MULTIMEDIA SYS­TEM

Autocar - - ROAD TEST -

The 5008’s in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem uses a touch­screen but also em­ploys sep­a­rate tog­gle switches to bring up me­dia, cli­mate con­trol, nav­i­ga­tion, ve­hi­cle in­for­ma­tion and phone ap­pli­ca­tions. Along with the ro­tary di­als for vol­ume, this makes it su­perbly easy to ne­go­ti­ate on the move. There’s also Peu­geot’s 12.3in screen within the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle. It ex­hibits fluid graph­ics and, along with the small steer­ing wheel and cen­tral touch­screen, makes up the i-cock­pit.

La­tency is gen­er­ally very good, with the soft­ware — which fea­tures Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto com­pata­bil­ity — ex­hibit­ing only the oc­ca­sional de­lay. The voice con­trol func­tion works well for sim­ple com­mands, such as choos­ing a ra­dio sta­tion, but it was stumped ev­ery time we at­tempted to set a nav­i­ga­tion des­ti­na­tion.

the front ex­hibit­ing nu­mer­ous de­sign el­e­ments but some­how man­ag­ing to avoid look­ing over­wrought. This is an at­trac­tive car, to the ex­tent that it may even turn the heads of those set on more glam­orous op­tions such as the Land Rover Dis­cov­ery Sport.

How­ever, the 5008’s rugged SUV ex­te­rior con­jures a per­cep­tion that isn’t borne out by the me­chan­i­cals. In­deed, you can­not buy a 5008 with four-wheel drive. To make up for the lack of a driven rear axle, Peu­geot has in­tro­duced Ad­vanced Grip Con­trol as an op­tion.

It of­fers a range of trac­tion con­trol set­tings – Nor­mal, Snow, Sand, Mud and ESP Off – along with a hill de­scent con­trol sys­tem and Con­ti­nen­tal’s on-or-off-road Con­ti­cross­con­tact tyres. It’s a set-up that should suf­fice for any soft-road­ing de­mands made of the chas­sis, but no more.

Lo­co­mo­tion, mean­while, comes cour­tesy of one of five en­gines – two petrols, with ei­ther 128bhp and 163bhp, and three diesels, rang­ing from 99bhp to 178bhp. There’s a choice of ei­ther five-speed and (for high-pow­ered mod­els) six-speed man­u­als along­side a six-speed au­to­matic, plus there’s an eight­speed torque-con­verter au­to­matic trans­mis­sion in the most pow­er­ful diesel model. All com­ply with the lat­est EU6.1 stan­dards, with CO2 emis­sions as low as 117g/km for petrol and 106g/km for diesel.

IN­TE­RIOR

The lay­ered dash­board el­e­ments par­tic­u­lar to Peu­geot con­cept cars of re­cent years have started to see the light of pro­duc­tion with the 5008. The way it curls around the cock­pit and uses a se­lec­tion of un­usual but – out­wardly, at least – high-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als will have you reach­ing for a touch when you first climb in.

It sug­gests the French are get­ting closer to Ger­man build qual­ity than the Ger­mans are to French style, although closer in­spec­tion re­veals that some­thing of a gulf still ex­ists. The wide cen­tre tun­nel, mean­while, and the man­ner in which it sep­a­rates the front-seat oc­cu­pants, lends the cock­pit a Gt-car feel that is un­usual in this class.

The sense that the 5008 be­longs rather higher up the food chain than its badge sug­gests is am­pli­fied by the qual­ity of our test car’s bol­stered (but strangely un­sup­port­ive) seats and a bank of smart, sil­ver tog­gle switches that sits be­low the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem’s touch­screen. There’s also very ef­fec­tive am­bi­ent light­ing, which works to beau­ti­ful ef­fect

dur­ing night-time drives. Heated leather seats are avail­able, by the way, as part of an ex­pen­sive £1990 op­tion pack.

