Final report: Seven-seat SUV saddles up for rural break, and is more at home than in town
It’s funny how car requirements can change as your family grows. Initially, it’s all about extra seats, more space and versatility. Yet over the past six months with our Peugeot 5008 seven-seater, we’ve needed its extra two seats only a couple of times – although we’ve certainly made use of the vast load area.
My children are older now and do different things. They often require lifts, but it’s usually one at a time rather than all together with their friends. Even going on a recent family holiday to Devon didn’t fill up the car, unlike in the past. My eldest, George, stayed at home due to work commitments, leaving just three of us to drive west with a half-empty boot and many seats to spare.
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London to the West Country on a Friday afternoon was always going to take hours, but this journey could have been epic. Thankfully, the Peugeot’s clever sat-nav flashed up alternative route options to bypass traffic hotspots, saving valuable time. The display both on the main touchscreen and between the dials made following directions very simple, even when skipping down the most remote of single-lane back roads to miss out the nightmare of driving past Stonehenge. However, the journey still took six long hours – luckily the 5008 is exceptionally comfortable to travel in for any distance.
I’m over six feet tall, and for me the driver’s seat can feel a little high even at its lowest point. I suppose that’s what many buyers are looking for in an SUV, though, and it’s not uncomfortable. In fact, the heated leather driver’s seat is very supportive.
As I said, all the mapping is simple to navigate from, using the touchscreen or the display above the steering wheel in Peugeot’s stylish i-Cockpit layout.
Yet I’ve had some issues with excessive sub-menus across the touchscreen set-up. The half-hidden ambient lighting and multi-scented air freshener controls are all very well, but turning off the irritating speed camera warning beeps was far more complex than expected. Still, having driven some of the 5008’s class rivals, I’d rather have more to contend with than less – and the Peugeot certainly comes with plenty of kit.
With George missing from this trip, my younger son Harry had even more space in the back than usual to spread out in. He was comfortable enough, lounging about with plenty of legroom.
He’s tall, though (it runs in the family), and when either of the boys do sit up properly, they find the 5008’s headroom compromised by the high floor and the bulk of the panoramic sunroof. In fact, the lads would have more headroom in the third row of seats than the second – but, as with any seven-seater, legroom would then become an issue.
Along with many teenagers, Harry likes the dark and listening to music, so the 5008’s rear blinds and panoramic roof cover were deployed permanently during our trip. This meant he could shun the light while plugging in and recharging his phone.
Driving across Dartmoor’s beautiful if challenging roads helped me connect with the Peugeot, and I enjoyed it much more than I do in the city. Clearly the stunning landscape helped, but the car simply didn’t feel as big. The alerts and proximity warnings were silent on the open road.
The 5008 tackled the cattle grids and potholes as smoothly as the speed bumps and broken tarmac of the city, yet the handling was more enjoyable on the twisty lanes even at 40mph. I suppose that’s 30mph faster than I usually drive…
I quite like the 5008, but other than transporting big stuff I won’t miss it too much now it’s leaving us. The limited rear headroom bugs me, simply because the car is so big. Despite having parking sensors it’s hard to park on a street or in car parks, and it’s too big for my life in the city. I prefer smaller cars, but I’m still glad I had the chance to try this bus-like SUV to see whether it would fit my lifestyle.
Third report: Peugeot 5008
Spacious Peugeot 5008 SUV swallows up music gear with ease. Is it on song elsewhere too?
When one of your teenage sons has ambitions to be a musician, you can never go too long before a lift laden with heavy equipment is required.
My son George can drive, but the cost of insurance for an 18-year-old in London is prohibitive (add musician as your profession and it’s astronomical). However, with my help, we’ve the perfect solution to his travel needs in the form of the hugely practical 5008 we’re running.
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Boot space in the large Peugeot SUV comes in at a whopping 2,150 litres with all the rear seats lowered; more than enough to swallow George’s guitars, keyboards and flight cases. Loading the car is simple enough, with a power tailgate and no boot lip to get in the way.
Dropping the rear seats from the boot could be easier, though. I’ve used lever systems at the sides of load areas in other cars which were great, but in the 5008 you need to reach right into the car to tug on a red tag to lower individual seats flat. Still, we do like the magnetic flaps that drop drown from the seats to make a perfectly flat space, preventing kit from falling between the seats.
Once inside the car, George likes the audio system and syncs his phone, usually via Bluetooth, but sometimes through Apple CarPlay. He tests the audio mixes of music that he has recorded or produced, too. There’s plenty of tech in our 5008 and I’m a fan of much of it, although things can be a little over-complicated in places.
The infotainment system is excellent. The eight-inch touchscreen is reasonably simple to operate and the nav directions are good. I also really love the map and directions on the 12.3-inch i-Cockpit display behind the wheel. Motorway junctions, directions and hazards (or speed cameras) are all clearly displayed here, which is really useful.
However, I do have some gripes. I recently dipped into the red on the fuel gauge while out with the family. The warning light flashed up with such vigour that it instantly stressed me out. The nav interrupted my route, offering directions to the nearest filling station, none of which appeared to be in my current direction. I persevered, but was hounded by several low fuel warning signals and alert sounds until I finally gave in and diverted to get petrol (almost convinced I was running on fumes). I longed for the days of reaching the red on the fuel gauge and knowing you had another 30 miles to top up when ready.
