I’ve never owned or even driven a Peugeot. I’ve never had a friend with one, nor have I ever been randomly provided one via the multiples of holiday rentals I’ve accumulated over the years, and I don’t know why really, but it’s just never happened. The Peugeot x Jamie stars have never aligned, until now.
When Peugeot asked if I’d like to try their latest 5008 SUV for a week, I jumped at the chance. Now, anyone who’s offered a shiny new car for a week is usually going to say yes; it’s an opportunity to upgrade on the usual kid-stained family motor even if it’s short-lived. For me though, rather than simply enjoying a week with the waft of ‘new car’ tickling my nostrils, I actually wanted to know, what is a new Peugeot really like?
In a word, impressive.
Whilst driving the car over the last few days, I’ve been listing the pros and cons in my head, but I’m honestly struggling for cons. Ok, hybrid options and a panoramic sunroof would have been great, but honestly, that’s about it. Now with that onslaught of negativity out of the way, let me run through some of the positives:
THE SPACE – As an animal lover, I’d never condone swinging a cat, but there’s room to swing a bloody lion in the 5008. We own a Volvo XC90 which is renown for its size – big inside and out, but the 5008 has managed to create the feel of the inside of a large 4x4 whilst retaining its SUV dimensions externally – how? Just how? The boot is huge and includes two fold-away seats that can quickly turn the car from a 5-seater into a 7.
THE DRIVE – Now, as a dad of two and only little way off my 40th birthday, my boy racer days are long gone, so cars that go from 0-60 faster than the Lewis Hamilton’s F1 car haven’t been of interest for a while now, but the 5008’s sports mode plus its compact steering wheel did provide an opportunity to pretend I was Mr Hamilton (minus the bling of course) for a brief moment – the car is surprisingly quick. It’s also very smooth, unlike its driver of the last week. My daughter and I drove down to a family cycling event (our bikes fitted easily into the back with the seats flat) and it was a pleasant drive down the M3. I say ‘drive’, but ‘glide’ might be a better adjective here.
GADGETS & GIZMOS – The Peugeot i-Cockpit is hugely impressive. The driver’s digital display offers a multiple of modern, traditional or personalised views and the main 8-inch capacitive touchscreen is intuitive and full of options – that said, like most people, I just connected my phone and used the Apple CarPlay feature - much to my kids’ annoyance (“no you can’t watch Netflix on my phone, play I-Spy like I had to back in the day!”). Rear parking cameras and the wireless phone charger were particularly useful, plus the driver warning displays (such as ‘vehicle close’ and ‘brake’) were subtle but vital safety additions.
NICE TOUCHES – This is clearly a car designed with family in mind. The rear seats offer enough space to fit three children’s car seats next to each other (I hope my wife doesn’t get any ideas, two is plenty), but the biggest god send, especially on long journeys is the fold-down tables. I know, I know, not exactly going to win any prizes on Tomorrow’s World, but you wouldn’t believe how significant a small table can be to kids – the perfect platform to eat from, to play from or as my daughter has been for the last week, do her art from. Other features include plenty of storage, retracting window blinds in the rear and auto-folding side mirrors. And oh yeah, those side-mirrors, they neatly project the Peugeot logo onto the ground when the car unlocks – touches like this I’d usually associate with high-end cars, so it’s nice to see Peugeot not settling for mid-range design limitations.
SUMMING UP - In the last year, I’ve driven 4 new cars – two top of the range 4x4s and two mid-range SUVs, including this 5008. This is my very honest opinion; I’d be delighted to drive the 5008 again, even up against the top 4x4s, and at around a third of the price, maybe next time I won’t leave it quite so long to drive a Peugeot.