Peu­geot’s com­pact steer­ing wheel stands out, for bet­ter or for worse. It’s de­signed to sit be­neath the high-mounted 12.3in dig­i­tal in­stru­ment bin­na­cle, which is it­self po­si­tioned in a way that shrinks the in­ter­val dur­ing which the driver has his or her eyes off the road. This el­lip­ti­cal wheel is com­fort­able to hold but elic­its an awk­ward, re­mote feel­ing of steer­ing the car from be­tween your knees, no mat­ter how the col­umn is ad­justed. Per­haps it’s best re­served for the mar­que’s pointy lit­tle hatch­backs.

Cru­cially, the new 5008 re­tains the ver­sa­til­ity that de­fined the orig­i­nal – that is, all three mid­dle-row seats can be sep­a­rately folded, and boast ad­justable length and in­cli­na­tion. There’s am­ple leg room all round, ow­ing to Peu­geot’s length­en­ing of the EMP2 plat­form for this ap­pli­ca­tion, although lim­ited rear head room is ex­ac­er­bated if your car is fit­ted with the op­tional panoramic glass roof (£870, or stan­dard on top-spec GT mod­els). With the third-row seats stowed away, the boot is cav­ernous, and ac­ces­si­ble via a pow­ered tail­gate that can be op­er­ated by swip­ing your foot un­der the rear bumper.

PER­FOR­MANCE

So long as the engine had enough about it to trans­port its po­ten­tially nu­mer­ous oc­cu­pants to their des­ti­na­tion in a timely fash­ion, the no­tion of ‘per­for­mance’ has tra­di­tion­ally weighed lightly on the minds of prospec­tive MPV buy­ers. Now that Peu­geot has dis­guised its peo­ple-car­rier as a lux­u­ri­ous sport­su­til­ity ve­hi­cle, this way of think­ing no longer ap­plies.

Our test car, equipped with the 148bhp 2.0-litre Bluehdi diesel engine and six-speed man­ual gear­box, recorded a 0-60mph time of 10.8sec. That’s a touch slower than the 9.6sec Peu­geot claims but it’s nei­ther re­fresh­ingly brisk nor te­diously slow.

What mat­ters here, though, is that this engine de­liv­ers its ef­forts in a re­fined, sur­pris­ingly sonorous man­ner that’s a good match for the char­ac­ter of the 5008. It’s pli­able, de­vel­op­ing 273lb ft from just 2000rpm to pro­pel the 5008 past slower traf­fic with rea­son­able ease, although hold­ing onto gears be­yond the mid-range of the engine’s 6000rpm scope is an en­deav­our that yields di­min­ish­ing re­turns.

Not­with­stand­ing a clutch pedal that’s overly sprung (il­lus­tra­tive of a lack of fi­nesse in the finer con­trol de­tails that sep­a­rates this car from its Ger­man ri­vals), the six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion is easy enough to get along with, although not par­tic­u­larly en­gag­ing. We ac­cept, how­ever, that 5008 buy­ers wouldn’t buy this car for the sat­is­fy­ing tac­til­ity of a short­throw gear­lever. More of an is­sue is the in­tru­sive voice of the engine should you drop a gear or two and ask greater ef­fort of it.

In terms of fuel con­sump­tion, the 5008 re­turned a tour­ing econ­omy of 60.1mpg against an over­all test av­er­age econ­omy of 51.3mpg. For a car that weighs 1490kg, those are fairly im­pres­sive num­bers, although they would, of course, fall were the car to be loaded with pas­sen­gers and lug­gage. A fuel tank of 56 litres makes for an enor­mous the­o­ret­i­cal tour­ing range of 739 miles.

RIDE AND HAN­DLING

Shaped like an SUV but very much in­tended for tar­mac-based ac­tiv­i­ties, the 5008 hits its brief as a re­fined fam­ily cruiser. That, at least, is on rea­son­ably smooth road sur­faces, where the car rides well at higher speeds in the main, ex­hibit­ing close body con­trol and pli­ancy while sat­is­fac­to­rily in­su­lat­ing oc­cu­pants from the worst ef­fects of tyre roar and wind noise. Vis­i­bil­ity is also good and the speed of the steer­ing rack has been ap­pro­pri­ately ad­justed to com­pen­sate for the de­creased di­am­e­ter of the wheel, although some may still con­sider it a frac­tion too di­rect for com­fort. As a ve­hi­cle in which to cover large dis­tances pri­mar­ily on mo­tor­ways, the Peu­geot demon­strates no se­ri­ous flaws and feels suit­ably long-legged.

