Variant: GT Line
Engine / Transmission: 1.6 turbo – 6 speed automatic transmission
Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 7L/100km combined
Price: From $56493 drive away
In a nutshell:
If you like your cars with a strong, distinct flavour, you’ll love this. It’s a good thing and really grows on you – it’s charms just won’t be apparent on a five minute drive around the block.
I’ve owned a lot of French cars. I really like them. I like how they can never be mistaken as coming from any other place on the planet. This doesn’t mean that they’re always the best cars you can buy, just that they aren’t like other cars. While I have adored the older French cars I’ve owned, some of the later models I have had have lost that distinct flavour. With these later models you often ended up driving what amounted to an unreliable Hyundai.
With this memory, I approached the Peugeot 5008 that was visiting the EFTM Garage with some trepidation. I am so pleased to have found that, for Peugeot at least, the 5008 represents a celebration of all that is great about French cars.
This is a great car. It’s practical, plenty powerful enough, comfy and unmistakably French.
The 10” infotainment screen provides touch screen and voice recognition access to most of the car’s functions. This screen also displays the 360 degree reversing camera, although the quality of camera is at odds with the rest of the car – it’s resolution is so bad that I got out while reversing to polish the screen, but with no improvement. It’s a very strange anomaly in what is otherwise a very classy outfit.
Wireless charging is offered, but not wireless CarPlay, which is a shame.
Safety tech includes autonomous emergency braking, featuring low light pedestrian detection, traffic sign recognition, blind spot detection, front and rear parking sensors, and lane keep assistance. Pleasingly, the operation of the lane keep assistance is superior to that of many other makes and is right up there with the best of the Germans.
Peugeot calls the dashboard display a “digital heads up display” and, although odd at first, it really grows on you. Think of your regular dashboard, but rather than look through the spokes of the steering wheel, you look over the rim of the steering wheel. It’s odd, but it works – I’m not saying it’s better, it’s just different and it is this difference that makes the 5008 a lot of fun.
Older French cars are renowned for their ability to marry a cosseting ride with good handling. The 5008 really does a great job replicating this. The 5008 rides much more comfortably than, say Hyundai’s Sante Fe, but still manages to handle acceptably. This is always going to be a losing battle though – no old French car ever rolled on the 18” rims and 55 series tyres that modern fashion demands. I suspect that this fine balance will be further compromised by the 19” rims fitted as standard to the diesel 5008.
The quality of the cabin also seems like a huge step forward compared to the interiors of Peugeots, Renaults and Citroens of the early 2000s, compared to their contemporaries at the time. The interior of the 5008 is right up there with cars costing much more than the ask for the Peugeot. All of the touch points are classy and superior to most of the opposition at this price point. The head-up display dashboard can even be configured so that the speedometer and tachometer are displayed like a drum, just like the Citroen CX of the 1970s and 80s.
All three middle row seats slide and recline independently. A ‘walk through’ option, like Hyundai’s Palisade, would have been nice. The picnic tables for back seat passengers are a great addition though.
The 5008 is a great looking seven seater, in the mold of Kia’s Carnival, it is less SUV and more sporty people mover. It doesn’t even pretend to be an ‘off-roader’ and it is so much better because of it.
Peugeot have taken steps to address some of the negative French car stereotypes. Servicing, for example, is now covered under Peugeot’s ‘Assured Service Price Promise’ – removing sticker shock at service time. The five year, unlimited kay warranty is nice too.
Not So Impressive:
There is no substitute for power, and in this regard, the 5008 falls a little short. You certainly won’t notice a lack of power in traffic or in the ‘burbs, but fast cross country travel will be hindered by a lack of overtaking punch. While this may affect a few buyers, most of the roads most of us travel when visiting the rellies interstate are multi-lane freeways now – in this environment the 5008 is perfectly adequate.
Ultimately, you really have to decide if you want to go to the effort required to ‘learn’ this car and its idiosyncrasies. It’s an effort. Things just aren’t the same as they are in every other car. The head-up display dashboard, for example, takes getting used to. For me, I really didn’t expect to like this car as much as I do. I expected another bland interpretation of what Peugeot thinks the market demands. Instead, they have stuck to their guns and delivered something unique, something that deserves your attention and something that is definitely French.
WHEN ON A TEST DRIVE:
Peugeot knows that a quick sit in the car in the dealer’s showroom isn’t going to seal the deal. You can book a test drive online and Peugeot will bring a 5008 to you. If you’re in the market for a seven seat family hauler and are hankering for something a bit different, you really need to take them up on the offer. You’ll be pleased you did.