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Car reviews - Peugeot - 5008 - 1.6 Active

Our Opinion

We like
Rear seat comfort, cabin storage (aside from a dearth of cupholders), camera embedded in rear-view mirror, flexible seating space, solid value
Room for improvement
Inconsistent steering, cluttered dash, illogical transmission

Peugeot logo17 Sep 2013

By DANIEL GARDNER

Price and equipment

When it comes to equipment, Peugeot has kept the choices straightforward with a high level of standard equipment and a list of only two options.

Included with the entry-level price of $36,990 are many of the toys normally destined for the options list.

Cruise control, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, rain-sensing wipers, three seven-inch video screens with cordless headphones, satellite navigation, 17-inch alloy wheels and a large one-piece full-length sunroof are all included as standard.

Only the addition of leather seats (including heaters in the front) and metallic/pearlescent paint affects the base price, adding $2500 and $800/$1300 respectively.

A self-serve manual gearbox is not available with any variant of the 5008 as a six-speed auto is the only option.

At $36,990, the 5008 sits competitively and comfortably in the middle of its class with the super-value Fiat Freemont ($28,500) on one side and the pricier Kia Grand Carnival ($38,990) on the other.

Interior

The light, airy and spacious passenger compartment was complimented by a noticeable scent of new carpet creating a sense of quality and good first impressions.

While the interior wasn’t exactly luxurious it certainly was well constructed using soft-touch materials, tastefully styled and appeared to be tough enough to withstand the ultimate test – children.

At the helm the driving position offered a comfortable and clear view of both the surroundings and the occupants but the cluttered centre console was annoyingly obstructed by the gear-selector lever.

Reverse camera images are displayed on the rear-view mirror, which is an added safety feature, keeping the drivers head up rather than staring down at a dash-mounted screen.

The folding seven-inch satellite navigation screen displayed directions clearly and voice commands were accurate, but at night the brightness could be intrusive and we couldn’t find a way of provoking a dimmed night-mode.

The second-row seating is where the Peugeot 5008 really starts to make more sense.

With a good selection of equipment including reclining/sliding seats, air conditioning ducts, two seven-inch video screens and sun blinds, the middle row seating is a very comfortable place to be.

With generous leg and head room the three intermediate seats are every bit as comfortable as the front row – perhaps even more so.

Part of this review was written on the folding tables, which stow behind the front seats in a similar fashion to airline seats but they are more likely to be used for a bit of colouring.

The full-length single-pane sun-roof is the largest in the Peugeot range and is best enjoyed from the second-row allowing an almost uninterrupted view of the scenery.

In five-seat configuration the 5008 offers up to 823 litres of boot-space, but if more passenger space is required, two extra seats can be unfolded from the boot floor.

Peugeot claims that the third-row seats are ‘full size’, but while the seats themselves may be dimensionally similar to the second row, the leg and elbow room is less.

For short journeys two adults could occupy the third row but for longer trips the back row is strictly kids-only.

Accessing the third-row is only possible from the passenger-side after tumbling the second-row seat – the driver’s side merely folds in one stage.

Numerous combinations of seating can be selected from the full seven-seat arrangement to just two front seats resulting in a cavernous 2506 litres of load space.

Surprisingly the front passengers have to share just one cupholder, middle row passengers get none while the third row are spoilt with two, but the 5008 is not short on other storage and we counted 13 cubby-holes in the front two seating rows.

Adjusting and moving the seats requires some practice but, once the knack has been learnt, altering the interior for different applications is both fast and simple.

The 5008 interior is a well thought out space with clever little surprises like a boot-light that turns in to a torch, an altimeter in the nav display and a clever place to stow the luggage blind.

Engine and transmission

Under the bonnet of the 5008 lies a powerplant that has proven itself as an efficient and versatile engine in many other guises.

The 1.6-litre turbo is the same four-cylinder unit found in more performance focused vehicles such as the Mini Cooper S, Peugeot RCZ, Citroen’s DS3 Sport and even the BMW 316i.

But in the bulky frame of the 5008, the sprightly four-pot doesn’t really bring much athleticism to the driving experience.

