On a smooth road surface it is absolutely at its best, delivering close body control and pliancy while satisfactorily insulating you and your friends from the worst effects of tyre roar and wind noise. For long motorway journeys that’s just perfect, but throw in some bigger bumps, an irregular road surface or a combination of corners and that composure is challenged.
That makes hustling the 5008 an unlikely pastime, even if it does grip surprisingly well for such a tall car. Nor does the Sport toggle add anything to the mix, offering no more than increased engine noise and perkier throttle response.
But does any of this leave me not wanting to recommend the 5008? Even in Autocar, home to the car enthusiast, no. There are better SUVs (and, hush, MPVs) to drive, but only marginally so. The shortcomings are there, but never strongly enough to unravel the compelling case built up by myriad positives for this car.
ROBUST FURNISHINGS The elegant, characterful interior is withstanding the worst that the kids are throwing at it, from crumbs to spillages.
NAVIGATING NAVIGATION The sat-nav is very good, but functions including postcode input could be more easily found.
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Don’t judge a book by its cover – or an engine by its headline figures - 3rd October 2018
Whenever I talk about the 5008, the proverbial elephant comes marching straight into the room. Eyes tighten. Eyebrows raise. Disbelief spills out.
So let’s get it out there in the open here and now, so the elephant can get back to where it belongs. Yes, the 5008 is a seven-seat SUV and, yes, it is powered by a three-cylinder 1199cc petrol engine.
I’ll accept the numbers do little to dispel the awkward glances and shuffling from toe to toe. Peaks of 131bhp and 170lb ft do not set the pulse racing. A 0-62mph time of 10.4sec might even lead you to wonder what this car is doing in Autocar.
The point being, of course, that the engine, diminutive though it may be, complements the car perfectly.
I write that with absolute confidence because, in the past month, I’ve driven the 5008 about 2500 miles. I’ve enjoyed everything from town commutes to seven-up 75-mile round trips to 250-mile runs fully laden with the family. All on a variety of motorway, A-road, B-road and whatever comes next in line down the food chain in the piddling lanes of Devon and Pembrokeshire.
Not once – not even fully laden and pulling out from a standstill with a large truck bearing down – have I wanted for performance, or had to modify my usual driving behaviour.