Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
You might be suspicious that the entry-level 129bhp 1.2-litre engine (badged Puretech 130) is too small to adequately power a seven-seat SUV, but relax: it’s eager to rev and packs plenty of punch for most people's performance needs.
It’s available with the choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the more powerful 179bhp 1.6-litre petrol (Puretech 180) comes as an auto only. The 1.6, unsurprisingly, offers much more oomph to get you from 0-62mph in just 8.3sec. The additional cost to buy it and keep it fuelled is what tips us into recommending the 1.2 as our pick of the range, though.
A couple of diesels are also available. The 129bhp 1.5 (BlueHDi 130) is the best bet, because, while it isn't flat-out fast, it's strong enough in the mid-range and feels quicker than its 0-62mph time of around 11 seconds would suggest. Like the Puretech 130 petrol, it's available with a choice of manual or automatic gearbox, while the 175bhp diesel – badged 2.0 BlueHDi 180 – is automatic only. This engine makes the 5008 much more brisk and better at dealing with heavy loads on hilly routes, but again, if you bear in mind costs, for most folks the BlueHDi 130 makes more sense.
Suspension and ride comfort
The relatively softly sprung 5008 proves itself to be one of the most comfortable cars in the class, especially if you stick to the smaller 18in alloy wheels. It has more 'give' over all but the roughest urban roads than the ever-jiggly Nissan X-Trail, only thudding when you encounter a particularly gargantuan pothole.
We mentioned sticking to smaller wheels because 19in wheels can induce a harder edge to the ride. If you're thinking of one of the higher-spec trims – which come with 19in wheels as standard – it's worth trying before buying.
The tiny steering wheel you can see in the pictures comes courtesy of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design (you'll find more about this in the driving position section). It gives the 5008 accurate but fairly quick steering that needs a bit of getting used to when placing the car in corners. When you're parking and want to add lots of lock quickly, that extra steering speed becomes a boon.
Ultimately, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace steers a little more fluently and, like the Skoda Kodiaq and Seat Tarraco, offers better body control and grip than the 5008. But buyers of large SUVs tend not to be especially concerned about ultimate handling, and if that's you then fear not: the 5008 will prove easy to drive, capable and surefooted.
One thing that's worth noting if you live deep in the countryside or are likely to need to go off road is that there's no four-wheel-drive option. Instead, you can add something called Grip Control; this is an electronic traction control system that includes hill descent control and works in conjunction with special mud and snow tyres. It lends a hand in slippery conditions but won't match the extra traction of four-wheel-drive rivals, such as the Kodiaq and X-Trail, if the going really gets tough.
Noise and vibration
At motorway speeds, the 5008 is enjoyably quiet. It produces less wind noise than the Kodiaq and less road roar than the X-Trail. Only when you hit a really worn, coarse section of asphalt do the tyres emit a noticeable drone; the 19in wheels are worse than the 18s for this.
The 1.2 Puretech 130 is very smooth and thrums away mildly in the background, while the 1.6 Puretech 180 is noisier but not rough. The 1.5 BlueHDi diesel is also perfectly acceptable, producing just a bit of grumble when cold and the odd vibration through the controls, while the 2.0 diesel is, relatively speaking, rather serene. In fact, it’s one of the quietest diesels in the class, falling behind only the much pricier Audi Q5.
On all versions, the brakes are a little grabby in stop-start traffic and the springy clutch and vague gearlever action of the manuals is less than is ideal. The automatic gearbox is pretty good, changing smoothly most of the time, but it can be a little abrupt at parking speeds. This is most apparent with the 1.5 BlueHDi engine. None of these weaknesses make the 5008's drivetrains unpleasant to interact with – just not quite as classy as those of the Kodiaq.