Peugeot 2008 crossover; £19,145

A family car with brilliant mileage. C'est une beauté

Price: £19,145
Engine capacity: 1.6 litres
Power output (BHP @ rpm): 115 @ 3,600
Max torque (Nm @ rpm): 270 @ 1,750
Top speed (mph): 117
0-62 mph (seconds): 10.4
Fuel economy (mpg): 70.6
CO2 emissions (g/km): 106

I don't quite know what makes me like Peugeot so much. On the exterior, the vehicle of choice of the French middle-classes is an odd marque to pine for, but despite Peugeot being squeezed on all sides by cheaper Asian cars and by German muscle, it still makes a nice car. And its vintage-bicycle bike frames aren't half handsome, either.

The latest emergence from Peugeot slowly Forth Bridging its way through turning its 07s into 08s is the 2008. It's a bulked-up crossover take on the 208, intended to rival similarly priced competitors such as the Hyundai ix35 (from £14,000) and the grubbily named Vauxhall Mokka (from £18,000).

In a nice bit of symmetry, I was handed the keys to the 2008 a year to the day since trying out its smaller progenitor. I remember this mainly because I had the 208 on the weekend of my wedding. The 208 wasn't the actual wedding car, I must stress, though we did keep it tous les Français with a pair of 30s Traction Avant Citroëns.

A year later, we took the same trip (to the same part of the world – I'm nothing but adventurous) in the 2008. [Which, incidentally, should logically be pronounced two-oh-oh-eight, as one would a Peugeot three-oh-six, but say it as anything except 2008 like the year. Anyway, I digress...]

On the inside, the 2008 is very similar to its brethren – besides being higher up, you could hardly tell the difference between the two when sitting up front. I found the 208 surprisingly roomy for a supermini, and the 2008 is obviously even more swollen. Great if you're packing it up with holiday gear, golf clubs or any other family ephemera. The back seats flatten right out at the press of a button, too. Meaning you can transport almost van-like amounts of stuff. It almost screams practicality, but it's a yelp that isn't dishonest. This is a family car, for family people.

Another box it ticks as a family car is brilliant mileage. I was getting a combined 50mpg-plus, which is better than almost everything else I've driven in the past few years.

Performance obviously won't be a key factor in investing in a 2008, but with its six-speed transmission and fulsome 115 break-horsepower engine it has enough heft to cruise at a decent pace. There's enhanced grip on the road, too, from Peugeot's Grip Control system, which allows drivers to flip between drive modes with a quick turn of a dial.

It's not all practical though. The 2008 has a generous panoramic glass roof, which gives the cockpit a sunny ambience.

The 2008 I tested was the Feline e-HDi. and there's certainly a certain cat-like menace about its narrow front lights. A nice menace, though. Indeed, if you could accuse all the Peugeots of the 08 range of anything, it's certainly not ugliness. It's certainly not beautiful, but it's got a utilitarian charm. And that's just the way I like my Peugeots.

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