We've already professed our love for the handsome Peugeot 208 hatchback, but it seems as if the French automaker's shapely B-segment car can transform into an equally attractive crossover. Case in point? The Urban Crossover Concept, which debuted this week at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
Peugeot says the UCC is a "multi-role compact vehicle" for those living in "mega-conurbations," but in reality, it's likely a pretty close look at what a forthcoming 208-based crossover might look like. Physically, the UCC is rather small: at 163 inches long and 68.5 inches wide, it's 5.5 inches shorter and 1.3 inches narrower than the already compact Opel Mokka, which will be sold in the U.S. as the Buick Encore in short order.
Designers from Paris, Brazil, and China kept much of the 208's identity and sweeping lines intact, though we'd argue the UCC's front fascia - which wears a grille similar to that used on the slinky HX1 concept - is a little cleaner than the 208. A C-shaped character line rises from just aft of the front fenders, and carries through to the tail of the UCC, where they neatly wrap into "claw-shaped" LED tail lamp elements.
At this stage, the concept is devoid of an interior and powertrain, but since Peugeot notes the UCC is derived from the 208's architecture, there's a good chance many of the hatchback's engine choices could carry over into a production crossover. Presently, the 208's gasoline engine offerings range from a 68-hp, 1.0-liter I-3 through a 115-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4. The 208 GTI concept sported a 200-hp version of that same 1.6-liter but we'd be surprised if the performance model's driveline remains exclusive to a forthcoming GTI.
We don't expect this to be the last we hear of the Urban Crossover Concept. Peugeot plans on showing another iteration at the Paris Motor Show in September, which suggests the automaker is testing the waters before it officially launches a micro-sized crossover. If so, it's not a moment too soon: such a vehicle may be key for Peugeot's growth in several markets, including China, South America, and Europe, where compact crossovers continue to resonate with buyers seeking a small, thrifty, SUV-like vehicle.