Midrand - The new Peugeot 5008, making its South African debut this week at the Festival of Motoring, takes this model, to quote the Rocky Horror Picture Show, a jump to the right.
Whereas the previous model was primarily a people carrier, the second-generation 5008 is positioned as a seven-seater SUV, says the maker - taller, with a long, horizontal bonnet, vertical front treatment and higher ground clearance - arguably more versatile, and on point with the world trend away from sedans and minivans to SUVs.
It’s built on PSA’s Efficient Modular Platform 2, 190mm longer than the previous 5008 (up to 4640mm overall on a 2840mm wheelbase) 165mm of which is between the axles, to the benefit of interior space and practicality, all while weighing 95kg less than its predecessor.
The new 5008 is also 110mm wider than the previous version, making space for three separate folding and tilting seats - all the same width - in the second row, adjustable fore and aft, with five different backrest positions - and when they’re folded flat, you have a flat floor like a van.
The third-row seats also fold flat - but they weigh less than 11kg each, and a single-lever locking mechanism makes them quickly and easily removable, giving you an extra 78 litres of boot space - up to 1080 litres in five-seat format - with a low (676mm) sill height behind an electric tailgate that can be operated by putting your foot under the rear bumper.
It also shares a lot of features with the smaller 2008 and 3008 SUVs, notably Peugeot’s i-Cockpit dashboard, with a 31cm high-resolution digital head-up instrument panel, a 20cm capacitive touchscreen, and seven central satin chrome dashboard toggle switches for instant access to audio, air conditioning, satellite navigation, vehicle settings, telephone, apps, and hazard warning lights.
Driver aids include automatic emergency braking, distance alert, active lane-keeping, driver attention alert, high-beam assist, speed sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, active blind spot monitoring and a parking camera.
The mirror screen function displays a copy of your Android or Apple smartphone screen on the central touchscreen, with voice control at the touch of a button on the steering wheel.
Initially the 5008 will only be available in SA with a new 110kW two-litre HDi turbodiesel four, driving the front wheels via your choice of six-speed manual or auto transmissions, and in three trim levels: Active, upmarket Allure and sportier GT Line. 1.2 and 1.6 turbopetrol motors might be added to the range at a later stage.
Prices have yet to be firmed up, but as soon as we hear, so will you.