2018 Peugeot 5008 review

The new Peugeot 5008 represents an oh-so-Gallic salvo in the fight for buyers in the medium-to-large SUV segment. With its sharp design, sharper pricing and extensive equipment list, is it enough to lure buyers away from more mainstream models?

There’s a helluva lot riding on the success of the Peugeot 5008 for the French brand in this country. The mid-sized seven-seater completes Peugeot’s SUV portfolio, which encompasses the 2008, 3008 and now the 5008.

A not-so-strange thing has happened to the 5008 (a quick word for the wise – Peugeot prefers the numerical nomenclature said in full, i.e. five-thousand and eight, not five double-oh eight) in the last couple of years.

It’s morphed from being an MPV, a Tarago wannabe, into an SUV. It’s a repositioning Peugeot hopes will pay dividends. After all, MPVs are about as popular as head lice on pre-schoolers today. Or Donald Trump on a bad day. (Are there any good days?)

The company has made no secret of its desire to reposition the brand in Australia, appointing a new distributor last year to oversee Peugeot’s portfolio. With Inchcape now at the helm – the same company that oversees Subaru’s fortunes in Australia – parent company PSA is looking to build on the eight per cent growth it enjoyed in 2017.

Part of that strategy is to simplify the model line-up in Australia. In Europe, the 5008 is offered in five grades, with the entry-level Access and Active not making their way Down Under.

Instead, as part of the French manufacturer’s strategy to reposition itself as a prestige brand Down Under, the new 5008 will only be offered in three specifications – Allure, GT Line and GT – which in Europe are the top three grades in a five-variant line-up. It’s potentially an astute move from Peugeot, serving to clarify the somewhat muddied waters a complicated line-up can bring to the table.

It’s an interesting proposition from Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA). In Europe, Peugeot is considered a mainstream brand trading blows with the likes of Volkswagen. However, thanks to its European (okay, French) origins, Peugeot is making a play for a different kind of buyer locally, one who wants the perceived prestige of a Euro brand, but without the price tag commanded by some German rivals. Time will tell if that strategy is successful.

In isolation, Peugeot’s second salvo takes shape in this, the 5008. It’s the French brand’s third entrant in the out-of-control SUV segment, joining little brothers 2008 and 3008 in the fight for market traction.

And if first impressions are anything to go by, the 5008 should be on the shortlist for buyers in the hotter than hot medium SUV segment.

Let’s look at the range. As already mentioned, Australian buyers will have the choice of three variants. All are sharply priced and all are specified to the hilt.

The entry-level Allure gets underway at $42,990 plus on-road costs, while the mid-spec GT Line commands a $4000 premium, kicking off from $46,990. The top of the range, which wants for little, asks for $52,990. That’s a reasonable ask for a seven-seat medium SUV. Sure, it’s a touch more than seven-seat mainstream offerings from the likes of Nissan and Honda, but it’s a competitive price when looking at other Euro brands.

The ‘medium SUV’ designation is an interesting one. At 4641mm long (with wheelbase of 2840mm), width of 2098mm (including mirrors) and a height of 1646mm, Peugeot is claiming the 5008 slots into the medium SUV category. From the outside, it certainly appears ‘large’, so we’ll have to wait and see what the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries thinks when it releases sales figures by category later this month. (It's worth noting, of course, that brands nominate categories for their cars to be listed under.)

It’s a moot point, though, really, with buyers – arguably – unlikely to be studying VFACTS classifications when shopping for an SUV. Realistically, it’s a smallish large SUV, rather than a larger medium one. Semantics.

Whatever segment you decide the 5008 falls into, there’s no denying Peugeot’s family lugger is well specified.

Standard across all three variants are: seven seats; autonomous emergency braking; driver attention alert; lane departure warning; auto headlights and windscreen wipers; adaptive cruise control with stop&go function; a 360-degree camera as well as front and rear parking sensors; electric heated and folding door mirrors; dual-zone climate control with rear air vents; customisable 12.3-inch digital instrument panel; an 8.0-inch capacitive touchscreen with 3D navigation; DAB+ radio; voice recognition; wireless induction charging for smartphones; Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink phone mirroring; six airbags, including (and kudos to Peugeot) third-row curtain; and alloy roof rails.

