Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
You might be suspicious that Peugeot 5008's the entry-level 129bhp 1.2-litre engine (badged Puretech 130) is too small to power a seven-seat SUV adequately. Well, you can relax; it’s eager to rev and packs enough punch for most people's performance needs. It takes 9.9sec to get from 0-62mph and with plentiful low-down shove it feels far stronger on the road than those numbers suggest. With that in mind, it’s our pick of the range.
You can have a Puretech 130 with 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 and in the higher trim levels. Unsurprisingly, it's a fair bit brisker, managing 0-62mph in 8.3sec, which is similar to the pace on offer in a Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi.
A couple of diesels are also available. The 129bhp 1.5 (BlueHDi 130) is the better because, while it isn't flat-out fast (0-62mph takes 11.1sec), it's solid in the mid-range and hauls you along effortlessly. It’s also available with a choice of manual or automatic gearbox, while the 175bhp diesel – badged 2.0 BlueHDi 180 – is automatic only. That gets you from 0-62mph in 9.2sec, but bearing in mind the price difference only makes sense if you regularly have a full car or tow something heavy. It’s worth pointing out that you can get versions of the Skoda Kodiaq and Seat Tarraco that are stronger still.
Suspension and ride comfort
The relatively softly sprung but still well-controlled ride is up there with the Sorento, making the 5008 one of the more comfortable cars in the class. If you stick to 17 or 18in alloy wheels it has more 'give' overall but the roughest urban roads than the ever-jiggly Nissan X-Trail, only thumping if you encounter a particularly gargantuan pothole.
It's also far calmer at motorway speeds than the stiffly sprung Tarraco and even has the edge over the generally comfy Kodiaq. If you’re after a very restful long-distance machine, only the Citroën C5 Aircross betters it for high-speed waft, unless you start looking at more expensive premium models, such as the Audi Q5 with air suspension.
We mentioned sticking to smaller wheels because the bigger 19in wheels or the all-weather tyres that come with the Grip Control package introduce a harder edge to the ride. If you're thinking of one of the higher-spec trims, which come with 19in wheels as standard, or optioning the Grip Control, it's well 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 on this in the driving position section). It gives the 5008 accurate but fairly quick steering, which takes a bit of getting used to when placing the car in corners, but it's a real boon when you're parking and want to add lots of lock quickly.
Ultimately, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace steers a little more fluently and, like the Tarraco and Kodiaq, 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 is 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 if the going really gets tough. Four-wheel drive is available on many rivals, including the Sorento, X-Trail and Kodiaq.
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 Sorento. Only when you hit a really worn, coarse section of asphalt do the tyres emit a noticeable drone; the 19in wheels are worse for this than the smaller wheel options.
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 slightly vague gearlever action of the manuals is less than is ideal. The Kodiaq and Tarraco are much better in this respect. The automatic gearbox is pretty good, changing smoothly most of the time, although 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 unpleasant to interact with – just not quite as well-mannered as those of the Kodiaq.
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