From £28,9857

Engine options, top speed, acceleration and refinement

So long as the engine had enough about it to transport its potentially numerous occupants to their destination in a timely fashion, the notion of ‘performance’ has traditionally weighed lightly on the minds of prospective MPV buyers.

Now that Peugeot has disguised its people-carrier as a luxurious sports-utility vehicle, this way of thinking no longer applies.   

The 5008’s natural inclination is to understeer into tight hairpins, but get the front tyres hooked up and a throttle lift will agitate the rear axle

Our test car, equipped with the 179bhp 1.6-litre PureTech petrol and eight-speed automatic gearbox, recorded a 0-60mph time of  9.1sec. That’s a touch slower than the 8.3sec Peugeot claims for the 0-62mph time, but our figures are recorded two-up and with a full tank of fuel. Moreover, the Peugeout’s refusal to allow you to fully disengage the traction control means a clean launch off the line is often stymied by power-sapping electronic intervention.

What matters here, though, is that this engine delivers its efforts in a refined, surprisingly sonorous manner that’s a good match for the character of the 5008. On the road, where mid-range muscle matters more than the traffic light grand prix, it delivers brisk and usable performance. This is added by the closely stacked intermediate ratios of the eight-speed ‘box, which helped the Peugeot return some impressively lively in-gear acceleration times.

It’s pliable, developing 184lb ft from just 1,650rpm to propel the 5008 past slower traffic with reasonable ease, and happily being extended to the top of its rev range without any noticeable harshness or vibration. That said, there is a curiously synthetic quality to the engine note when you’re working it hard, and while it’s not unpleasant it also doesn’t really bear repeated listening.

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Entry-level cars are fitted with a six-speed manual and, notwithstanding a clutch pedal that’s overly sprung (illustrative of a lack of finesse in the finer control details that separates this car from its German rivals), the transmission is easy enough to get along with, although not particularly engaging.

Most models, however, will be fitted with the same eight-speed automatic used by our test car. It’s not the quickest or crispest of self-shifters, but in many respects it suits the laid back character of the 5008. It slurs the ratios nicely and is rarely wrong-footed, but the changes are a little ponderous when compared to best torque converter units, let alone a swift-acting twin-clutch.