Peugeot’s 5008 MPV has been named the carwow 2012 Large MPV of the Year thanks to its warm reception from both the car-buying public and the motoring press.
To find out what all the fuss was about we borrowed one from Peugeot and subjected it to a weeks worth of family-oriented use to see how it fared under real-life conditions. Did we like it? Were we premature in awarding it one of top honours before wed even driven it?
There’s only one way to find out
The 5008 is a neat piece of automotive design that looks smaller and sleeker than any seven-seat MPV has a right to. Our car came in an attractive Pearl White, which suited the car very well but was hard to keep looking good in the recent rain and bad weather.
The smoked-glass panoramic roof looks terrific and brings openness to the interior that transformed the way the car felt; its almost a must-have feature.
The Peugeot has a commanding driving position and its easy to get comfortable. The gear lever sprouts from the dashboard and is slick and precise to use, helped by a perfectly-weighted clutch pedal. The steering wheel adjusts up-and-down and in-and-out and while the drivers seat is height-adjustable I kept reaching for the lever to try and lower it even further.
The weakest design point is the head-up display, which looks like a bit of an afterthought although it does work very well and I came to rely on it very quickly. The rest of the dashboard instruments and controls are attractively laid out and easy to use; I didnt have to resort to the owners manual, which isnt always the case when driving new cars
There is also a lot of storage inside the 5008, including under-seat storage, door pockets, and a huge bin between the front seats with a 12-volt power suppy and holders for two bottles – the bin can be kept cool too; brilliant!
And talking of space, the 5008 excels at moving large numbers of people and their belongings around. We were called to help friends and easily moved six people, a wheelchair, and lots of luggage in complete comfort; even with the rearmost seats in use there is plenty of room for shopping or a weekends worth of suitcases.
The middle-row of seats slide fore-and-aft, which is a much more useful feature than you imagine, and the reclining backrests were appreciated by my young sons on a late-night dash home, enabling them to sleep in comfort.
The only gripe that I had with the interior is that the seats are awkward to fold and the catches are a bit flimsy; I wondered how well they would stand up to repeated use over the years.
The 5008s trump card is the chassis, which is supple and rewarding to drive. There is more body roll than would be the case in a hatchback but it is never concerning and 2CV drivers would just roll their eyes and wonder what all the fuss is about!
It was a pleasant car to punt along at a fair lick of speed and hangs on well in the bends but the surprise to me was that it was, given half a chance, also a pleasantly languid car to drive, remaining satisfying at low speeds too. I enjoyed trying to drive the 5008 as smoothly and precisely as possible, a mode of driving that rewarded me with an average fuel consumption of 44.7mpg over 600 miles.
The 5008 has a couple of clever little tricks up its sleeve; Hill Start combined with an automatic hand brake, which worked very well, and a gizmo that measures a parking space to see if youll fit into it. I tried it but wasnt convinced and couldnt help thinking that full Parking Assist would have been a better option.
The quiet and refined 1.6-litre diesel engine produces 112bhp and 177lb ft of torque. It isnt fast, of course (0-62mph in 12.9 seconds and a top speed of 115mph) but it cruises at semi-legal speeds with ease and is more than capable of keeping up with – and overtaking when necessary – A-road traffic. Sure, youll be rowing it along on the gearbox a bit to keep the engine on the boil but you dont need any more power than this.
The economy is good; I thought that an average of 44.7mpg over 600 miles of mixed use, a lot of which was four- and six-up, is remarkably good.
Value for Money
The Peugeot 5008 Allure that I drove cost 23,095 plus over 3,500-worth of options, including leather seats. This makes it competitive, and there are cheaper versions if youre on a tight budget.
Running costs should be low, especially given the mid-40s fuel consumption and the cheapish road tax.
A seven-seat MPV is never going to be the most exciting car for an enthusiast and few would choose a 5008 (or any of its competition for that matter) for an early morning blast across deserted country roads – and even fewer would gaze at it with lustful eyes, even if it is a compact and attractive MPV.
Families, however, will look at it with fondness and genuine affection, which might be an even harder trick to pull off. The Peugeot 5008 fitted into our life with ease, demanding nothing of us except small quantities of fuel.
My wife and children rarely notice when a test car has gone back to the manufacturer but they are missing the 5008, and thats high praise indeed.
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