Seating seven has always been one of the least glamorous segments when it comes to cars. Large vehicles for large families typically means something boxy and utilitarian, not stylish or desirable. They are vehicles of function, and that’s the way it has been since the dawn of time. However, in the instagram-centric world we live int today, who says people movers have to be unappealing? A few years ago Peugeot broke the mould by transforming its rather dumpy 5008 people carrier into a fashionable SUV.
The 5008 SUV went down as something of a hit for the French marque, and now there are a fair few competitors keenly using the same formula of turning their pumpkins into attractive carriages. A series of updates to the 5008 aims to keep things fresh and introduce some new tech, but is it enough to keep this large SUV at the front of the pack?
While looks are subjective, it’s fair to say that the Peugeot 5008 SUV is one of the most handsome seven-seaters on sale today. Sure, cars like the Skoda Kodiaq are good looking in their own grown-up way, but the Peugeot has some real design flair. All trims come across as premium and chic with their blunt noses, prominent shoulders and intricate details. A combination of chrome and contrasting surfaces affords more character than many of its rivals host. If you actually look at the rear of the 5008 it is rather boxy, as it needs to be, but the Black Diamond two-tone roof does a brilliant job of diverting onlookers eyes. It’s a big cars, but it does well to fill its canvas with pleasing design.
This updated 5008 features a series of alterations, primarily focusing on the car’s front. Gone is the big chromed grille of before, and in its place something altogether more fascinating. A curious collection of chromed dashes create the echo of a grille without actually being framed, but these details then intricately blend with the body colour. It’s a similar trait to that of the Peugeot 2008, but on a bigger scale bookended by some rakish LED lights, it’s very striking.
Quirky grille aside, new daytime running lights sit like fangs hanging from the headlights, fresh alloy wheel designs have been added and the ‘cat claw’ lighting signatures at the rear have been made even more distinctive. This example is a top of the tree GT Premium model, and so boasts 19-inch alloys as standard.
From its rakish windscreen to the characteristic rear quarters, there’s no denying the Peugeot made the right choice when it comes to the 5008’s metamorphosis.
Just like its little brother, the Peugeot 3008, the 5008’s cabin is a standout feature of this SUV. It’s a wonderfully avant-garde space that’s full of interesting design and good quality materials. A tiered dashboard with embedded ambient lighting makes for a more stimulating environment than many rivals. Tasteful levels of chrome lines consoles, but this top-spec GT Premium car also gets some classy wood finishes. A large centre console divides the passenger and driver, something that features an enormous storage space. This raised section adds to a cocooned feeling and only amplifies the sculpted nature of the interior.
The driver takes that much desired high driving position with Peugeot’s traditionally small steering wheel set beneath a digital instrument cluster. People of the exceedingly tall variety have remarked that the wheel can sometimes obscure the display, but the vast majority of drivers won’t have an issue. All occupants of the GT Premium trim enjoy lovely quilted leather seats, with the front two being heated. However, only the driver gets the luxury of a massage function.
The second row provides plentiful space, even for three adults. Leg room is good and a nice flat floor means that even the middle passenger has somewhere for their feet. Each of these posts is individually adjustable, being able to slide and recline. The large windows and the full length glass panoramic sunroof of this car only served to exaggerate the sense of space.
A third deployable row consists of two seats that are ideal for children. You could squeeze a pair of adults back there, but that’s only really feasible for short trips. The seats easily lift from the boot floor and can be both erected and stowed with just one hand.
Boot space with the rearmost seats in place is just 166 litres, but enough for a few bags. Switch to five-seater mode and cargo volume dramatically jumps to 952 litres, with a flat floor and large boot opening making loading bulky items easy. Want even more load lugging capacity? Fold down all of the rear seats and 2,150 litres is yours. A neat touch is the ability to fold the front passenger seat flat should you need to carry anything particularly long.
