Niche is the new mainstream, particularly when considering models like the Peugeot 2008. Take a look through the top 10 best-selling cars in the UK and that much is obvious.

Nissan ditched the Primera – a conventional large family car – more than half a decade ago, yet now its replacement, the supposedly niche Qashqai crossover, sits proudly on Britain’s best-sellers list. Its smaller Juke sister model has done the same since the start of this year, and it’s a theme replicated throughout Europe.

Not surprising, then, that there has been an upsurge in family-friendly, quasi-SUV crossover models, of which the 2008 is Peugeot’s latest and smallest – a tall, 208 supermini-based, four-metre-long entrant into an increasingly crowded market.

In common with most manufacturers until a couple of years ago (excepting the likes of the Lada Niva and Fiat Panda 4x4), Peugeot doesn't exactly have a long history of small SUVs.

Until the recent expansion of its range, the closest the French manufacturer came to all-road cars were pick-up versions of the 404 and grey-bearded 504s, which are still common in Africa. The '2' prefix, which now denotes a compact Peugeot, stretches back 84 years to the 201 of 1929. 

The compact crossover market, however, lacks an obvious superstar model. There’s the aforementioned Juke, the Vauxhall Mokka, Skoda’s likeable Yeti and the Dacia Duster, whose parsimony has won it many admirers, us included. 

But still there’s this nagging doubt that the small, tall car market is calling out for an obvious class leader. Question is, can Peugeot's new entrant provide it? We intend to find out. 

Top 5 Compact Crossovers

  • The Yeti is a crossover that's available with both two- and four-wheel drive

    Skoda Yeti

    1
  • Renault Captur
    The Renault Captur enters a rapidly growing marketplace

    Renault Captur

    2
  • SUV, coupé and even motorcycle styling meet in likeable compact crossover
    SUV, coupé and even motorcycle styling meet in likeable compact crossover

    Nissan Juke

    3
  • Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
    The Suzuki's low price tag will make it appealing to many

    Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

    4
  • Dacia Duster
    The Dacia Duster is aimed to appeal to buyers looking for a Qashqai, Yeti or 3008

    Dacia Duster

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Peugeot range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Lavishly-equipped, rugged-looking Peugeot 508 estate is a pleasant drive, but there are many more recommendable alternatives
  • 308 GT 1.6-litre petrol is priced from £24,095
    First Drive
    27 March 2015
    Peugeot's given the 308 the engine from the 208 GTi 30th and some chassis upgrades; we find out if the changes bring a bit of old-school Peugeot hot-hatch magic to this likeable family hatch.
  • Car review
    26 March 2015
    Does Suzuki's new city runabout have what it takes to succeed?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    Collins Performance has given the Fiesta ST 270bhp and 265lb ft, but has our favourite fast Ford been ruined in the process?
  • First Drive
    26 March 2015
    The Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability