AFTER persevering with the Noddy-style 3008 ''mum-bus'' for a long time, Peugeot now has a butt-kicker in the small SUV segment thanks to an alliance with Mitsubishi.
The ''model sharing'' arrangement has produced the 4007 for Peugeot, built on a Mitsu' Outlander platform, and from that was spawned another, smaller vehicle called the 4008, due here in July.
Though considered ''European'' the new 4008 actually rolls off a Mitsu' factory in Japan, with its own distinctive style and character.
It represents the best of both worlds: Euro style and flavour/Japanese build quality. You can't really go wrong.
Better still is Peugeot Australia's pricing for the newcomer, starting at $28,990 for the 2WD, manual base model.
The line-up is fairly simple... two grades, Active and Allure, one engine, two transmissions and 2WD or AWD.
Peugeot offers a couple of optional ''packages'' specific to each grade.
It rates right up there in the style department along with Kia's handsome Sportage and well ahead of the others.
Not as macho-looking as Subaru's XV, the 4008 shows a more sophisticated, elegant look to its flanks. It stands out on the road with chrome body hardware highlights and LED daytime running lights.
The interior has a typical classy European look to it with a stylish dash featuring chrome highlights and piano black fascia, soft touch panels at every point and comfortable seats.
There's room inside for four, five at a pinch, and a reasonable amount of luggage.
The engine is straight out of Mitsubishi: a 2.0-litre, twin cam, four cylinder, petrol four with variable valve timing on the inlet and exhaust sides for efficiency gains but no direct fuel injection.
Maximum outputs are 110kW/197Nm with the best fuel economy from the base 2WD manual car rated at a respectable 7.7litres/100km.
Diesel is under consideration.
The transmissions are a five-speed manual in Active only and a stepped CVT optional in Active and standard in Allure which is also only available in all wheel drive.
The AWD system has a four wheel lock-up mode for slippery conditions as well as 2WD and variable split torque 4WD.
Drive mode selection is by dial on the dash.
All variants score five stars and all get a reversing camera. This is on top of numerous other primary and secondary safety features.
It has generous equipment levels from the base model up as Peugeot strives to get on buyers’ shopping lists.
Active features stuff includes 16-inch alloys, multiple steering wheel controls, Bluetooth phone and audio, auto wipers and headlights, auto dim mirror, climate control, cruise, privacy glass and a full size spare.
Allure gets more including leather, xenon headlights, 18-inch alloys, power adjust heated front seats and more.
Both get a full size steel spare but satnav is optional in a package costing an additional $1495.
The drive is surprisingly good for a little petrol SUV, offering decent performance and fuel economy, easy highway cruising and low interior noise levels.
It offers a comfortable ride with a sporty edge though cornering limitations are clearly defined, as is its off-road ability with the AWD.
The CVT model is a more satisfying drive as it efficiently captures available power and is almost imperceptible in operation.
You feel good driving 4008 partly because of the handsome '' expensive'' appearance that puts it ahead of Audi's Q3 and BMW's X1, at half the price.
Can't argue with that.
Verdict:Yummy mummies are gonna love this one and so will the dads. Low-cost fixed-price servicing is a major consideration.
The 4008 is a bit of class at an affordable price.