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.
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.
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
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.
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.