A rash of new sub-compact SUV style vehicles is about to flood into the country with Holden bringing in the Trax, Opel the Mokka, and Peugeot the 2008. Others will follow soon after. It's predicted to be the next big thing as people around the world downsize their vehicles and go for quality, features, practicality and compact size.
The change makes sense particularly in our increasingly urbanised world.
Peugeot's entrant is due here by October this year and will sell from a starting point in the low $20,000 range.
At that money, the 2008 is a tempting proposition.
We drove three versions of the car in France last week and came away sold on the idea of "small is good" in terms of SUVs.
Why pay for more vehicle than you need.
It's a front wheel drive five door wagon on stilts for want of a better description and is built in France using the same basic platform (stretched a tad) as the recently introduced 208 hatchback.
It uses the same powertrains too with a big emphasis on a new three cylinder 1.2 litre petrol engine that is available in turbo and non-turbo form. The turbo is actually the performance leader in the 2008 range
We drove the 1.6-litre turbo diesel and 1.6 litre naturally aspirated petrol four bangers and the 1.2-litre petrol triple non-turbo.
All had their own character, strengths and weaknesses. The diesel has gobs of torque and pulls like a train rated at 84kW/270Nm but is a tad laggy at low revs and there's no auto, just a six speed manual which is fine.
The 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol four was the best of the three we drove, with 88kW/160Nm it sings sweetly and gives the 2008 a light responsive feel.
The 1.2 was a surprise as we were expecting it to be a dunger, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. It actually goes well and doesn't sound like a ride-on lawn mower.
No decision on specification or the model range has been made for our cars yet. That will happen closer to the launch date.
But we reckon the three we drove will be on the short list.
It's a good looker with a pleasant face and stylish lines around the body including a stepped roof and roof rails.
Peugeot built on knowledge gleaned from the ugly but good 3008 model for the creature features inside 2008 which isn't that much smaller inside.
It has a decent boot, folding rear seats and comfortable driving position. All Aussie cars will get a reverse camera.
All models also get a clever Grip Control system that splits drive between the front wheels and applies the brakes all round to optimise off road driving. It works pretty well but this is no mud plugging, stump jumping, rock crusher.
The 2008 is a pleasant little all-rounder capable of delivering safe, entertaining, economical transport in multiple environments aided by the latest in multimedia connectivity and other tricky stuff with apps that may make it to Australia. Cruise control is standard and some models will likely get the big 7-inch info screen which also houses satnav if fitted or optioned as the case may be.
We drove the cars over an extensive route through mountain roads, on auto-routes at high speed and on dirt roads. It was up for anything we demanded and was actually quite handy in the tight going, sporty even.
The 2008 gets a five star Euro NCAP rating with all that brings and the engines are capable of sipping as little as 4.0-litres/100km depending on the model. The auto we are likely to get is a four speeder on the 1.6 petrol, possibly the only let down on this fine little car.
Price: from around $23,000
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Capped servicing: Yes, details TBC
Service interval: 12 months/20,000km
Safety rating: 5-star
Engines: 1.6-litre petrol 4-cyl (88kW/160Nm), 1.2-litre petrol 3-cyl (60kW/118Nm), 1.6-litre diesel 4-cyl (84kW/270Nm to 285Nm on overboost)
Transmissions: 6-spd man, 5-spd man, 4-spd auto
Thirst: 4.9L/100km 90RON 149g/km CO2; 6.5L/100km 90RON 150g/km CO2; 4.0L/100km diesel 105g/km CO2
Dimensions: 4.1m (L), 1.7m (W), 1.5m (H)
Weight: from 1045kg