Peugeot’s unloved people-mover becomes desirable family SUV
The French aren't renowned for embracing change, explaining why they still use cork stoppers in their wine and consider smoking part of a healthy diet.
Peugeot has bucked the trend with its new 5008 seven-seater, turning an unloved people- mover into a sexy SUV with broad appeal.
It is front-wheel drive - there's no suggestion of ever going off-road - and features clever packaging inside to make it a practical family favourite.
JULES: Well, this looks very space age, I don't think I've seen a Peugeot like this before.
IAIN: You won't have seen many of the old 5008s as Peugeot were only shifting a woeful 100 or so a year. This one's all new though. It has the SUV styling people want, space for seven inside and is rammed with standard equipment.
JULES: Making it an overpriced Euro nobody will buy then?
IAIN: Au contraire. It's not cheap at $42,990 before on-roads but believe it or not this one's the entry-level Allure and it's no exaggeration to say the basic specification makes that price look like a bargain.
JULES: Lots out there for that money, though. What are my alternatives?
IAIN: If you're after seven seats, think Nissan X-Trail, Honda CR-V or a Skoda Kodiaq if you're seeking a bit of off-road shenanigans. But the Pug may sway you with its fancy cabin.
JULES: It's not half bad outside. I love the front-end styling but the rear looks squashed.
IAIN: I'd say elegant actually. And less vanilla than most SUVs.
THE LIVING SPACE
JULES: I'm surprised. It feels top grade in here, not like the brittle Peugeots of our youth.
IAIN: Agreed. This 5008 and its little brother 3008 have been showered with praise for their plush insides.
JULES: It's soft touch everywhere, the wraparound door inserts are very stylish and the gear changer is lovely in the hand.
IAIN: What about that tiny hot hatch steering wheel? Flat bottom and top to give easy view of the instruments, which are all digital by the way.
JULES: Oh, like an Audi. This is impressive for entry level.
IAIN: You've also got a hands-free tailgate, 360-degree camera, parking sensors, Apple CarPlay, dual-zone aircon, 3D navigation and wireless phone charging. Seriously, why pay more for the higher grades? The optional glass roof on ours would tempt though.
JULES: For all its cleverness, the one thing it needs is a simple knob to adjust the aircon temperature and fan speed. It's infuriatingly slow to make the adjustments via the touchscreen.
IAIN: Those nice metal piano keys give you a fast track to climate control. But yes, an old-school button would work better.
JULES: Not really exciting to drive, is it?
IAIN: There are Porsche Cayenne Turbos for that, and wealthier husbands.
JULES: It would be nice if it had a bit more sparkle about it.
IAIN: There's a diesel version with bags more torque but I reckon this engine is just right for the car: refined and economical with no need for fireworks.
JULES: The boot's a decent size with seats six and seven folded but what's with the huge gap behind the second row of seats? The shopping fell right into there.
IAIN: You can completely remove the third row of seats for more space but, yes, it needs some sort of partition at the back of the boot to stop bags falling down there.
JULES: I like how quiet and easy to drive it is on longer journeys but it feels almost too softly sprung. The kids were feeling a bit sick in the end.
IAIN: It felt pretty composed in the corners when I flung it around a bit but the steering lacks much feel. I liked the steering wheel paddle-shifters and the Sport button added a bit more throttle response. Still, it works much better as a cruiser.
JULES: I liked how we could get the kids' two car seats in the second row and still have space for a grandparent beside them. I wouldn't put an adult in the third row of seats.
IAIN: I squeezed into one of the back seats. You can slide the middle row of seats forward for a little more legroom. Headroom is excellent.
JULES: The kids' two bikes went in the boot easily too. And I never get tired of kicking under the bumper to get the tailgate open.
IAIN: On the family front, there's admirable safety here too, including lane departure warning and really good radar cruise control.
JULES: The kids loved the seat-back tables by the way. I didn't enjoy how they kept slamming them into the back of my seat.
IAIN: There's no lack of choice of seven-seat SUVs these days but I'd be really tempted by this 5008 because it looks so different, feels a cut above quality-wise inside and has all the key kit, justifying its price.
JULES: I think there are better looking SUVs out there but the cabin and included kit are superb. Great family car.
PEUGEOT 5008 ALLURE
PRICE From $42,990 (expensive but fully loaded)
WARRANTY/ SERVICING 5 years/unlimited km, $1722 for 3 years (great warranty, expensive servicing)
ENGINE 1.6-litre 4-cyl turbo, 121kW/240Nm (adequate)
SAFETY Untested, 8 airbags, autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, lane departure warning (very good)
THIRST 7.0L/100km (achievable)
SPARE Space-saver (expected)