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MPV turns SUV. Does the new Peugeot 5008 offer the best of both worlds, or neither?

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When it was launched in 2010, the first-generation Peugeot 5008 was exactly what you’d expect of an MPV. It had an impressively flexible interior, it was an undemanding car to drive, and it adhered doggedly to a one-box appearance.

That it also handled with the dexterity of a smaller car, and undercut the Ford S-Max on price helped seal it a four-star rating from us; but it never amounted to anything more than a determinedly functional product.

Seven years later. though, the 5008’s positioning changed critically. Although there was still no shortage of people who require what a traditional MPV such as that original 5008 offered, far fewer of them actually want to be seen in one.

Instead, they wanted, and continue to want, an SUV - and all the kerbside appeal that goes with it. As a result, Peugeot’s product planners on Avenue de la Grande-Armée devised a second-generation model transformed into a seven-seat, mid-sized, front-drive SUV launched in 2017; and it’s that model which, with a significantly cut down derivative lineup, remains on sale in 2024, until the arrival of a third-generation car later this year.

The 5008 is built on a platform shared with the smaller Peugeot 3008, only with an elongated bodyshell to allow for the fitment of seven seats instead of five. As a member of this increasingly popular clique of cars – and one with unreservedly upmarket objectives at that – it goes up against the likes of the Skoda Kodiaq, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Mercedes EQB and Hyundai Santa Fe.

Given the 5008’s popularity, it was no surprise that Peugeot chose not to mess with a winning formula when it pulled the covers off a revised version in 2020. Subtly redesigned on the inside and out, the family-friendly French machine got an upgraded touchscreen infotainment system and some fresh driver assistance technology; and now, at the beginning of 2024, it gets a new 48-volt petrol-electric hybrid engine as well.

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DESIGN & STYLING

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 02 side panning

The 5008 sits on the modular EMP2 platform of the Stellantis Group, which owns Peugeot, Citroën, DSVauxhall, Fiat, Jeep and Alfa Romeo, among others.

It’s 190mm longer than the contemporary Peugeot 3008 – although at a glance, and from certain angles, you’re hard-pressed to tell the two apart on the road – and it uses that additional span to squeeze in a third row of seats. As you’d expect, most of that extra sheet metal is at the rear of the car, where the 5008 has a longer wheelbase and more upright tailgate, both helping free up extra space for those sitting in the very back.

The i-Cockpit primary ergonomics are odd, but the high-mounted digital instrument binnacle is refreshingly easy to read on the move

The rugged costume is certainly effective, the 5008’s dimensions yielding a bluff, athletic, hard-edged design softened only by numerous intricacies picked out either in chrome-effect trim or gloss black plastic. It’s not as rough-and-tumble in its SUV aesthetic as the Mercedes GLB or Land Rover Discovery Sport, but the Peugeot makes no bones about its desire to fit in with the rough roading set.

Both ends of the car are imposingly sheered off, the front exhibiting numerous design elements but somehow managing to avoid looking overwrought. That said, the 2020 facelift delivered a better resolved nose treatment, with a sharp look influenced by the smaller 208 supermini, and the addition of LED headlamps.

Overall this is an attractive car, to the extent that it may even turn the heads of those set on more glamorous options such as the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

However, the 5008’s rugged SUV exterior conjures a perception that isn’t borne out by the mechanicals. Indeed, you can’t buy a 5008 with four-wheel drive - and never have been able to (Peugeot’s old Hybrid4 plug-in hybrid system being incompatible with the seven-seat cabin layout). To make up for the lack of a driven rear axle, Peugeot introduced Advanced Grip Control traction control as an option - although it’s only on the top-spec models.

It offers a range of traction control settings – Normal, Snow, Sand, Mud, and ESP Off – along with a hill descent control system; and it comes along with the standard fitment of mud and snow tyres. It’s a set-up sufficient for any soft-roading demands made of the chassis, but no more. What’s more, when pushed, Peugeot’s engineers will admit that it’s actually the special all-season rubber that does most of the heavy lifting when the going gets slippery.

