MAKE AN IMPRESSION
Peugeot’s seven-seat SUV blurs the lines and comes with typical quirks
Coming to a private school near you ... Peugeot has joined the sevenseat SUV brigade with its new 5008. To stand out from the crowd, the French maker adds a suite of technology unique to the class.
The headline act is an optional electric scooter, designed to save your feet if you can’t park close to your destination, but will probably be commandeered by the kids.
The lightweight (8.5kg) folding scooter charges via a docking station or the 12V power supply in the boot, has up to 12km of scooting range, a top speed of 25km/h and can be recharged in an hour.
The car industry has been toying with electric scooters as the answer to mega cities of the future, usually displaying them in the boot of electric car concepts. Peugeot, realising there is no reason to wait, has jumped the field.
New from the ground up, the 5008 bears no resemblance to its predecessor, a peoplemover with the same badge. This one is a stretched version of the five-seat 3008 SUV, so the rear doors are bigger, there’s more leg room for second-row seats and a bigger boot.
Other points of vive la difference: Peugeot has revolutionised the owner’s manual with a virtual reality app – point your phone’s camera at a particular part of the car and it will open the online handbook to the appropriate page.
Couldn’t be bothered figuring out the app? Just touch on an illustration of the car in a simpler version of the app for the same result.
However, Peugeot has saved its cleverest trick for the rear. The second row seats slide individually to prioritise leg room over cargo space or vice versa.
Each seat in the second and third rows folds separately, making it easier to squeeze in the kids with cargo of odd shapes. Each middle row seat has Isofix child seat mounting points; most cars have only two.
All five aft seats can be folded to create a flat load area, and the two seats in the third row can be removed altogether in about 15 seconds, and reinstalled just as quickly without doing your back in – the ingeniously simple pews weigh just 11kg each.
On the safety side there are six airbags, including curtain airbags all the way to the third row.
Other mod cons include a futuristic dashboard design, a fancy widescreen digital instrument display that was once the preserve of luxury cars and a 360-degree camera on all models.
However, here’s where some of the Peugeot’s quirkiness starts to lose its lustre.
The camera images are like an impressionist painting, blurred rather than crystal clear as on other cars, and the central touchscreen, although nice to look at, is chronically flawed in its design.
To adjust the brightness of the screen takes several annoying steps, taking your eyes off the road. And the brightness of the
instrument panel and the display screen can’t be changed separately.
If you switch radio stations or adjust the volume, the screen comes on again even after the “black out” button is pressed. It then requires another press to switch it off again. Very distracting.
ON THE ROAD
There are three models and two engine options. The Allure and GT are powered by a 1.6-litre turbo four. The flagship GT-Line comes with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel. In each, a six-speed auto drives the front wheels. “Terrain response” software that aims to give the 5008 some modest off-road ability is a $200 option.
For now, you can’t mix and match model grades. However the petrol variants are the sweet spots in the range given their relative affordability, driveability and real world fuel-efficiency. The diesel really only makes sense for those doing a lot of highway driving. Perversely it’s matched to a noisier 19-inch wheel and tyre combination, which also make you feel the bumps more than you do in the petrol variants on 18s.
Peugeot’s signature small steering wheel is an advantage in tight city streets but can feel too direct on a winding back road, especially given thecar’s size and weight.
The 5008 deserves a test drive for anyone shopping for a cleverly thought out sevenseat SUV. However, while you’re daring to be different, be sure to sample a Skoda Kodiaq, Kia Sorento or a run-out Hyundai Santa Fe, all of which have sharper prices and longer warranties.