TO be seated behind the wheel of the new Peugeot 3008 is an engaging experience.
The French firm has introduced its i-Cockpit into the family-sized SUV to provide a driving environment right up there with the very best on the market.
What's more, you don't have to buy one of the top trim levels to enjoy it - every 3008 comes with the system.
Featuring a eight-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch high-resolution instrument panel, the i-Cockpit has five display modes accessed through a roller switch on the steering wheel.
The instrument panel is positioned above the compact steering wheel, which has a flat top and bottom, enabling the driver to get a clear view virtually directly ahead.
In addition to the i-Cockpit there's a neat row of chunky buttons to select more functions, plenty of storage spaces for bits, bobs and bottles and comfy seats.
You can even have a choice of three scents wafting through the cabin and a driver's seat massage, along with phone connectivity, lighting ambience settings and the option of a ten-speaker top-notch audio set-up.
Peugeot reckons "no direct competitor can offer this experience", and I would have to agree with that boast.
With an upmarket strategy, it has discarded the entry-level Access trim available in other countries and is offering UK customers only Active, Allure, GT Line and GT specification models. That in turns means a pricing start point above £20,000 rising to more than £30,000.
The 208 hatchback is still the company's bestseller, but the SUV market is definitely where it's at. One in four new cars sold is an SUV. Hence, five new Peugeot SUVs will be launched in one year.
Built on the so-called EMP2 platform previously available in the 308 and 308 SW, the 3008 measures 4.45 metres long (8cm longer than its predecessor) and has a ground clearance of 22cm.
Peugeot readily admits that its 3008 will not be able to tackle difficult off-road conditions but with that sort of ground clearance in conjunction with its Grip Control traction option and hill descent control system that regulates the car to travel at 2mpg down a steep slope it is more capable than most to tackle difficult environments.
Of more use will be the latest generation driver assistance systems, which include blind spot monitoring, a distance alert to warn drivers of an imminent collision with a car or pedestrian, emergency braking and active brake safety to bring the car to a halt if the driver does not respond to the likelihood of a collision.
Engine choice includes six-speed 1.2-litre petrol 130bhp models with manual or automatic transmission and a 1.6-litre 165bhp manual version.
If diesel is your preference, then there are five engines to choose from - three 1.6-litre versions and two at 2.0 litres.
I tested the 2.0-litre 180bhp in the GT model and 1.6-litre 120bhp in GT Line form, and found the willing and able latter version to be my preference.
Not surprisingly, Peugeot expects this internationally-acclaimed engine to find most buyers. It's a perfect match for a car of this size, and although it lacks the sub-10 seconds 0 to 62mph acceleration of other models it is by no means sluggish.
A word of warning here: the GT version rides on 19-inch wheels as opposed to the 18-inchers to be found on the GT Line and other models, and I found the smaller tyres gave a more supple and smooth ride.
With so much to evaluate about the cabin, it is easy to overlook the stylish exterior. There's a vertical appearance to the front, a boldness in the design and body protection for the wheel arches, bumpers and door sills. LED headlights, a raised waistline and roof bars add to the package.
Peugeot's SUV offensive for 2017 has started with a shining star.