It seems this French car maker no longer sees a future in quirky MPVs, instead adopting an SUV design for its second-generation 2018 Peugeot 5008.
It’s not like Peugeot had any choice in the matter, either. The SUV phenomenon has been nothing short of a global game-changer, virtually killing off people movers and station wagons in favour of high-riding family crossovers.
Essentially, the all-new 5008 is just an extended version of the latest Peugeot 3008, designed specifically with an extra row of seats to accommodate seven people.
When it lands here in February next year, Peugeot’s newest SUV is likely to face stiff competition from a raft of tried and proven models like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Kluger, Mazda CX-9, Honda CR-V and the new Skoda Kodiaq.
Front-on, it looks identical to its smaller 3008 sibling – incorporating the new face of Peugeot. Same goes for the side panels, even down to the chrome strips running the length of the doors. But out back, is where the design differs.
The 5008 isn’t as well-proportioned as the 3008. There’s a larger glasshouse and a more upright approach taken to the styling. Mind, it still cuts a striking visual on the road, especially with its avant-garde nose and triple LED taillights designed to resemble cat-like claws – think Peugeot Lion and the feline imagery starts to make sense.
In the same way, the 5008 gets Peugeot’s impressive i-Cockpit interior, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, eight-inch capacitive touchscreen (both of which are high-resolution units), and the marque’s now trademark small diameter steering wheel.
We sampled the flagship 5008 GT, which adds a host of additional creature comforts like quilted upholstery in soft Nappa leather, Full LED headlamps with cornering function, and 19-inch alloy wheels. It also gets two equipment packages; Pack City 2 and Pack Drive Assist as part of its standard inventory.
Pack City 2 includes front and rear parking sensors with rear-view camera, front camera with 360-degree view and park assist for parallel and row.
Pack Drive assist adds active safety features like ACCC Stop + Advanced Automatic Emergency Braking System (AAEB) with video camera and radar, and Front Collision Warning.
The elevated driving position is good – offering plenty of adjustment and a commanding view of the road. The quirky i-Cockpit seems to work better in the 5008 than in other Peugeot models, as the small-size steering wheel doesn’t tend to block the instrument display as we’ve found to be the case in the brand's hatchbacks.
Drivers will appreciate the clutter-free cabin, for there are no dials and few if any buttons throughout the entire cabin, with all the infotainment functions controlled from the centrally-mounted touchscreen.
The only drawback, it’s a bit of a pain should you want adjust things like the air conditioning controls or even deactivating the Stop/Start function, while on the move.
Overall, though, this feels like a well-crafted and polished fitout, with an abundance of soft touchpoints and quality materials on show. The highlight, though, at least from a design perspective, are the row of piano-like keys below the touchscreen. They’re only short-cut switches, but still, a real visual treat.
Out tester also came with real wood veneer on the door trim, and while local specifications and pricing won’t be finalised for a while yet, expect Aussie buyers to be offered the same kind of choice with regards to trim options.
Benefiting from an additional 190mm in length (over the 3008), there’s also loads of room in the 5008, particularly where it matters most – the middle row. Legroom is close to limo-levels, and not only are there three individual seats, but both seats in the third row can be removed entirely. This frees up nearly 2200 litres of load space, otherwise, there’s a cavernous 952 litres behind the second-row accommodation, alone.
And while the glovebox is on the small side, there’s still a heap of storage options up front, for phones, wallets and water bottles. But if you want to keep that stuff away from prying eyes, the centre console bin is very spacious and air conditioned, too.
The good news is the 5008’s larger dimensions hasn’t dulled its performance, either, though we think the 121kW/240Nm petrol engine might struggle under the extra heft (it wasn’t overly spirited in the 3008), it gets along pretty well with the 133kW/400Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel under the bonnet.
Peak torque is on tap from just 1400rpm and coupled with the fact the GT weighs in at a refreshingly light 1537kg, there’s more than enough there to pull the big Peugeot along at a satisfying clip even with a full load (three adults and luggage) – whether that be on some lonely French B-road or winding it up with faster moving traffic on the AutoRoute.
There’s a sport button for more immediate throttle response, otherwise it’s all a bit laid back for our liking. Mid-range punch is almost enjoyable and delivers ample overtaking performance, though, we wouldn’t call the 5008 sporty in any way, just a versatile family hauler that adds a dash of delight to the cross-country excursion.
As smaller displacement diesels go, refinement is impressive. That familiar diesel clatter has been successfully subdued, even under full throttle.
It’s a decent handling thing, too, but that’s to be expected, given the 5008 is built on the same EMP2 platform as the smaller 3008. However, it’s not quite as settled in terms of body composure (there’s more roll), it’s still a confident handler in the twisty bits.
Traction and grip are well sorted, too, thanks to the excellent Continental brand tyres. Even quick changes of direction at a lively pace won’t unsettle the front-wheel drive Peugeot.
We also like the steering feel, it’s comfortably weighted from the straight-ahead, though it errs on the lighter side, making for easy close-quarter manoeuvring, even around the narrow streets of Belfort, in France.
Suspension settings offer a mostly compliant ride over normal surfaces, but just like the 3008, backseat comfort can deteriorate over poorly maintained roads with sharp edges. It can get a bit too busy for our liking.
Still, the gamble seems to have paid off. There’s a lot to like about the new-generation 5008; it ticks plenty of boxes.
Peugeot has built a stylish, yet practical SUV complete with the standout cabin of the segment. That alone will be more than enough to tempt buyers who want something a bit special, but without spending the big bucks.
Pricing will of course need to be competitive in such a hotly-contested segment and a more thorough test on local soil is likely to reveal more detail.
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