Prob­lems arise once the road sur­face de­te­ri­o­rates or be­comes more tor­tu­ous – and un­for­tu­nately for those who live in the UK, the two go to­gether a lot of the time. It’s un­likely that the 18in al­loy wheels fit­ted to our test car helped mat­ters, but road im­per­fec­tions were trans­mit­ted through the sus­pen­sion and into the body with sur­pris­ing ease, the re­sult­ing thumps dis­pelling the sen­sa­tion of com­posed f loat for which larger French cars are tra­di­tion­ally cel­e­brated. Although body roll is gen­er­ally well man­aged, the 5008 shows less poise when deal­ing with ver­ti­cal in­puts, ex­hibit­ing a strange blend of hard-edged slop­pi­ness if you’re re­ally push­ing on. This could well be a com­pro­mise brought about by the need to man­age the lat­eral move­ments of what is a de­cep­tively tall car.

In an at­tempt to al­le­vi­ate these trou­bles, you might be tempted to press the Sport but­ton mounted on the trans­mis­sion. You needn’t bother. All it will get you is a syn­the­sised engine note pumped into the cabin and in­creased throt­tle re­sponse. Nei­ther is wel­come nor nec­es­sary. We’d in­stead ad­vise you to man­age your ex­pec­ta­tions of this car’s han­dling abil­i­ties and play to its strengths – namely, easy-go­ing long-haul routes.

BUY­ING AND OWN­ING

Four trim lev­els are avail­able: Ac­tive, Al­lure, GT Line and GT. We’d imag­ine most buy­ers will be sat­is­fied with Al­lure, which in­cludes park­ing sen­sors, a rev­ers­ing cam­era, au­to­matic lights and 18in al­loy wheels. It starts at £26,295, equipped with the 128bhp 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engine, which is ex­pected to be the big­gest seller and is a sur­pris­ingly strong pow­er­plant that no­tice­ably height­ens the 5008’s re­fine­ment lev­els over the diesel mod­els.

The 2.0-litre Bluehdi engine tested here, mean­while, be­comes avail­able only if you opt for GT Line and costs a not in­sub­stan­tial £31,245. That’s a touch more than Skoda charges for the seven-seat – and snap­pily styled – Ko­diaq equipped with a sim­i­larly pow­er­ful TDI diesel engine and a dual-clutch gear­box, although the Peu­geot has the up­per hand for charisma, if not for er­gonomics and drive­abil­ity.

Although Peu­geot’s de­sign team has also opened up a gap be­tween the 5008 and its other prin­ci­pal ri­val – Nis­san’s X-trail – in terms of de­sir­abil­ity, it’s the Ja­panese car that’s the more pre­dictable, easy-go­ing steer, not to men­tion the fact that it can also be had with four-wheel drive.◊

The Peu­geot 5008 hits its brief as a re­fined fam­ily cruiser

A band of wo­ven fab­ric on the dash­board and door cards is an ec­cen­tric touch that helps lift the cabin am­bi­ence to new heights for Peu­geot.

You can charge your smart­phone us­ing the wire­less pad tucked back in the dash­board re­cess. It’s sim­ple but enor­mously use­ful.

Tog­gle switches are sat­is­fy­ing to press and make ne­go­ti­at­ing your way around the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem quicker and eas­ier than with but­ton­less sys­tems.

Boot ca­pac­ity is enor­mous, its 1060-litre max­i­mum ca­pac­ity ce­ment­ing the 5008 as the class leader. The flat floor also helps make load­ing easy.

Front seats look the part and are gen­er­ally very com­fort­able, if mounted a touch too high and lack­ing in sup­port if you’re push­ing on.

Sec­ond-row seats are iden­ti­cal and can be re­clined in­di­vid­u­ally. Head room is unim­pres­sive, though, par­tic­u­larly if your car is spec­i­fied with the panoramic roof.

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