There are plenty of drivers who occasionally need a bit of extra grip when venturing a little off smooth Tarmac, but have no need of the weight and complexity that comes with a full-blown 4x4.
I know, because I am one of them.
Angling, like most active sports – it is active, honest – invariably takes you off the straight and narrow and on to lanes, fields and rutted tracks that would give nightmares to the average family hatchback owner.
How much more reassuring to be at the wheel of a car that combines plenty of versatile space with smart street cred and the ability to negotiate a little of the rough stuff at the flick of a switch.
Enter the Peugeot 2008, which was an instant hit when it was launched three years ago. Since then, 40,000 have taken to the roads in the UK alone, and now it has been freshened up with a more assertive front end, sportier looks and an impressive new engine line-up.
The top-end test model came in the new GT Line trim that is already a popular choice on other models, and adds a red and black sporty colour theme.
The car runs on distinctive gloss black and anthracite alloy wheels with gloss black replacing the standard chrome effect, including the front grille surround, fog light covers, mirror casings and roof bars. Inside, stainless steel sills bear the Peugeot logo, floor mats are edged in red stitching and the head-up display is lit by an array of red LEDs. Red stitching runs through the seats and rear bench seat, door armrests, gear level surround, handbrake lever and compact steering wheel.
Just as smart are the new engines that sit under the bonnet. In the test car’s case this was a 1.2-litre, petrol-powered, three-cylinder engine, which might sound tame. But this surprising unit combines 130 horsepower performance with a claimed combined consumption of almost 60mpg, making my 54mpg over 300 miles of motoring a decent effort.
The car is as practical as it is stylish with plenty of storage areas. The boot can vary from 410 to 1,400 litres in an instant due to the ⅓– ⅔ modular seat backs. Pressing the button at the top of the backrest is enough to tilt the seat backwards, allowing the seats to collapse automatically. The boot is also equipped with hooks for attaching items and two storage areas on each side, one with a retaining strap and the other with a storage net. And under the boot lid is a further 22-litre storage area.
But the real versatility comes from the car’s traction system, combined with all-season Goodyear tyres and 16cm ground clearance, it delivers its real go-anywhere ability on all types of terrain.

Auto facts

Model: Peugeot 2008 1.2L PureTech 130 GT Line
Price: £19,570
Insurance group: 11E (1-50)
Fuel consumption (combined): 58.9mpg
Top speed: 119mph
Length: 415.9cm/163.7in
Width: 173.9cm/68.5in
Luggage capacity: 14.5 cu ft
Fuel tank capacity: 11 gallons/50 litres
CO2 emissions: 110 g/km
Warranty: Three years/100,000 miles