Going over to the Dark Side
Hard-driving, style-conscious Alex Tapley falling for an SUV? When it’s as good as the Peugeot 5008, you can see why
THERE IS NO better way of reviewing a car than living with it day to day for six months. I took ownership of my 5008 not thinking I would enjoy living with an SUV, but the Peugeot joined the family and flourished.
The seven-seat 5008 sits on the border between SUV and MPV, and in GT trim is quite luxurious – and not cheap: nearly £37,000 including the metallic paint.
Ours is a 2.0-litre diesel with a six-speed auto ’box: an excellent combination for the high miles and often heavy loads that are typical of my driving life – sometimes family and luggage, sometimes mountains of photographic gear, often both.
In my 12,000 miles with the 5008 it’s ploughed through the Beast from the East (albeit at one stage stopping every 10 minutes to pour water over the screen as the stupid wiper-mounted pipes kept freezing), spent a few weeks with the sunroof refusing to close properly (my local car-wash guys like a challenge) and played sat-nav roulette on the numerous occasions when the infotainment system would just switch off.
Clearly this is annoying, but the dealers have been quick to help and at one point – when a problem with the powered opening of the boot was being investigated – provided me with a replacement car.
Experiencing the same car with a smaller engine and lower trim helped give me a greater understanding of what the 5008 is all about. On paper, a 1.2-litre petrol engine might seem inadequate for a 1.5-tonne car, but in fact the engine was mightily impressive. Not as grunty as the 2.0-litre diesel, of course, but willing and peppy. The lack of leather in the cabin didn’t make it feel any cheaper, although it would probably be tougher to wash crisps and chocolate out of.
The deletion of the massage seats and panoramic roof also gave me a little more headroom; I’m 6ft 3in tall, and when driving the higher-spec car I was slouched and sometimes left with an aching back.
Despite the too-frequent glitches I really warmed to the 5008, and it opened my eyes to the pleasures and practical advantages of the family SUV.
So it’ll be interesting to find out if switching to an old-fashioned estate car – the Mazda 6 on the facing page – feels like a backward step.
Rear Comfort Pack: made to wind the driver up