Tested: Peugeot 5008 is a family car with flair
Johannesburg - The new, second-generation Peugeot 5008 doesn’t just look completely different to its predecessor; according to Peugeot it’s a different type of vehicle too.
In a nutshell, the 5008 has morphed from an MPV into an SUV, although it’s really more the styling that defines that shift than anything else as the interior has similar functionality and there isn’t really any more in the way of off-roading ability apart from a bit of extra ground clearance.
Shifting to an SUV-like design is a definite no-brainer given the mass migration towards this kind of vehicle and the resulting shrinkage of the minivan segment. Peugeot puts it rather diplomatically by stating that its customers “no longer want to be pigeonholed as drivers of merely utilitarian family vehicles”, but in plain English it’s a simple case of: MPVs are just not cool anymore.
Regardless of all that, we think Peugeot has done a brilliant job of infusing a whole lot more cool factor - along with a decent dose of gallic flair - into this vehicle’s exterior shape, but we'll leave you to make up your own mind on that topic.
This newfound style does not come at the expense of practicality.
The 5008 still offers seating for seven on a wheelbase that’s 165mm longer than that of the closely related Peugeot 3008. For the record, the new 5008 is also 11mm longer than its predecessor.
It must be noted though that the third row seats are still very much a ‘child only’ affair - teens and adults will fit at a push, but it’s an uncomfortable squeeze that’s best left for shorter urban trips. The three individual middle row seats do slide however, so their occupants can give up some of their otherwise abundant legroom to make things more comfortable in the third row. The middle seats, incidentally, also have five different angles of inclination, up from two in the previous 5008.
The third row seats can also fold neatly into little boxes on the boot floor, freeing up a very decently sized boot with a capacity of around 700 litres. Or you could remove these little back row chairs completely, freeing up a 780 litre boot.
The 5008’s cabin is not just practical, it’s also easily the most stylish in the segment, with its swoopy dashboard featuring piano-like switches in satin chrome as well as the diamond-quilted nappa leather seats in the GT Line version that we tried out for a week.
The cockpit certainly looks futuristic, but it’s not over the top and the perceived material quality is top notch, although I did find one small build quality niggle around the central touchscreen area where the two dashboard panels were misaligned.
As is the norm these days, you’ll find screens, screens and more screens inside the 5008, including a 31.2cm digital instrument cluster with customisable screen views and a 20.3cm central touchscreen with modern-looking graphics and the latest in phone-mirroring functionality. The screen and ‘piano key’ system can take a bit of getting used to as there are no traditional ventilation dials here, but you’ll probably find it fairly user-friendly once you’re accustomed.
Let’s take a spin
There is a certain feeling of refinement from the moment you fire it up and on the road the 5008 is impressively insulated and quiet. The ride quality is also reasonably comfortable despite the fitment of 19-inch wheels. The steering could do with a bit more feedback, but that shouldn’t matter to most customers, who will appreciate the lightness and overall ease of manoeuvrability. Being a modern Peugeot, the steering wheel is abnormally small though, which could take some getting used to.
There are two engines to choose from - petrol or diesel.
Peugeot sent us the former, which is a 1.6-litre turbopetrol unit, good for 121kW and 240Nm, and paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox. All in all, it’s quite painless to drive and performance is adequate in most situations, although on the open road with seven passengers on board you will probably have to give the engine a bit of a workout at times.
This vehicle might be light for its size but it’s still hauling around 1450kg unladen, and that doesn’t do fuel consumption any favours. We managed just over 10 litres per 100km during a week of driving, but it’s worth noting that the bulk of that was in dense urban traffic.
Your other option is a 2-litre turbodiesel with 110kW and 370Nm, and at a price premium of just R20 000 over the 1.6T, you might want to take a serious look at this one.
Two specification flavours
Your other choice is between the two specifications grades: Allure and GT Line.
Both are packed with features, including dual-zone climate control, keyless start, cruise control, auto lights and mirrors, Lane Departure Warning, Active Blind spot detection, six airbags and stability control.
Since you’re getting so much luxury in the base model anyway, upgrading to the GT Line is mostly about the style on offer here, including 19-inch alloy wheels (versus the Allure’s 18” rims), a sportier grille and a Diamond Black colour scheme for the mirrors and roof.
That said, the GT Line does bring some new features to the party, including an upgraded sound system, satnav, a 180-degree parking camera, auto emergency braking and Nappa leather upholstery (in place of the Allure’s cloth/leather combo). A panoramic roof is optional in the top model.
Is it worth the money?
At R584 900 the Peugeot 5008 1.6T GT Line is 40 to 50 grand more expensive than a similarly-powered Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, although the French vehicle does have a much higher level of standard spec.
Nonetheless, it’s an impressive all-rounder with a distinctive personality inside and out that elevates it above your ordinary mundane family car. But you have to be willing to pay the premium, and put your faith in Peugeot’s promise of providing better after-sales back-up going forward. On that note, a five-year/100 000km service plan and warranty is standard.