-Cockpit design, especially in the top spec' GT-Line which was on trial.

The technology extends to driving 'assistance' aids, though the most annoying one is the 'lane-assist' which, if you do not signal, practically yanks you back into lane! Once that unnerving feature was switched off, it was quite a pleasant drive.

For those who tow, then the Visiopark 1 feature is a great addition at £450 – this gives a 180° view from a tailgate camera (Visiopark 2 has the same camera on the front for a 360° view, which was fun but a bit disconcerting).

So, all-in-all this 3008 is well ahead of the outgoing model and has projected it into the ranks of being a serious option to the likes of the Ford Kuga and Nissan Qashqai, though I'd place it behind the excellent Seat Ateca.