The speed camera alert sound is also infuriating. It interrupts music and alerts on approaching and then passing a radar scan. This might sound great, until you realise how closely we are being watched. It’s a constant noise in cities and along much of the motorway network in the UK. The visual display is enough, so I don’t need the sound, but despite checking numerous menu and settings screens I just can’t work out how to disable the audio alerts.
It’s also a pain to enter postcodes into the sat-nav, because the normal address input doesn’t allow for it. You have to use a different menu in order to do that, which is counter-intuitive.
Despite these grumbles, I’ve really enjoyed finally getting our 5008 out of town and on to more varied roads with trips down to the coast and holiday weekends away in the countryside. It’s undoubtedly a comfortable car to drive and the i-Cockpit is a design triumph, with everything to hand and looking elegant.
But it’s a shame that the sunroof cuts into headroom so much, because we often travel with three teenagers in the back seats, and it’s a race to sit in the middle, where there’s more headroom.
Overall, we’re enjoying the Peugeot, though, with driving holidays to Devon, Lincolnshire and Northumberland all in the pipeline for this practical SUV.
Second report: Peugeot 5008
With lots of loading space, our long-term Peugeot 5008 is proving to be much more than just a family SUV
I’ve really been putting our Peugeot 5008 through its paces since it arrived back in April – just not in the way I’d have wished to. There have been no gentle runs down to the coast or lush tree canopies flickering through the large panoramic sunroof. It’s all been heavy lifting.
Some serious building and renovation work has been going on in the Wilson household of late, and since my friend and part-time carpenter doesn’t have a van (or car), the practical Peugeot has been shifting sheets of MDF, lengths of skirting board and litres of paint, with shuttle runs keeping the local builders’ yards and DIY shops in business.
The 5008 has an impressive 952-litre boot with the third row of seats lowered, and if you drop the second row it opens a vast 2,150-litre load area. That’s space enough for most jobs, but not enough for us. We needed to squeeze in a couple of two-metre lengths of 50mm MDF. We slotted those into the Peugeot by removing the passenger seat headrest and dropping the seat forward.
To be honest, our GT Line 5008 is too fine a car to be transporting wood and waste. I’ve needed to cover it from top to toe in blankets to protect the beautifully designed i-Cockpit dashboard and seats.
Now that the building work is done, the waste is removed and we’ve picked up a new six-seater table for the garden, I’m hoping the Peugeot can get back to doing what it was designed for: transporting friends and family in comfort and style.
First report: Peugeot 5008
Practical Peugeot 5008 SUV is proving an instant hit with our team having joined our long-term fleet
There’s usually an element of excitement when I’m waiting for a new test car to arrive. But I’ve had to wait a little longer than usual for this one.
Although our new Peugeot 5008 turned up in early April, I’ve only just managed to secure the keys. It seems the fantastic reputation of its sibling, the 3008, has been enough to make our new French SUV hot property on the Auto Express test fleet with my colleagues.
My first impressions are generally positive, especially for the stylish interior design and dashboard layout.
But deputy art editor George Vedmore is more in tune with the car than I am after driving the 5008 to the West Country for a week’s holiday.
He enjoyed taking the Peugeot on a 300-mile, six-hour drive down from Barking, East London, to Gorran Haven in Cornwall with his sister, her husband and their kids. They didn’t use the extra two seats available over the 3008, because they needed every inch of the available boot space.
George said that their child seats were really easy to clip into the Isofix slots and once inside, the youngsters immediately wanted to start drawing using the trays on the backs of the seats in front.
This kept them busy for most of the journey, until they eventually fell asleep thanks to a few handy features in our car. In particular, the sunshades on the rear windows and on the sunroof really helped to dim down the light in the back, which meant it was very easy to get the children to drift off.
In addition, the infotainment system’s volume controls allow for the front and rear balance to be adjusted. George said that this feature meant the kids could sleep while he was kept entertained.
George is also a fan of the car’s high driving position, excellent refinement on the move and configurable dash display. The pop-open cubby in the central console doubled as a handy fruit bowl, positioned within easy reach for front and rear seat occupants.
The rural roads of Cornwall provided their own unique challenges, though: apparently, the parking sensors kept going off as George drove down the tight lanes. Still, at least he could turn them off easily via the infotainment touchscreen. Lumps and bumps on Cornish roads and farm tracks did cause a little bit of upset on the trip, as George found the ride in our 5008 to be a bit harsh there.
Overall it sounds great, and I can’t wait to spend some more time in the car. But my kids are both nearly six feet tall and are struggling with rear headroom, which is a pain. It’s partly because of our Peugeot’s optional panoramic sunroof. Even the Suzuki Ignis I drove on our fleet had more head space for them.
The fold-down tables also compromise their leg space, knocking against their knees. This might become an ongoing issue and it certainly looks like a design compromise resulting from needing space to add the sixth and seventh seats.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.
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