Only the jet fighter-style heads-up display that pops out from ahead of the steering wheel offers anything out of the ordinary, but even that’s soon cast to the back of your mind as a useful but overly theatrical device that borders on being a gimmick.
The best bits of the Citroen cabin remain: the clever seven-seat arrangement, the three middle seats that slide and recline, all those cubby holes and the long, flat load area that opens out when you fold away the five rearmost seats with surprising ease. It’s still true, however, that those rearmost seats are best for short journeys or small kids, and that a driver with a baby child seat behind them will be squeezed.
There are areas where the Citroen retains the upper hand, though. A panoramic roof on our model helped give the cabin an airy feeling, but its no match for the Picasso’s up-and-over windscreen and slimmer front pillars. The dash layout is also a touch fiddly; put the 5008 in first, third or fifth and some of the dash buttons are hard to get a finger to.
On UK roads the 5008’s differing character to the Citroen is just as obvious. Tweaked by Peugeot’s engineers, the 5008 offers more reward to the driver and, while it’s no S-Max, it is entertaining to push along in. The steering is well weighted and body roll is kept well in check for a car of these dimensions.
This does come at the cost of ride comfort, but the slightly firm and occasionally jiggly ride aren’t bad enough to be deal breakers for most people – especially as the cabin is so well insulated from all but the tiniest amount of wind and road noise. The Citroen’s softer set-up may suit some people more, but keen drivers will always opt for the Peugeot.
The 107bhp 1.6-litre diesel is just as compelling. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it provides adequate pull under all conditions, even when the car is chock full with a family and their belongings for a Christmas break. Decent progress is possible without the engine without ever getting overly noisy or needing to be thrashed.
What’s more, fully laden over several hundred miles we averaged just over 42mpg – someway short of the official 53.2mpg, but not bad given the driving conditions.
Should I buy one?
It’s not a must-have car for the sector, but you certainly wouldn’t look in bewilderment at someone who bought one.
In fact, once you’ve taken the keen price and likely discounts into account, you might even think they’d made a canny choice.