Peugeot 5008 - First Drive

Seeking to expand its SUV credentials still further, Peugeot has replaced its 5008 MPV with an extended version of its highly successful 3008. Massimo Pini reports from the UK launch.

Peugeot’s second-generation 5008 is a world away from the car it replaces, following the market trend by transforming from MPV to SUV. Massimo Pini reports from the UK Launch.

Before getting stuck into reviewing Peugeot’s latest 5008 in its brand new SUV guise, I’d like to take a moment to express my disappointment in saying goodbye to its predecessor, which in my eyes was one of the very prettiest MPVs on the market, as well as being good to drive, practical and versatile.

But there’s little room for sentiment in the car industry. Manufacturers need to design and build cars that meet customer demand, and that demand - for some time now - has been for SUVs rather than MPVs, so when Peugeot embarked upon developing a replacement for the 3008 and 5008, it took a leaf out of Nissan’s book.

he Qashqai has been (and continues to be) one of the most successful crossover/SUVs on the market and Nissan capitalised on its early success by creating an extended wheelbase, seven-seater ‘+2’ version (now replaced by the X-Trail) which proved extremely popular. In a similar way, Peugeot has extended its new 3008 by a total of 19cm (sharing the platform of the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso) and added a third row of seats to create the new 5008. I suppose you could call it a ‘+2000’.

Some of the extra length is in the wheelbase and some in the rear overhang and this helps a great deal with the car’s proportions, preventing it from looking stretched and ungainly. Indeed, the designers have been very canny in creating a kind of bustle-back at the rear of the car, finished in black to blend in with the roof (standard on all bar the entry-level model), so as to ‘hide’ the fairly upright rear screen and visually give the car a much sleeker and less van-like look. It’s not quite ‘Trompe-l'œil’ in the classical sense, but the eye is definitely being deceived.

The overall effect is that the car looks pretty much as stylish and dynamic as its smaller sibling, with which it shares identical bodywork from the B-post forward, and given that the 3008 has already bagged the European Car of the Year award, Peugeot has high hopes for its new seven-seater.

There are four trim levels on offer - Active, Allure, GT Line and GT - with a choice of two petrol and four diesel engines. I tested a diesel-powered 2.0 BlueHDi GT Line fitted with a 6-speed manual gearbox and also briefly sampled an automatic version.

Despite being 11cm longer than the outgoing model - the 5008 doesn’t feel like a large car on the move. Visibility is good all-round, making it easy to place on the road and it’s pleasantly agile with light steering, a positive gearchange and modest body roll. The suspension is sensibly biased towards comfort but while it copes well with uneven surfaces, it can get a tad fidgety on potholed roads.

The 150 PS, 2.0-litre diesel is relaxed at motorway speeds, but still has plenty of pulling power in reserve (370 Nm of torque from 2,000rpm) for those who need their daily driver to double as a tow car from time to time. It’s capable of a 129mph top speed and a 0-62mph sprint time of 9.6-seconds while CO2 emissions are pegged at 118 g/km with combined fuel economy of 61.4mpg.

The 5008 is an SUV but not an full-blooded off-roader. There are no four-wheel drive models but you do get Peugeot’s clever traction control system that optimises the car’s electronic gizmos to ensure safe progress on snow, mud or sand. There’s also hill-descent control to help you tackle steep slopes at a steady 2mph, while 18-inch alloys are fitted with mud and snow tyres to maximise grip when you do stray off the tarmac.

Inside, the cabin feels classy and well put together. The quality of the fit and finish is evident and the soft-touch materials lend it a near-premium feel. Just as in the 3008, there’s the i-Cockpit complete with its compact steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen in the centre console and a 12.3-inch digital head-up dash directly in front of the driver.

Seven stylish satin finish switches on the centre console allow short-cuts between screen functions, including climate control, satellite navigation and the telephone to save you scrolling through menus and keep your eyes on the road.

Practicality and versatility are also strong suits. The interior features three separate, folding, sliding seats in the second row and two removable, folding seats in the third. Boot capacity is 1,060 litres in 5-seater mode, expanding to a whopping 2,150 litres with the second row folded, and as if that wasn’t enough, the front passenger seat also folds, increasing the load length to 3.2 metres - especially handy if you prefer your surfboard to travel in comfort!

Peugeot is hoping that the new 5008 will appeal across a wide demographic, from drivers in their mid-thirties with active lifestyles to families and even retired couples - and I can see no reason why it shouldn’t. It somehow manages to be even more versatile than its MPV predecessor (despite its sleeker looks) with generous equipment levels and competitive pricing. The 2.0 BlueHDi GT Line starts from £31,425 but extras fitted to our test car - including leather upholstery and a panoramic opening glass roof - pushed the asking price up to well over £35k.

The all-new 5008 is set to launch in the UK in January 2018. The range kicks off from £24,495 on the road.