New Peugeot 5008 2019 Test Drive Review.
A Peugeot 5008, but not as we know it. What was once a very conventional seven-seat MPV has become a three-row crossover SUV that competes with the excellent Skoda Kodiaq and slightly less excellent Nissan X-Trail, rather than the Renault Scenic or Ford S-Max.
The reason behind the change is simple – demand for SUVs, or at least SUV-like vehicles, is growing as quickly as the demand for old-school MPVs is falling. So some manufacturers – like Peugeot – are ditching them altogether in favour of higher-riding, more rugged-looking crossovers. That, and Peugeot wants this thing to go international – to China and beyond – and MPVs are an exclusively European thing.
In the 3008 Peugeot had a good platform on which to base the new 5008, and from the back of the driver’s door forwards they’re effectively the same car. Move towards the rear and you’ll find a longer, more upright tail designed not only to accommodate more luggage, but two occasional seats that spring up from the bootfloor. The rear doors are longer, for better access therein.
The engines are broadly the same as those available in the 3008 – petrols in 1.2 or 1.6 litres and diesels in 1.6 or 2.0 litres. The manual option is a six-speed, and the auto is six- or eight-speed depending on the engine you go for.
You might think it impossible that 1.2 litres and three cylinders could provide enough motive force to propel something as heavy and bulbous as the 5008 at anything more than walking pace. You would be wrong, however, because so equipped with Peugeot’s quiet, refined and tractable turbo petrol the 5008 performs perfectly adequately.
Granted, we didn’t fill it up – if you regularly carry many people and things, a torquier engine would make for a less strained and therefore more efficient drive – but if it’s just a couple of kids and a bootload of shopping, you’ll manage just fine. Expect mid-low 40s mpg from the manual, which is easy- and smooth-shifting. Said petrol manual is the only 5008 we’ve driven in the UK. We drove the big diesel on the launch in Spain a few months ago – the 2.0-litre with 180bhp – but it was noisy and the auto gearbox wasn’t up to much. And it’s expensive, so skip it.
The petrol handles better than the diesel too, because there’s so much less weight over the nose. Though there is a Sport button (which doesn’t do much, as far as we could tell), this is a car that’s been set up to deliver comfort above all else. It’s quiet and comfortable most everywhere, but start to drive it a bit quickly, and the mass starts to feel at odds with the quick steering.
The dash houses two configurable screens, one for the driver’s instruments and the other for nav and entertainment. Their operation is smooth and logical, and their graphics clean. Under the main info screen are a pair of air vents and a row of buttons – luckily Peugeot hasn’t dispensed with these completely, like Land Rover did with the Velar. Peugeot calls the system, which debuted on the 3008, i-Cockpit, and, sure enough, the way the screens and surfaces are canted toward the driver make it feel more cocooning than we’re used to in cars like this. Above all else, it’s very modern and very cool. The quality of both materials and build is on-point for the class.
And thankfully the design does not impinge on space. The two rearmost seats aren’t really for adults – more so small children – but that’s OK. Erecting, stowing and accessing them is straightforward enough, but remember when they’re up and in use, the boot shrinks from massive to tiny. The middle row gets three individual seats that all slide fore/aft and recline. Slid all the way back and reclined a bit, it’s pretty comfy back there.
One thing that still irks us a bit is the driving position. You have to sit differently in Peugeots than other cars, because the dials are designed to be read over the top of the (incredibly tiny) steering wheel, not through it. If you’re of a certain height, the wheel rim blocks the bottom half of the dials, and that’s annoying.
Like the 3008, the 5008 is not available with all-wheel drive, but rather an optional advanced traction and descent control system and marginally chunkier tyres. This makes the range much easier to understand – there’s Active, Allure, GT Line and then GT. Even base Active gets DAB and CarPlay/Android Auto, plus lane-departure warning and auto headlights/wipers. Allure adds more safety systems, built-in nav and tray tables on the back of the front seats. GT Line gets sportier interior and exterior trim, as well as LED headlights and wireless phone charging. GT, meanwhile, is only available with the auto gearbox and most powerful engines. It adds some kit, but nothing you can’t spec on lesser 5008s. Prices start at a little under £25k, rising to comfortably over £30k for a GT.
As for economy, Peugeot claim 55.4mpg and 117g/km CO2 for the 1.2-litre petrol – you’ll see low- to mid-40s.