Stepping up a grade to the GT Line adds full LED headlights with high beam assist, active lane-keeping assist, active blind-spot monitoring, a hands-free electric tailgate, advanced driver attention alert, a contrasting ‘Diamond Black’ roof, black wing mirror cover and a sports front bumper and grille.

The top-of-the-range 5008 GT scores 19-inch alloys (over the standard 18-inch on the Allure and GT Line), Alcantara door and dashboard trims, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory, heated front seats, driver’s seat massaging function, chrome mirror shells and bulked up wheel arch extensions.

Stylistically, the 5008 mirrors the design influences found on its smaller 3008 sibling. Other than its obvious dimensions, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the two apart when viewed front-on, with Peugeot’s new design language in full effect. It’s only when you start to look towards the rear of the car do you start to notice the differences. Where the 3008 swoops down towards the tailgate, the 5008, thanks to its 190mm extra length and extra row of seats, offers an altogether blockier profile. Still, subjective tastes aside, it’s a handsome beast that looks every bit the Euro SUV it is.

That styling continues inside, with the 5008 again mirroring its 3008 counterpart. The design is cutting edge with plenty of soft touchpoints and the choice of materials is excellent, even in the lower Allure grade.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen is crystal clear (although the rear-view camera doesn’t offer the best resolution) and anchoring it all together are those lovely, tactile piano keys that control most of the car’s functions. There’s also a volume dial, increasingly a rarity in modern cars. Tick, Peugeot.

One gripe… The steering wheel. Peugeot’s flat-bottomed (and flat-topped) tiller works in the company’s series of hatches and hot hatches. It looks sporty, feels nice in hand (especially finished in the perforated leather with contrasting stitching as found in the top of the line GT variant), but in an SUV of this size it just looks plain silly. It’s out of character with the rest of the mature cabin. Save it for the hot hatches please, Peugeot.

Practicality abounds across all three grades with 780 litres of boot space with just two rows in use. That expands to a reasonable 1940 litres with the second row folded flat. Plus, thanks to the front passenger seat also folding flat, the 5008 can carry objects in excess of three metres in length, making that trip to IKEA for the ubiquitous Billy bookcase a doddle.

The second-row seats three in relative comfort, with the caveat there are no third-row passengers (more on that soon). The three individual seats slide fore and aft and recline too, making it easy to find a comfortable seating position. The three seats are the same width too, negating the need to squabble over who gets the two outboard seats. All three have ISOFIX points.

But one area where the 5008 is compromised is in the third row. Peugeot markets the largest SUV in its line-up as a seven-seater, but having tried out all three rows, it’s realistically a 5+2. Using the third row compromises second-row passengers, thanks to having to slide seats forward in order to provide any leg room for third-row occupants. The back row is at best for small people, and then only for short trips.

Ingress and egress to the third row too is compromised, requiring a modicum of contortion and twisting this 50-year-old reviewer’s body was capable of 20 years ago, but not so much now. Still, Peugeot needs to be commended for ensuring those tiny third-row occupants are protected with curtain airbags that stretch all the way to the back.

There are other nice touches too, like the two back seats that are completely removable, should you need to free up some boot space. Weighing just 11kg each when folded, removing the two rear pews expands boot capacity to 1060 litres with the second row still in use. Pretty handy.

Of course, practicality is nothing without a modicum of performance out front. In that regard, the 5008 is pretty well sorted. Both the Allure and GT Line are powered by Peugeot’s 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit matched to an AISIN six-speed automatic transmission sending drive exclusively to the front wheels. There is no AWD option in the range.

The small petrol unit is adequate for hauling the 5008’s 1575kg (tare) heft around. While it doesn’t exactly hustle, and there’s certainly no punch from the 121kW and 240Nm outputs on offer, it doesn’t feel underdone either. Peugeot claims a 0–100km/h time of 10.5 seconds and that feels about right.

