We take it Christmas tree shopping
If there’s one task guaranteed to needle you, this is it, even with a spacious SUV
’Tis the season to be jolly. Tra-la-la-la-lah, deck the halls and raise a glass to my namesake (alas, not relative, given the royalties presumably pouring in right now) Noddy Holder, famed singer of 1970s supergroup Slade, notable for hits including Merry Xmas Everybody.
But for all this bonhomie, there is something that kills my Christmas cheer quicker than discovering someone has forgotten to put the nutmeg in the egg-nog: the potentially quite ruinous journey to collect the Christmas tree.
While your mind may be racing ahead and wondering what risks could possibly be involved in such a mundane task, it is only the journey to and from wherever we buy the tree to which I’m referring.
The issues, of course, revolve around the needles. On reflection, there is a hint in their name as to their potential for jeopardy, although it is not only their propensity for jabbing you in the face that needs addressing.
For starters, collecting the tree tends to be a family event. So that’s both the front and two of the middle seats spoken for. Add in the tree and this brings its challenges, albeit ones that highlight once again that the Peugeot is a cut above a lot of the opposition.
Rearmost seats down, it has 822 litres of space, versus the Skoda Kodiaq’s 720. That’s a decent advantage – and above average for the class – but it’s still not enough for anything more than the most pathetic of trees, the likes of which are never going to be signed off once your overexcited kids realise they can put the angel in place simply by standing on their tiptoes.
What to do? Well, the 5008’s middle row of seats splits 40:20:40, leaving you with two options, the most practical of which is to drop the middle seat and substantially expand your load length. Yes, the kids will likely injure themselves on the aforementioned needles and rapidly become unruly as a result, but the threat of their displeasure turning into an argument is greatly reduced because of the spike-covered tree trunk that separates them.
But if you favour happiness over practicality, by far the best option is to tell your ‘other half’ to go shopping and catch the bus home when she’s done with buying socks. Not only is this better for her mood, but it also gives you a chance to shuffle the kids next to each other, drop one of the side seats in the middle row and fold the front passenger seat flat (a neat trick that is increasingly an option on cars with an eye on practicality). Behold, the 10ft tree that you and the kids really wanted all along can be yours. Hooray for the commodious Peugeot and its clever seats.
However, as sure as a fun-packed Christmas lunch is followed by the Queen’s speech and a 20-year old Bond film, so there must be some words of caution in this homage to the 5008’s load-carrying capabilities – and again it relates to those needles.
Someone will write in and say that age and experience should have taught me what’s to come after you have had a Christmas tree in your car but, well, you do it only once a year and, yes, I have the memory of a goldfish.
As such, I never, ever remember to take a sheet or some-such on which to lie the tree. And, as a result, I always end up with a car full of needles, which will both pierce my trousers and litter the car for months to come.
The 5008 offers little protection, the boot covering being no more than a flimsy, carpet-covered folding base that lets itself down both by grabbing needles into its weave so they won’t vacuum up and by displacing easily from its covering duties so the needles fall into the underfloor storage area where the seats stow. Once there, they are nigh-on impossible to liberate from the nooks and crannies that lie below, remaining like the relative who won’t go home.
Seat origami and needle-drop pain on display in cavernous Pug