Peugeot packing them in with 5008
Peugeot's new 5008 people-carrier is a clear case of entente cordiale, says ANDY RUSSELL.It's as much who you know as what you know. That's the case with Peugeot's cracking newcomer into the compact people-carrier market which draws on the talents of its French partner Citroen - an expert in the field with an ever-expanding fleet of multi-purpose vehicles.
Peugeot's new 5008 people-carrier is a clear case of entente cordiale, says ANDY RUSSELL.
It's as much who you know as what you know. That's the case with Peugeot's cracking newcomer into the compact people-carrier market which draws on the talents of its French partner Citroen - an expert in the field with an ever-expanding fleet of multi-purpose vehicles.
The all-round ability of compact MPVs is making them increasingly attractive to drivers who want wheels to cope with multiple tasks - carrying people, large loads or a combination of both.
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No wonder Peugeot is looking to storm into this sector with the 5008, aiming to make it the new benchmark, but the real surprise is that it has taken so long. For it has so much in common with Citroen's C4 Grand Picasso, launched nearly three years ago, sharing the underpinnings, clever seating and engines and transmissions.
But the exterior styling is all Peugeot and very smart too with the dominant family face and strong, sleek lines that appeal to the heart as much as its versatility appeals to the head.
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Power comes from 120bhp 1.6 and 156bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engines and 110bhp 1.6 and 150bhp manual and 163 automatic 2.0 turbo diesels.
The 1.6 turbo diesel, with six-speed manual transmission or the electronically-controlled gearbox which provides both manual and automatic shifts, should find favour with buyers for its smooth low-down pull and punchy performance. It had its work cut out with seven people on board but, to its credit, lost none of its refinement when revved and still returned 46mpg overall.
What really impresses is how good the 5008 is to drive - this is no soggy, roly-poly MPV. Instead it has a sporty edge with fine handling, plenty of grip and well-weighted steering which make it entertaining on twisty roads with body roll kept in check - no mean achievement in a tall MPV. The ride is firm but supple enough to give a comfortable ride, although there is some thump through the suspension over big bumps at low speed.
The make or break of any people-carrier is the versatility of the interior - the 5008 doesn't disappoint. Despite being at the compact end of the people-carrier sector, it's roomy inside and can transport seven adults. That said, the two rearmost seats which pull up one-handed from the boot floor are most suitable for children if you plan to cover long distances.
The three separate full-size middle-row seats each have tilting backs and slide independently back and forth through 13cm to optimise legroom for those right in the back if you are carrying seven or to maximise boot space. And the clever cinema-style seats in the middle row, where the cushions flip upright before the seats slide forward, mean you don't have to be a contortionist to get into the two rearmost seats.
In five-seat mode, with the middle seats slid back, passengers have huge amounts of legroom and there's still an ample 578 litres of space in the deep boot with the rear shelf in place. Slide the seats forward and this grows to 679 litres. With all the seats in use boot space is limited to a few bags of shopping or a couple of holdalls.
Unlike some people-carriers, there's no need to lug heavy seats about to maximise space - they simply fold down and, with flaps that fold out to cover gaps, create a long, level load floor with a van-like 1,754 litres of space, loaded to the roof.
Another highlight of the 5008 is the quality of the interior - nicely colour-co-ordinated for a bright and airy feel, upmarket plastics and trim materials and a driving position which, while rather upright, benefits from all the seat and steering column adjustment you need to get comfortable. The classy dashboard is a model of clarity with simple white on black instruments, sensible controls and logical, well-placed switchgear on the snazzy centre console. A self-releasing electronic parking brake is easy to use and frees up space between the front seats for a huge 10.5 litre storage compartment. Storage is another key ingredient of a successful people-carrier and the 5008 includes big doorbins as well as, on top models, underfloor compartments in the rear footwells and under the front seats.
The 5008 comes in Active, Sport and Exclusive trim levels. All get air-conditioning, stability control and front, front side and full-length curtain airbags. Sport adds alloy wheels, cruise control with speed-limiter, front fog lights, a boot net and ambient lighting. Step up to range-topping Exclusive and you gain a huge panoramic glass roof, 17in alloys, dual-zone climate control, a head-up display for speed and distance alert - so no need to look down to the instruments - automatic headlamps and wipers, Bluetooth connection and rear parking sensors.
There's a lot to like about the 5008 and many car-makers could learn valuable lessons from its practicality, but then Peugeot had a good teacher in Citroen.
PEUGEOT 5008 EXCLUSIVE 1.6 HDi 110
Price: �21,945 (range starts at �17,345)
Engine: 1,560cc, 110bhp, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 12.9 seconds; top speed 114mph
MPG: Urban 43.5; extra urban 62.8; combined 53.3
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19pc
Insurance group: 7 (1 to 50 groupings, 17E)
Warranty: Three years/60,000miles
Will it fit in the garage? Length 4,530mm; width (including door mirrors) 2,118mm; height 1,638mm