I’VE always been a bit wary of car industry awards.

In the 1980s I can distinctly remember the likes of the Fiat Panda and Austin Metro proudly bearing their credentials in the form of a sticker in the back window.

‘Runner-up in European Car of the Year 1982’ they would proclaim on the little plastic disc. When you actually got inside one of these standard-bearing new models they were generally spartan and frankly awful. Thankfully, the motor industry has moved on in giant leaps since then and awards have a little more gravitas.

And Peugeot’s update on its foray into the mid-size SUV market, the 3008, has been sweeping all competitors aside.

The all-new 3008 was named the 2017 ‘Car of the Year’ at the Geneva Motor Show by a judging panel comprising 58 European journalists, and not without good reason.

Lookswise, the new model is a lot more stylish than its predecessor, with a front inspired by the 2008 smaller crossover and a sportier look than most rivals.

Despite being pretty compact in terms of size, the 3008 offers exceptional space for rear passengers and a cavernous boot. Its versatile array of seat folding positions means even more awkward shaped loads can be accommodated.

The cabin has been given a radical overhaul to improve its looks, quality and level of hi-tech equipment.

And the area where the new 3008 really impresses is technology. It has a state-of-the-art PEUGEOT i-Cockpit interior layout, a virtual dashboard that can change instrumentation and readings at the flick of a switch.

It claims to offer a more intuitive and engaging driving experience, with a compact multi-function steering wheel, 12.3” head-up digital instrument display and 8.0” capacitive touchscreen which is accompanied by satin chrome ‘piano key’ toggles which give a stylish flourish.

There’s an array of smartphone connectivity, voice recognition and 3D connected navigation features which can take the pain out of long journeys.

The GT Line PureTech version we tested (£26,195 OTR with metallic pain, motorised tailgate, FOCAL hi-fi system and panaromic opening glass roof) features a punchy 1.2 petrol engine which returns good economy figures.

For that price you feel like you’ve got an awful lot of car – so Peugeot have come up with a real contender in the increasingly competitive SUV market.