Locomotion, meanwhile, comes courtesy of an engine range that used to run to four members in all, but has now been cut back to two. A 129bhp, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder BlueHDI diesel option is kept on for those who want a simple, long-range-efficient combustion option; but the alternative is now Stellantis’s new 1.2-litre petrol Hybrid 136 powertrain, which mates a specially adapted Puretech three-pot turbo petrol motor with a 48-volt hybrid system and a new six-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox. There is no plug-in hybrid option; and all models are now two-pedal autos.

A trim derivative lineup that was once more complicated has been cut to three levels: Active, Allure and GT. At mid spec level, the cars get automatic dipping LED headlights, half-leather seats, a 10in touchscreen infotainment system and 18in wheels; but you have to go all the way to GT to get adaptive cruise control, full leather upholstery, and upholstered dashboard and a folding front passenger seat.

INTERIOR

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 09 dash

The interior layout of the 5008 hasn’t changed - and so this remains quite a cleverly arranged cabin with a few reservations to observe.

The rear passenger doors open usefully wide, and the second-row seats both slide fore and aft and fold down easily. None of the rearmost five seats offer great outright space for taller adults, though, with headroom particularly limited in the case of cars with Peugeot’s panoramic glass sunroof. Legroom is better - but even so, if you’re likely to carry full-sized passengers in the second row, a Skoda Kodiaq would be roomier, and a Kia Sorento or Hyundai Sante Fe roomier again.

The steering wheel is too small for you to be able to rest your right arm comfortably on the door trim. Big cars need big steering wheels in my personal opinion; this one doesn't suit the 5008.

Up front the top-level, extra-adjustable front seats that Peugeot fits to upper-level cars do get massagers as standard; they’re worth having. The richness and perceived quality of the 5008’s cockpit is otherwise impressive; the chrome trims both look and feel high-quality, the switchgear all feels solid, and the car’s various fascia and door mouldings are nicely finished.

The layered dashboard elements entice your glances also. The way it curls around the cockpit and uses a selection of unusual but – outwardly, at least – high-quality materials will have you reaching for a touch when you first climb in. The wide centre tunnel, meanwhile, and the manner in which it separates the front-seat occupants, lends the cockpit a GT-car feel that is unusual, but very welcome in this class.

The 5008’s infotainment system uses a 10.0in touchscreen but also employs separate toggle switches to bring up media, climate control, navigation, vehicle information and phone applications. Along with the rotary dials for volume, this makes it easy to negotiate on the move; although it’s a shame to see so much of the display lost to temperature display, when separate physical HVAC controls would be both easier to use and liberate display real estate for other things.

Latency of the touchscreen is fairly low, with the software — which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility — exhibiting only the occasional delay. The voice control function works well for simple commands, such as choosing a radio station, but it was stumped every time we attempted to set a navigation destination.

There’s also Peugeot’s 12.3in screen within the instrument binnacle. It exhibits fluid graphics and, along with the small steering wheel and central touchscreen, makes up the i-Cockpit. However, it’s a shame the 5008 doesn’t get the neat 3D floating graphics that feature on the smaller 208 and 2008 models.

Peugeot’s compact steering wheel stands out, for better or for worse. It’s designed to sit beneath the high-mounted 12.3in digital instrument binnacle, which is itself positioned in a way that shrinks the interval during which the driver has his or her eyes off the road, like a halfway house HUD.

This small, elliptical wheel is comfortable to hold but hard to position just where you want it; and meanwhile, an awkward, remote feeling of steering the car from between your knees, no matter how the column is adjusted, somehow results from using it. Perhaps it works better on the marque’s more compact hatchbacks, with their lower driving positions. 