All Peugeot 5008s come well equipped from the get go. Things like Peugeot’s Digital Cockpit with its graphically pleasing customisable display, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, dual zone air conditioning, revising camera and parking sensors are all standard. It’s a little pricier than some of the competition at a base level, but once you factor in all this kit, the value proposition isn’t bad.
This fully-loaded GT Premium car isn’t likely the specification for families with lots of young children or multiple dogs, especially at £41k, but it does show this car off with many bells and whistles attached. It gets all of the equipment of lower grades such as a 10-inch touchscreen, rear tray tables, window blinds, adaptive cruise control, keyless ignition and so on. Specific two this car is a 360 degree parking camera, premium audio system, an electric tailgate, heated massaging seats and the aforementioned 19-inch alloys.
The infotainment system runs Peugeot’s latest software, something that proves to be responsive enough, however, its heavy use of text over symbols makes it more difficult to operate on the move. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are easily accessible with your smartphone plugged in.
As lavishly equipped as a GT Premium car is, we’d say that the Allure trim level is about right for busy family life – it’s also £10k less costly.
Our ‘king of the hill’ GT premium car is also equipped with the most potent engine option in the form of a turbocharge 2.0-litre diesel. Producing 175bhp and 400Nm of torque allows for effortless motion regardless of the car’s load. Less punchy engine options might be better when it comes to tax, but the abundance of low-end torque from this motor never leaves you feeling wanting. It’s likely the best option should you tow on the regular.
The diesel engine retains many of the traditional diesel shortcomings, like being a bit grumbly when cold, but it’s a lovely smooth unit once up and running. A small amount of turbo lag is followed by strong responses that almost make you forget the size of car you’re piloting. It’s a good engine that also returns pleasing real world economy. Peugeot claims between 44 and 54mpg, and in mixed running we achieved a solid 50mpg.
This engine can only be had with Peugeot’s EAT8 automatic gearbox. Left to its own devices this eight-speed auto is pleasantly smooth and quite capable of getting on with subtly swapping cogs. That said, take manual control via the wheel mounted paddles and it’s easy to catch it napping.
Despite the Peugeot 5008 SUV’s chunky looks, you can’t have this car with all-wheel drive. All 5008s power their front wheels exclusively, but in the real world that’s not really an issue. Sure, the added traction might come in handy once every so often, but in the UK these cars will primarily live in the urban jungle, hopping from school pickup to children’s birthday party. There’s a nice grippy reassuring feeling from the chassis as is, and so all-wheel drive would bring minor benefits generally, butthe drawback of increased fuel consumption.
Naturally, this big SUV isn’t the most enthralling steer, but Peugeot small steering wheel does at leas add a sense of agility. The suspension also strikes a good balance between comfort and resistance to roll through tightening bends. From behind the wheel you feel quite isolated from what’s going on beneath you, which is good from a relaxation perspective, but the lack of feel through the wheel kills any driver interaction. The suppleness of the ride is also quite specification dependant as these larger 19-inch alloys have a habit of crashing into potholes, but go for a smaller option and the 5008 does a respectable job on our broken British Tarmac.
The Peugeot 5008 is a very accomplished seven-seater that offers plenty of practicality, flexibility and equipment. Yes, the 5008 possesses good looks, but it hasn’t lost its focus in favour of vanity. Its newfound style is simply the icing on the cake for what will be an ideal family wagon.
The whole engine range, petrol and diesel, are commendable choices for the 5008, but if you’re packed to the rafters on a regular basis and clock the motorway miles, one of the diesels is a better bet. This 175bhp option might be overkill for most situations, but it is a lovely cruiser to cover distance in.
As mentioned, this car in GT Premium with the biggest diesel engine is £40,905 which is a fair chunk of change. A more sensible specification – with a perhaps more realistic price tag – will serve the masses better, but this top trim does at least feel plush throughout.
The best seven seat SUV all things considered? We think so.
Model tested: Peugeot 5008 GT Premium 2.0 BlueHDi 180
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Power / Torque: 175bhp / 400Nm
0-62mph: 9.1 seconds
Top speed: 131mph
Boot space: 166 / 952 / 2,150-litres