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

CAR (UK) - - Our Cars -

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

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