With 115kW and 240Nm this version of the engine is not in quite the same state of tune as some of the sporty models from other manufacturers, but the performance can be fairly described as adequate.

Power delivery is smooth, progressive – with just a little noticeable turbo-lag – and, with peak-torque sitting low down the rev range at 1400rpm, wringing out the little engine isn’t necessary to make decent progress.

Fuel-saving idle-stop is not fitted to the 5008 but the eerily smooth idle created a comparable serenity in the cabin while stationary.

Our testing was under fairly light-load conditions but the relatively small power and - particularly torque - output would most likely fall short if all seven seats were occupied.

The extra 100Nm of the 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine (at $3500 extra) would be a real benefit if heavy loads or lots of passengers are a frequent occurrence.

Unfortunately the zesty engine was let down by a transmission which often refused to get the best out of it.

A good prod of the throttle prompted the transmission to shift down a gear or two but this sent the revs screaming away from the useful torque and shattering any cabin serenity in the process.

To add to the frustration, the transmission then hung on to the lower gears for an agonising length of time before finally shifting back up a gear, by which time any progress made from the kick-down had been undone.

Selecting manual mode only partly alleviates the problem as the overbearing transmission program can step in at any moment and take over again without warning or reason.

Peugeot states the zero to 100kmh time as a rather uninspiring and perhaps unfair 11.1 seconds, but we recorded a more believable time of just less than ten seconds.

Combined fuel consumption is stated at 7.6 litres per 100km but we tested the Peugeot in a more urban environment where it returned a figure of 9.8l/100km.

Ride and handling

The 5008 negotiated a variety or road types in a manner that belied its dimensions.

Zealous cornering did not prove too much for the Pug with less bodyroll than is normally associated with van-like proportions but despite the lively handling, the ride was still very comfortable.

Any positives relating to ride and road-holding however, were all let down by a steering set-up that has much room for improvement.

Around dead-ahead there was an inexplicable weight which suddenly evaporated with any steering commands suddenly transforming the steering feel to excessively light.

The steering feedback could change mid-corner going from heavy to light and then back again giving an impression of numbness with no relation to what was going on under the wheels.

Safety and servicing

The 5008 has all the expected safety features from pre-tensioning seat-belts, plenty of electronic driver assistance and six airbags – two of which extend back to the third-row seating.

Euro NCAP awarded the car the maximum five stars.

Peugeot offers competitive capped-price servicing with three years of 5008 motoring guaranteed to cost you no more than $990 (not including wear and tear items) and a three-year or 100,000 kilometer warranty seals the deal.

Paintwork gets a three-year warranty while the dreaded metal-maggot is kept at bay with a 12-year corrosion warranty.

Verdict

The Peugeot 5008 is a tempting car for the selfless driver.

While the experience in the captain’s seat might not be the most inspiring, the ride in the second row is about as comfortable as you can get in a car of this price.

And, as Peugeot has clearly realised, if the kids are happy then so are the parents. If you’re in the market for a people-mover, have a look at this French outsider.

Rivals

Citroen C4 Grand Picasso ($37,490 plus on-road costs). Effectively the twin of the Peugeot and mechanically the same, but at $1000 less than the Peugeot, it may win a buyer or two. The decision here simply comes down to one of looks and which dealer you would prefer.

Fiat Freemont ($28,500 plus on-road costs). The American-built but Euro-badged Fiat offers just about the cheapest way in to seven-seats but lacks a little of the Peugeot’s refinement. It comes with a manual/diesel combination for those wanting to pick their gears but can’t match the Peugeot’s maximum load-space with 1461 litres.

Honda Odyssey ($37,100 plus on-road costs). The popular Japanese wagon can throw in an option for consideration with its freshly facelifted styling.

Offering sharp looks and Japanese reliability you can join the other 400,000 Odysseys on Australian roads for a recently reduced $37,100 but there is no diesel option.

Kia Grand Carnival ($38,990). Australia’s top-selling people mover comes in as one of the more expensive options but offers pokier engine choices and generous 2380 litres of luggage space with all seats folded.

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