After years of crushing mediocrity, Peugeot has launched a car that’s not entirely rubbish, says Sam Philip. Click through the gallery to read the full story.
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Driven: Peugeot 5008
OK, so there’s arriving fashionably late to a party, and then there’s rocking up at 4am to discover that all the booze has gone and Janine from HR has started a seance. Yes, a mere decade or so after the Renault Scenic, Citroen Picasso and the rest cottoned on to the idea, Peugeot has launched a small MPV.
But, to stretch an already ropy metaphor to breaking point, the 5008 has arrived brandishing a massive bottle of Vermouth and a bag of ice. In other words, it’s a good ‘un. Based on the underpinnings of the 308 - the car that also spawned the weird-but-rather-good 3008 crossover - the 5008 is further evidence that Peugeot is finally, finally building decent cars.
And not-terrifyingly-ugly cars either: for the 5008, Peugeot has ditched its bulbous family face in favour of a smoother front end that should result in at least 30 per cent fewer childhood nightmares. The 5008 looks tidy, if a little anonymous: hardly unusual in the sector, though the Citroen C4 Picasso packs a bit more of a visual punch.
The big punches come in the practicality. All five of the rear seats fold flat, creating a loadspace large enough for a couple of small cows, say, or an entire midget orchestra. Cubbyholes and storage bins abound, and there’s even the option of a pair of excellent video screens in the back of the front seat headrests (£510). The giant glass roof - standard on top-spec versions - is fantastic, giving the rear passengers a panoramic view of the pigeon that’s about to crap directly onto the glass, but it cuts into rear-seat headroom: if you’re planning on putting People With Large Heads back there, uncheck that option box.
You’ve the choice of five engines - two Mini-derived 1.6-litre turbo petrols putting out 120bhp and 150bhp - and three diesels. We’re in the top-spec 150bhp 2.0-litre diesel, and it’s perfectly fit to family task, torquey and smooth and quick enough even when loaded to the brim with said midget orchestra.
How does it drive? Let’s go with… anonymously. In a good way. It’s generally thoroughly composed and understeery: the kids won’t vomit all over the nice upholstery on a bumpy lane, but you won’t punt it down a B-road like, say, the Ford S-Max.
Ooh, I almost forgot: it has a head-up display! Like on a jet fighter or summat, only not quite as cool. But hey, in the excitement vacuum that is the world of small MPVs, you’ve gotta take what you can get. The 5008 does all the boring stuff with a decent dollop of niceness on top. Party successfully gatecrashed.
We say: a late arrival to the small MPV party, but one of the best. Comfortable and passable to drive. Is Peugeot on the up?