Many automakers are clamouring to compete in the popular crossover segment. Peugeot is the latest to venture thence and could well have a winner on its hands with the all-new 2008.Peugeot SA's MD Francis Harnie said at the launch over March 24/25: “The all-new 2008, urban crossover, based on the same platform as the 208 compact hatchback, was launched in Europe during 2013 and has found 100 000 satisfied customers in less than a year.”IMAGE GALLERY: 2014 Peugeot 2008 That milestone 100 000th car, incidentally, was taken direct from the plant in Mulhouse, France, where it’s built, and handed to its delighted buyer. The ceremony was witnessed by Corinne Spilios, director of the Mulhouse production centre and Xavier Duchemin, director of Peugeot France. Let’s be honest here, times have been tough for Peugeot and what this new model could well do for the automaker (the oldest car brand in the world at more than 200 years), is to receive an all-important injection of cash from Chinese automaker Dongfeng, its new parent company.Along with more intense guidance from the French government, the other major shareholder, Peugeot is ready, willing and able to introduce new blood to the brand with cars such as the 2008 in South Africa. So what could be simpler? Capturing the European Car of the Year title in March 2014 for Peugeot with its 2014 308 being a jolly good start, I’d say.PRACTICAL CROSSOVERIn the 2008 we have a vehicle that has decent ground clearance, short overhangs, an aerodynamic shape, smooth surfaces and generous glassall combining to create an attractive vehicle with contained dimensions that belie the interior roominess and practicality.The new Peugeot 2008 will go on sale in South Africa in May 2014. The 2008 1.6 Allure will be the only model on offer then; more derivatives (possibly diesel but more likely an autoversion) are being considered.Performance wasbrisk enough on the test drive but I was a little disappointed with the gearing from the five-speed gearbox. Perhaps an auto (six-speed) might prove the better buy in the long run, then.THE ALLUREThe Allure is the top-spec model and comes with two-zone aircon, cruise control, height and reach steering-wheel adjustment, satnav and trip data computer, auto headlights and wipers, fog lights and multi-function steering wheel.An 18cm, full-colour, touch screen is central on the facia, directly above the aircon controls. The display gives access to the 2008’s intuitive infotainment system that includes satnav, Bluetooth phone connection and audio streaming, USB and auxiliary audio inputs, a trip computer and an FM/AM receiver with multiple loudspeakers.There are also LED's, a decent set of 17” alloy rims, roof bars, drive-away locking (always a reassuring feature that moms like), auto central locking, IsoFix child-seat anchors and rear parking sensors.Rear accommodation is spacious enough and the wide-opening tail hatch provides convenient access to a 360-litre cargo volume. Even more impressive: the way the split rear seat folds away completely to create a flat-floored cargo area that easily accommodates large, unwieldy objects. From mountain bikes to hiking gear, the 2008 will meet its owner's lifestyle expectations.Other safety features are anti-lock brakes with electronic fluid pressure distribution, driver, passenger and curtain airbags, hill-start assistance and lights that stay on while you reach your front door. The 2008 has a five-star rating in the Euro NCAP safety rating.FIVE-SPEED MANUALAt this juncture it’s worth mentioning the price: R269 900. Factor in an 88kW/160Nm 1.6, quad-valve, engine with “intelligent” variable valve timing.Drive is to the front wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox, the only transmission on offer at launch. Peugeot’s Grip Control system optimises the 2008’s traction for various road conditions: normal, snow, all-terrain and sand, with normal being the default.Peugeot knows a thing or two about suspension set-ups and in the 2008 combinedsuperior torsional rigidity with the refinement and response of an independent front suspension, and a fine-tuned, space-saving, torsion beam axle. Its weight of 1080kg helps to contribute to, according to the automaker, a 0-100 km/h sprint time of 9.5sec and top speed of 196km/h.The 2008 is sold with Peugeot's Premium Plan - a three-year or 100 000km warranty and five-year or 60 000km maintenance plan.