There are many clichés we use when referring to cars in our reviews, Amercian muscle, Japanese reliability, and French flair being a few. While the first two are still relevant, French automakers, who have historically been associated with futuristic styling, seemed to have lost that golden touch over the past decade or so. However, the last few years have seen them regaining some of the lost glory, with manufacturers like Citroen, Renault and Peugeot coming out with strikingly good looking models. The latest in this new crop of French lookers is the Peugeot 3008. Yes, it’s a crossover SUV, but it looks better than most other in its class.

The previous 3008 was a decent crossover, but its appearance was relatively bland and characterless, making it look more like an MPV. In contrast, the latest iteration has sharper, more aggressive lines, and takes evident cues from the new 308 hatch. The chequered chrome radiator grille and full LED headlights add character up front, while the profile is more fluid and distinctive than before. Adding further charm to its overall personality is the Black Diamond roof and gloss black rear panel with LED daytime running lights, which Peugeot says are reminiscent of claw marks.

But what really sets the 3008 apart from its competitors is its interior. It’s by far one of  the most futuristic dashboard designs we’ve seen in a crossover in this class. With their multi-dimensional styling, the dash and console manage to look space-age without being garish. In fact, the interior straddles a thin line between a concept and production design. There are two screens, one in the centre acting as an interface for the infotainment system, and the other housing the instrument gauges ahead of the driver. Both offer a clean layout and are easy to view.  Also, a set of toggle switches that resemble piano keys let you access functions such as radio, climate control, navigation and communication.

Overall head-, shoulder- and headroom are relatively good in the front. While there’s ample legroom at the back, headroom could prove a bit of a compromise for taller adults at the back. There are plenty of cubbyholes around the cabin for knick-knacks, although the glovebox is fairly small. The boot is also reasonably sized, and should hold most of the cargo a family should have on average daily use.

The chequered chrome radiator grille and full LED headlights add character up front, while the profile is more fluid and distinctive than before.

It’s the same 165bhp, 240Nm 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine from before that powers the new 3008. Coupled with six-speed automatic gearbox, it’s mostly smooth and effortless at low and average speeds, but feels strained when you plant the throttle. However, the ride is well balanced, with body roll kept to the minimum. It’s not most exciting of crossovers to drive and definitely not one you’d throw around a bend at speed with that rather vague steering. But for the average crossover customer who buys one purely as a family mover, the 3008 is a solid choice. And it’s even more reassuring to know that with features like Automatic Emergency Braking System, Distance Alert System, adaptive cruise control with Stop function, Lane Keeping Technology, the 3008 has been rated five stars by the Euro NCAP.

With the bold new styling, futuristic yet practical cabin, and priced from Dh89,900, the new 3008 is a massive improvement over its predecessor and makes a compelling case for itself, even amid stiff competition from a slew of Japanese and Korean rivals.