What is it?
What a nice change to discover a compact people-carrier that isn’t trying to straddle boundaries.
In an era when saloons try to be coupés, and off-roaders to be sports cars, the boxy but well-proportioned new seven-seat Peugeot 5008 pretends to be nothing other than a compact MPV, concentrating on delivering improved quality for the marque, impressive seating versatility, and some surprising new technology, such as a driver’s head-up display.
A new 5008 frontal design also ditches Peugeot’s infamous grinning grille, allowing the car considerably more elegance, though it isn’t yet clear whether this is a strategy for all future models or just to distinguish Peugeot’s MPVs from other models. Let’s hope for the former.
The 5008, due for launch in mid- January 2010, uses familiar 308 mechanicals – despite its adoption of the ‘5’ tag. Its overall length of 4.5 metres and wheelbase of 2.73m (the slightly longer platform adopted from the 308SW) places it bang in the middle of the busy class created by the Vauxhall Zafira, Ford C-Max, VW Touran and others.
It has three trim levels (Active, Sport and Exclusive) at prices ranging from £16,900 to £23,700. In the UK, all models will get seven seats, and the basic spec will include ESP stability control, an electric parking brake with ‘hill hold’, low rolling resistance tyres (on 16in to 18in wheels) and air conditioning.
There are five power options: two are 1.6-litre petrol engines (120bhp with a five-speed gearbox and a 150bhp turbo with a six-speed).
Three are diesels: a 1.6-litre, 110bhp HDi with either six-speed manual or six-speed clutchless semi-autos; and a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with either 150 or 163bhp, depending whether it drives through a six-speed manual or six-speed auto.
Our test car was the pleasingly flexible 2.0-litre manual delivering 258lb ft of torque while returning (officially, at least) a combined fuel figure of 48.7mpg.
What's it like?
Peugeot makes a big thing of the 5008’s versatility.
The rear seat row folds neatly into the floor, opening up a very large boot. There’s a total of seven seating combos including one that leaves a completely flat, van-like floor behind the front seats. Even the front passenger seat folds forward to allow for exceptionally long loads. 5008 owners can even opt for luxury equipment, such as leather seats, that head-up display, parking assist, a panoramic (but non-opening) glass roof and an impressive rear multi-media system.
On the road, our HDi 150 Sport test car – riding on 17in wheels – was comfortable and smooth-riding. And its relaxing, elevated driving position allowed us a good command of controls that were well laid out on the fascia and console.
Noise from the torquey and long-legged (though rather heavy) powertrain was well suppressed. But the 2.0-litre diesel has so much pull that many buyers may well opt for the lighter HDi 1110, and save themselves several thousand pounds.
The steering is nicely weighted, roll in corners is well-suppressed, and there’s little understeer. What’s more, the chassis feels well able to absorb bumps – more so, in fact, than other 308 family members.
Should I buy one?
It seems clear – not least from the new 5008 slogan “Enjoyed by families, loved by drivers” – that Peugeot is making efforts to improve both the dynamics and refinement of its cars.
Best of all, this pleasing new 5008 has a spark about it that almost pushes undoubted ability towards desirability, an elusive quality that the company needs to nurture.