On the road, the 5008 offers an impressive ride, compliant and comfortable, even over some of the harsher road surfaces covered on the launch that included a mix of highway driving, country backroads and sections of dirt.

The big Pug handled the various surfaces with savoir fare, unruffled by bumps, lumps and imperfections. One sharp hit, thanks to a pothole, did reverberate through the cabin, but not to the point where you thought, “well, that was a bit merde”.

The SUV remained nicely balanced too, with minimal body roll through corners and with no propensity to over- or understeer. That said, this isn’t exactly a sporty SUV, despite the presence of sport mode that added some revs to each gear change and a little more exhaust note. As for outright sportiness? Non.

It is an engaging drive, though, offering nicely weighted steering (through that tiny wheel) with enough feedback to know what the front wheels are doing.

Stepping out of the Allure into the top-spec GT brings some reward, and not just in creature comforts like those lovely quilted Alcantara and leather trim seats.

Powering the GT is Peugeot’s 2.0-litre turbo-diesel mated to a six-speed auto transmission. While the power lift over the 1.6-litre petrol is only modest (11kW to 140kW), where the GT really benefits from its diesel powertrain is in torque with a tasty 400Nm available.

That torque and power bump help instil a greater sense of urgency in the 5008 GT. Peugeot says the GT is good for 10.2 seconds for the 0–100km/h sprint, only a 0.3sec improvement on its petrol brethren. However, while that may seem a minimal performance bump, it’s how it goes about its business that makes the GT stand out from its stablemates.

That 400Nm of torque is available at a juicy 2000rpm, and makes light work of accelerating and overtaking. It’s not manic, not even close, but it’s healthy enough to ensure those gaps in traffic are picked off with ease, while rolling acceleration makes light work of overtaking. Sporty? Not on your life (despite the presence of a sport mode that bumps revs and noise levels), but the GT makes a perfectly acceptable tourer.

That’s largely due to its supple ride. Soft, but not overly so, the GT, much like its Allure and GT Line garage mates, deals with the worst of our roads with an unruffled calm that translates to a comfortable experience in the cabin.

There’s a bit of body roll when cornering hard, but then this isn’t the SUV for cornering hard. If that’s your bent, look elsewhere, but if you’re after a comfortable 5+2 seater with comfort and plushness a cut above more mainstream offerings, then this could be the SUV for you.

Economical? According to Peugeot, the GT sips just 4.8L/100km of diesel on the combined loop maxing out to 5.5L/100km while solely on urban duties. The petrol Allure requires 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle and 9.8L on the urban run. We’ll see how close we get to those claims once we cycle the three variants through the CarAdvice garage for a week-long test.

Peugeot’s three-year/100,000km warranty might seem standard taken at face value. But if the French brand is serious about taking the fight to more mainstream brands, it could do worse than extending that surety to the five years/unlimited kilometres offered by the likes of Honda. The 5008 is also covered by five years’ roadside assistance.

UPDATE: On February 7, a week after we first drove the 5008 and scheduled this review under embargo, Peugeot announced a new five-year warranty. (You'd think they'd tell us at launch...)

Servicing is now required every 12 months or 20,000km, which is a lift of 5000km over Peugeot’s previous service schedule. Additionally, Peugeot has promised a capped-price servicing plan that is cheaper than previously, although at the time of writing these prices weren’t available.

The Peugeot 5008 has a lot riding on its not inconsiderable flanks as the French brand seeks to take its local footprint to the next level. With sharp pricing and arguably one of the nicest interiors in the segment, not to mention excellent levels of equipment, there’s no question the French lion has the weapons at its disposal to re-establish itself as more than a niche brand.

Peugeot executives hate the word ‘quirky’ often used to describe their cars. Rest assured, there’s little that is ‘quirky’ about the Peugeot 5008. Instead, the French marque’s first foray in the medium-to-large SUV segment is a refined experience, offering levels of luxury, design and comfort often found in more expensive brands.

Now Peugeot needs to convince the buying public the 5008 is a worthy competitor in what is the most hotly contested segment in the market.