Peugeot has tried its hand at family SUVs before, but past attempts came in the form of rebadged Mitsubishi products, and the disconnect between the brand’s premium European origins and the aging Japanese products with a lion glued to each end was all too obvious.
This time around Peugeot won;t make the same mistakes again. Its range of new-generation SUVs like this seven-seat 5008 and the smaller 3008 its based on are 100 percent French in their design and development - and that’s good news.
Now Peugeot wants a slice of the fast-growing seven-seat medium SUV market occupied by the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq, Land Rover Discovery Sport, and soon to be joined by the Tiguan AllSpace as Australia’s family segment matures into a battleground of aspirational products.
Vehicle Style: Medium SUV
Price: $42,990 (Allure), $46,990 (GT Line), $52,990 (GT) plus on-road costs
Engine/trans: 121kW/240Nm 1.6-litre 4cyl turbo petrol, 133kW/400Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo diesel
Fuel Economy Claimed: 7.0 l/100km (petrol) 4.8 l/100km (diesel)
Peugeot has fielded a 5008 in Australia previously, but in its last generation the form factor was that of a traditional people mover, great for making the most of interior space and flexibility, but almost impossible to get Australians to buy.
Now that the french have finally come around to the idea of SUVs as urban transport, both the five-seat 3008 and seven-seat 5008 adopt chunky styling and high-riding suspension, though at their core efficient engines and front wheel drive mechanicals remain.
Peugeot has kept the range light locally, bypassing the entry-level Active trim that’s available overseas and opting for a three-step approach incorporating the petrol Allure and GT-Line topped by the diesel GT flagship.
Pricing also toes a family-friendly line, starting from a reasonable $42,990 (plus on-road costs) rising up to $52,990 (plus ORCs) for the well-kitted GT model.
Allure: leather steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, wireless mobile charging, keyless entry and start, self-parking assist, 12.3-inch i-Cockpit digital instrument cluster, 18-inch alloy wheels
GT Line: electric tailgate opening, LED headlights, blind spot detection, lane keeping assistant, driver fatigue monitoring, sports-styled bumpers
GT: Electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory and massage function, heated front seats, Alcantara dash and door trim inserts, 19-inch alloy wheels
Infotainment: 8.0-inch touchscreen, AM/FM/DAB+ radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, satellite navigation
Cargo Volume: 780 litres to second row seats
Peugeot is unafraid to toy with convention, which has led to the development of the brand’s ‘i-Cockpit’ interior design which places the instrument cluster high above a small diameter steering wheel.
Though it’s odd looking at first, the system works surprisingly well, though some drivers might find it hard to adapt to the low-wheel positioning.
Couple the intriguing system with Peugeot’s minimalist design, that groups major controls around a multi-function touchscreen, and the use of high-quality materials and the 5008 stands out as a benchmark for design and execution amongst its competitors.
Not only is the layout innovative, but even given the 5008’s relatively compact dimensions, the interior is generously spacious in its first two rows of seats.
While not a true seven-seater, the 5008 is a 5+2 that is a genuine alternative for families that want the flexibility and freedom to carry an extra pair of occupants occasionally. They will have to be small however, as the room in the third row is tight, even after you slide the moveable second row seats forward.
Walking through the range reveals a strong standard equipment level for the Allure which comes loaded with 18-inch alloy wheels, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, leather-trimmed steering wheel, navigation, digital radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless smartphone charging, surround-view parking camera, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking all standard.
The GT Line adds to that with a hands-free power tailgate, LED headlights, high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance, an on-trend black roof, and a ‘Sports’ front bumper and grille on top of the Allure’s gear.
Finally the range is crowned by the GT which steps up with 19-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara door and dashboard trim inserts, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with massage function, heated front seats, and chrome mirror shells.
ON THE ROAD
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 121kW @ 6000rpm and 240Nm @ 1400rpm or 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 133kW @ 3750rpm and 400Nm @ 2000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic, front wheel drive
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear
Brakes: Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
Steering: Electric power steering
Towing Capacity: 1500kg braked, 750kg unbraked (diesel) or 600kg braked, 600kg unbraked (petrol)
Peuogeot offers two engine choices in Australia, tied to the trim level starting with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine producing 121kW and 240Nm in the Allure and GT-Line variants.
The top-spec GT changes that to a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that makes 133kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Both engines are backed by a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels.
Although the lack of an all-wheel drive option means the 5008 is at its best in urban situations, Peugeot does offer the option of Advanced Grip Control, an all-surface traction control system that has Mud, Snow and Sand settings plus hill descent control to at least make getting off paved roads possible.
By far the 5008 is at its most comfortable on the road however, and like the 3008 (which shares the same underpinnings and powertrains) the 5008 feels poised and well balanced for a tall SUV on the road. Even throwing it at some sweeping bends in rural New South Wales didn’t fluster the 5008.
The ride is impressive too, offering good body control (albeit with some noticeable body lean when cornering sharply) and a compliant ride. You will notice the sharper bumps but the smaller imperfections are filtered out nicely.
Both engines do an admirable job. The diesel obviously feels stronger with its more generous portion of torque, but it also sounds smooth and refined which backs up Peugeot’s push to be seen as a more premium brand in Australia.
The petrol engine may lack the performance of its bigger brother but it still performs admirably - helped out by Peugeot’s efforts to keep weight down.
There’s good pulling power from low down in the rev range which helps it feel strong off the mark and there’s adequate punch at the top end when you put your foot down.
The six-speed automatic is the weakest link in the powertrain mix, but only because it occasionally finds itself hunting for gears for too long, particularly up hills. However, the rest of the time it shifts smoothly and efficiently and is certainly a massive improvement over the robotized manuals and CVT units used on previous Peugeot models.
In terms of fuel economy the GT returns an impressive 4.8-litres per 100km claim, while the Allure and GT-Line use 7.0 l/100km.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
With cars like the new 5008, plus the 3008 and 308 range Peugeot has the best line-up it could hope for in terms of balancing buyer appeal with actual well crafted products that simply ooze Frenchness.
While the brand may have cut its SUV-teeth on inferior products from Mitsubishi, its decision to develop the latest generation of models by itself has paid off, with the 5008 heading off German rivals in terms of style, quality, and appeal.
Although the 5008 is unlikely to sweep Australia’s new car sales charts the way something like the more popular Tiguan AllSpace probably will when it eventually arrives later this year, the 5008 gives Peugeot a fighting chance of making headway into Australia’s seven-seat family car market.
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