Peugeot isn't a name we associate with MPVs but wants that to change with this revised version of their 5008 people carrier. June Neary checks it out
Will It Suit Me?
People carriers are very popular these days. Like a badge of honour for stressed out and overworked parents, they're cars designed to make school runs, shopping trips and family holidays that bit more straightforward when you've a cluster of little ones in tow. Considering the MPV's popularity, it's quite surprising that Peugeot doesn't offer more of them. Indeed, apart from van-based models, this is the only one - the 5008, in recent years revised to try and make a bigger splash in the people carrying marketplace. At over 4.5 meters long, the 5008 isn't particularly compact but it does have seven seats and the rear ones are big enough to be usable by human beings with the traditional array of limbs. If you find MPVs a little dull, Peugeot's effort might be of even more interest because it's been designed to look more svelte than most of its rivals and drive in a fashion that has more in common with a normal car than a Routemaster bus. I like the cut of Peugeot's jib where this MPV is concerned but I've also lost count of the number of people carriers that have claimed to offer sporty handling and thrusting looks but failed to deliver. Reserving judgement, I'll give the 5008 an initial thumbs up and take a closer look.
From the outside, the 5008 appears to have quite a high window line and that adds to its well proportioned looks but inside, there's still plenty of glass area to let the light in. The seats are mounted quite high in the vehicle, with the rows getting progressively higher as you go back through the car. This gives a comfortably laid-back driving position and helps kids sat in the rear maintain a good view out. An even more airy feel can be gained via the full length glass sunroof that was fitted to the test vehicle. In terms of space, the 5008 does very nicely. The front and middle rows are extremely roomy, even for taller adults, and you could even squeeze a couple of grown-ups into the rear rows in an emergency. These back seats are better reserved for smaller children, however. They can be accessed with ease thanks to a clever system where the outer seats in the middle row fold up and slid forward in one movement. Every one of the rear seats folds down separately to create a flat load floor. The total load space ranges from 579-litres with all the seats in use to a vast 2506-litres with them all folded down. Because the seats fold and move independently, there's huge scope to adjust the cabin's layout. Build quality seems generally good on the 5008 and the layout of the controls is easy to fathom. The high centre console splits the front seats to create a cockpit effect around the driver. There's even a head-up display on high spec models to continue the aeronautical theme.
Behind the Wheel
The engine line consists of three powerplants. The entry-level 1.2-litre 130bhp petrol unit has only three cylinders, which doesn't sound much for a big seven-seat people carrier. As it turns out, the 230Nm of torque on offer is enough to punt this Peugeot along quite nicely, 62mph from rest taking 12.3s. Most 5008 buyers though, will want one of the two BlueHDi diesels. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi unit has 120bhp and is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or the 6-speed robotised automatic. The manual model makes 62mph from rest in 13.7s. With the alternative 2.0-litre BlueHDi powerplant, you get 150bhp, enough to improve the rest to 62mph sprint time to 11.2s. The suspension is tuned for comfort but Peugeot claims that it will still deliver an engaging drive in what is a substantial vehicle. The front suspension features an anti-roll bar to maintain stability and the set-up at the back uses a conventional torsion beam. Ease of manoeuvrability is vital in a big family vehicle like the 5008 and Peugeot is offering a series of driver aids to make things easier. Front and rear parking sensors are supplemented by a system that measures roadside parking spaces and gives an indication of whether the 5008 will fit. For something of its size and weight, the car resists body roll well and feels planted on the road. It steers and stops in a way that inspires confidence and only the clunky manual gearbox on our car served as a major disappointment. More importantly, in what is still a people carrier, the 5008 serves up a comfortable ride and excellent refinement, the 1.6-litre THP petrol engine staying as quiet as a sulking teenager unless you're particularly boisterous with the throttle. At 1,837mm wide without its wing mirrors, the 5008 is a large vehicle and can feel like it in traffic. Its short overhangs do help when manoeuvring, however, and so does the high driving position.
Value For Money
The trim levels on the 5008 are known as Active and Allure: all feature the Multiflex interior with seven seats. Prices start at around £22,000 for the PureTech petrol model which squares up pretty well to the opposition. Standard across the range are ESP (Electronic Stability Programme), an automatic electric parking brake with Hill Assist, Energy Saver tyres and air conditioning. The plush 5008 Allure models that most will choose are equipped with 17" alloy wheels, the Aluminium pack (trim for the front grille, front fog lights and chrome detailing), cruise control with speed limiter, a lighting pack with removable torch, a Storage pack (under seat and footwell storage), a colour-coded exterior and front fog lights.
Could I Live With One?
I'll have to recommend the 5008, there are no two ways about it. It mixes most of the practicality you get from today's top seven-seat MPVs with an enjoyable driving experience and sharper looks than we've come to expect in this sector. The interior is well thought out and even the build quality seems a cut above some of Peugeot's recent efforts. All in all, it's an impressive effort from a manufacturer without much of a record in this segment.