Carry seven — or their furniture — in the Peugeot 5008, a people-mover with distinctive design and a fresh drivetrain
DRIVEN some bloody decent cars this past six months. From $14K to $410K it’s been something of a red-letter year to date.
Why then, when someone makes the error of asking, do I find myself banging on about people-movers?
Perhaps it’s a reaction to the lemming-like charge to compact SUVs. If a small hatch is too small or at least insufficiently elastic for your family’s needs, why move to an elevated version of the same, a vehicle that combines the disadvantages of small cars and off-roaders without the advantages of either? Yet tens of thousands more of you will have been carried by the rush before this year is out.
With the capacity to seat seven— at least some of the time— and to mutate the innards to accommodate any amount of cargo short of a commercial vehicle load, people-movers are the thinking person’s family car. Peugeot’s 5008 is its version of sibling brand Citroen’s Grand Picasso, a car with a devoted urban cult.
To the hardly overcrowded ranks of the so-called MPV, the 5008 brings Pug’s distinct design and a fresh drivetrain.
We’ve driven the entrant 5008 Touring Active petrol auto. Its $36,990 sticker makes you think twice about the sizeable impost for the diesel at $40,490.
Common and standard to both is a proper six-speed automatic, full-length sunroof, 7-inch retractable colour satnav screen, rear vision mounted reversing camera with sensors, electronic park brake with hill start assist, dual zone climate control aircon with allimportant rear vents, 17-inch alloys, retractable blinds for the back two rows and— nice
touch this— a torch positioned in the boot’s side trim. Options are metallic paint at $800, socalled ‘‘ premium’’ metallic paint at a cheeky $1300 and leather/heated front seats at a spluttering $3000.
For $500 under the entry 5008, Kia’s excellent Rondo runs a ballsy diesel engine that’ll come into its own with a full load, but it lacks nav and some of the Pug’s touches. The diesel-only Picasso is a grand under the same-engined 5008.
The novelty of the entry 5008 is in hosting the segment’s only turbo petrol engine, one found in small cars throughout the Peugeot-Citroen world and over the border in Minis and BMW’s 1 and 3 Series. Even in its mildest state of tune, the Euro V-compliant 1.6 is good for 115kW and a useful 240Nm.
With twin-clutch autos such as DSG suddenly about as popular as Labor, this runs a reassuringly conventional sixspeed torque converter auto. It might have been made for the zesty little four, with which it uses less than 8.0L/100km in combined conditions while emitting 175g/km of CO . 2
Though the exterior lines are plainly drawn for maximum interior facility (you get the high driving position of an SUV too), design is what gets me babbling at unsuspecting interlocutors.
Third-row seats are raised or retracted flush with the floor with one hand. The front passenger seats fold into a table allowing carriage of stuff as long as 2.7m. Middle-row passengers access foldout tables, fine to set up an iPad.
There are myriad storage compartments, including a chilled central console. An optional video pack keeps kids in the back off your back. It can be as bright back there as natural light allows or cloistered as you want with curtains and roof drawn.
Back seats up, storage is still the equivalent of about one and half big sedan boots, almost three with the parcel shelf out. Flatten both rows and you have 2506L when stuff is packed to the roofline that’s approaching a white van’s capacity.
Not all plastics are pleasant to the touch. Those fringing the seemingly bottomless centre storage bin are sharpish. The dash’s digital readouts are a bit ’ 90s. As for Peugeot’s persistence with that forest of four wands (no common audio or cruise buttons on the steering wheel, merci very much), it’s high time the Frogs got over themselves.
Just because it’s your idea doesn’t mean it’s not rubbish.
Five stars sought and received from the Euro crash testing authority, with highest rating in its segment for child occupant protection. There are airbags on every row, all belts are linked to warning system, in case the rearmost rugrat decides to do without theirs.
With only myself and another equally burly bloke up front, the 5008 is almost indecent fun, more overgrown hatchback than anything so anodyne as an MPV— or compact SUV for that matter.
That perky engine, able auto and quickish electric steering make almost light work of the 1565kg kerb weight plus some 220kg of us.
With a fuller load though, it’s hard to imagine how that fuel figure won’t be greatly exceeded and to hear in your mind’s ear that refined and capable motor whining in protest. But, as we’ve said of competitors including the excellent Rondo, peoplemovers at this price point are seven seaters only in extremis for when you’ve been dragooned into picking up the kid’s school friends or their teammates.
Indeed, it’s a mistake to think of this only as family car. Smart owners make full use of the interior flexibility for bikes and the sort of recreational equipment apparently necessary to what’s known as an ‘‘ active lifestyle’’.
They may want the extra 100Nm plus the towing capability of the diesel but the leisurely acceleration of the petrol is surely going to be enough for most.
Another excellent reason not to buy a compact SUV.