Seven seat Peugeots are no stranger to the Hardy household. Back in the ’80s, we acquired a 504 family estate for about £700, and what a bargain it was.
It took us and friends, with assorted offspring, everywhere we wanted for several years and also made a valuable contribution to hauling bits and pieces for our extension, including a three metre lintel to span a patio door opening.
It occasionally groaned but never really complained although the electrics used to catch us out from time to time, especially the safety cut-out to stop it being started while the auto gearbox was in Drive. Hot wiring a bypass via the rear washer circuit sorted that one. It went for its last MoT with us with reading 000,000 miles and then, as it was a hot day, rewarded its clear pass by one of the headlamp glasses disintegrating after falling off onto the road when the retaining mastic melted. Those were the times when cars had character.
What most owners want now is convenience and that’s certainly delivered by the biggest multi-seat Peugeot you can get in the UK today, the 5008.
It’s less bulky than the 504 but still does the trick and could cope with that lintel in true 504 fashion because the front seats are designed to fold to allow an internal load length of 3.2 metres.
With ISOfix mountings in the three individual middle row seats there’s flexibility built in, so much so that all our luggage for a fortnight away went into the boot while allowing the load cover to still be pulled across for safety and security. It helped that the middle row could be slid forwards, creating a large well behind for thing like telescopes, tripods, spare crutches, and a walking pole.
The 5008 has just been relaunched with a totally new design that includes a bulkier bonnet to cope with new pedestrian crash protection rules. The drawback is that on switchback roads with humps to overcome it’s easy to lose visibility of what lies ahead.
The car now has a high waist and low roof, or so it appears, but it’s really just visual trickery because there’s plenty of volume inside – 952 litres to the parcel shelf as a five seater and impressive 2,150 litres to the roofline with the five rear seats dropped into the floor. That’s on a par with, or better than, most apparently more bulky MPVs and not far short of the 2,300 litres found in the Peugeot Partner Tepee, which is based on a van.
As is typical of French cars, the 5008 is soft-riding and extremely comfortable. Nowhere is this more appreciated than on the Scottish back routes, which make many English country lanes feel as smooth as motorways.
Some of these roads can be challenging in the extreme and it had occurred to us that a 1.6 litre diesel with a six speed automatic gearbox might be a bit underpowered. However with 120 bhp (the manual gets 130 bhp) there was more than sufficient muscle to keep the car rolling with minimal effort.
The same also applied to major routes, meaning the 5008 with the auto box can average more than 50 mpg. It’s a much better auto than the previous model’s electronic manual shift gearbox, too, so there’s no need to go for a two litre to get a better driving quality.
Families will also appreciate the useful pull-up sun blinds in the rear doors which help keep the glare off children without resorting to the sucker pad accessories that fall off every time you inadvertently open a window for ventilation. With various bits of stowage space around the cabin and tables on the backs of the front seats, the 5008 in Allure trim should suit most families. As a family model, it’s more than an adequate replacement for our old 504.
Far less appreciated is some of the electronic gadgetry such as the lane keeping assistance, which tugs at the steering so violently we turned it off. The automatic main beam function was also deactivated because it was too slow to dip and too keen to revert to main beam.
The jury’s still out on whether the square steering wheel is well-rounded thinking but it probably isn’t. Ask an Austin Allegro owner if you can find one!
But overall, the 5008 proves you can have space travel without space station bulk. It’s the perfect family capsule.
Maurice and Annette Hardy
Car: Peugeot 5008 Allure BlueHDi 120 automatic
Does it fit your ego…
0-62 mph: 12.8 secs
Top speed: 113 mph
Bhp: 120 @ 3500 rpm
Torque: 300 Nm @ 1750 rpm
…and your wallet…
Combined: 61.4 mpg
CO2 emissions: 112 g/km
Best bits: consummate family capsule