Peugeot looks to bring some dynamic flair to the Compact MPV market with its 5008, helped by an efficient turbocharged PureTech petrol engine. Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
Peugeot's 5008 MPV is one of the better seven seat vehicles to drive with the lively 1.2 PureTech petrol engine installed, but it still fills the family car role with aplomb thanks to a comfortable ride and a flexible seating system.
Some people are predisposed towards people carriers and others have people carriers thrust upon them. No matter how much a person might yearn for a nimble roadster or a powerful sports saloon, as the family expands and the domestic commitments mount, the motoring future inevitably starts to look increasingly MPV-shaped. Peugeot claims to have the car that can salve this desire for sportiness in motorists who should be more concerned with seven seats and storage solutions. It's called the 5008 and with a feisty 1.2-litre PureTech turbocharged petrol engine installed, it might be on to something. Playing the dynamic card gives Peugeot another way into this well developed market that avoids treading on the toes of its PSA Group partner Citroen. The 1.2-litre PureTech engine only adds weight to its claims of being an MPV with a fun side.
In no way could the 5008 be called sporty, but it is surprisingly responsive on a twisty road - and there aren't too many seven seat vehicles you can say that about. 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 1.2-litre PureTech 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. With a 0-62mph time of 12.3s, the 130bhp powerplant is just as responsive as the alternative BlueHDi 120 diesel option on paper and shares that unit's muscular characteristics on the road without quite matching its strength. The turbocharger helps the PureTech 5008 model produce its 230Nm maximum torque from just 1,400rpm which gives the Peugeot a sprightly feel off the line and when accelerating out of bends.
Design and Build
The 5008 looks wide and low to the road, underlining its sporting bent. The lines are clean, simple and cohesive in a manner that too many Peugeot products of the last few years have failed to replicate. Inside, Peugeot has been clever in creating a car that elevates its driver for a better view but retains the steeply-angled steering wheel and laid-back seating position that you'd get in a conventional hatch. 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 but the kids won't thank you for taking this to its logical conclusion by donning a leather flying helmet, goggles and a wire-supported scarf for the school run. While the front seat occupants are living out their fighter pilot fantasies, the rear of the 5008 should be well capable of accommodating up to five embarrassed offspring. The 5008 sensibly borrows its rear seating system from the Citroen C4 Picasso and it's one of the most versatile on the market. All five rear seats (three in the second row and two in the rear) are individual affairs which fold down flat relatively easily. Legroom is tight for adults in the rearmost berths and luggage space behind them is very limited but with just the second row in use, the 5008 can carry five people plus 579 litres of luggage below its parcel shelf. The middle seats can slide back and forth individually to increase luggage or leg room as required. It's one of the best seating systems on the market.
Market and Model
Diesel tends to be the most popular engine choice with compact MPVs but the extra sporting flavour of the 5008 might attract the kind of buyers to whom a zesty turbocharged petrol engine will appeal. The 1.2 PureTech 130 unit only comes in base 'Active' trim, but that does mean you get a elatively affordable £22,000 asking price. The cheapest diesel is around £1,100 more. All 5008 models have ESP stability control and six airbags, including a curtain airbag that extends to all three rows of seating. Optional are items such as the head-up display and the panoramic glass sunroof. There's also climate control and rear parking sensors. Given its high equipment levels, the 5008 pricing looks very reasonable. The rench brand would like to see the 5008 muscling in alongside the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso, Renault Grand Scenic, Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and Volkswagen Touran at the top end of the compact MPV market. Tackling these established names won't be easy but Peugeot has assembled a package that's well capable of denting some reputations.
Cost of Ownership
This is the least economical 5008 engine. Don't let that put you off though because 53.3mpg combined cycle economy and 122g/km CO2 emissions aren't half bad for a 130bhp engine in a seven-seat MPV. The problem is that for £1,100 more, customers can secure a 65mpg diesel engine with 109g/km emissions. The diesel would be the sensible choice but if you cover lower mileages and buy into the 5008's sporty image, the PureTech petrol vaiant will still have strong appeal.
Can a compact MPV really be sporty? Many have claimed to combine practicality and dynamism but few have succeeded and fewer still have done so with a full quota of seven seats. In the end, much depends on your expectations but there's no doubt that the Peugeot 5008 is a more enjoyable car to drive than we've come to expect in this sector of the market. It's also practical, well-built and stylish enough to compete with the leading compact MPV lights. What's not to like? The 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine helps the 5008 deliver on its dynamic image. It's a fine unit with unusually strong low-end torque and a smooth power delivery. The running costs are higher than the diesel alternatives but this engine has the upper hand on performance and price.