Crucially, the new 5008 retains the versatility that defined the original – that is, all three middle-row seats can be separately folded, and boast adjustable length and inclination. With the third-row seats stowed away, the boot is cavernous, and accessible via a powered tailgate that can be operated by gesture control, swiping your foot under the rear bumper (in our experience, it works about three-times-out-of-five-attempts).

ENGINES & PERFORMANCE

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 15 hybrid

Given the car market’s continuing - and largely unfounded - scepticism about diesel engines, Peugeot’s Hybrid 136 engine will likely power most 5008s that are sold in the run-in to the retirement of the second-generation model. It’ll represent something of a climb down on performance for anyone replacing an older, bigger-engined Puretech or BlueHDI model, offering only 134bhp at peak performance, and 170lb ft of torque; and needing a little over ten seconds, on paper, for the 0-62mph dash, when now-discontinued versions of the car could do it little more than eight-.

But even so, this is an agreeable, simple, easy-to-operate powertrain that delivers modern-feeling fuel efficiency, and decent refinement and drivability, and doesn’t suffer with the power delivery quirks of rival hybrid systems.

Have the option to flick a paddle and select a gear manually is a welcome one; but it's a shame the 5008's shift paddles themselves feel to cheap, thin and flimsy.

The car typically gets underway, under a fairly gentle throttle, in all-electric mode. In something this size, the system’s 21bhp electric drive motor won’t propel the car up to much more than slow urban speeds without the combustion engine cutting in - which it does fairly smoothly and quietly, in any case. But easy, hesitation-free progress is assured as long as you make moderate demands with your right foot; gearchanges are delivered without much pause or interruption; and the car negotiates busier streets and town centres just fine.

Out of town, the 5008 carries its weight well enough and has no trouble moving with the traffic and getting up to motorway pace. It isn’t an especially assertive performer; and it’s not an engine you’d naturally pick for towing or heavy hauling. But it doesn’t feel strained when you do ask it to work hard, and you can take control of gear selection yourself via the car’s shift paddles if you want to, in order to mitigate any energy or momentum wasted to unnecessary cog-swapping.

Brake pedal feel is fairly progressive and well-metered, so stopping and starting the car smoothly is easy enough.

RIDE & HANDLING

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 17 rear panning

Shaped like an SUV but very much intended for tarmac-based activities, the 5008 hits its brief as a refined family cruiser.

That, at least, is on reasonably smooth road surfaces, where the car rides well at higher speeds in the main, exhibiting decent close body control and pliancy, while satisfactorily insulating occupants from the worst effects of tyre roar and wind noise.

That diddly steering wheel is short on feedback and big on assistance, so a sequence of faster bends means guiding the car based solely on visual cues

Visibility is also good, and the speed of the steering rack has been appropriately adjusted to compensate for the decreased diameter of the wheel - although some may still consider it a fraction too direct for intuitive comfort.

As a vehicle in which to cover large distances primarily on motorways, the 5008 demonstrates no serious flaws and feels suitably long-legged, displaying just enough of the easy-going grande routier vibe that used to be a French speciality.

Problems arise once the road surface deteriorates or becomes more tortuous – and unfortunately for those who live in the UK, the two go together a lot of the time.

It’s unlikely that the 18in alloy wheels fitted to our test car helped matters, but bigger, craggier road imperfections were transmitted through the suspension and into the body fairly noticeably, the resulting thumps dispelling the sensation of composed float for which larger French cars are traditionally celebrated.

Although body roll is generally well-managed, the 5008 shows less poise when dealing with vertical inputs, exhibiting a strange blend of hard-edged sloppiness if you’re really pushing on. This could well be a compromise brought about by the need to manage the lateral movements of what is a deceptively tall car.

In an attempt to alleviate these troubles, you might be tempted to press the Sport button mounted on the transmission. You needn’t bother. This does dial out some of the steering rack’s momentary overassisted feel, but does nothing to improve body control.

We’d instead advise you to manage your expectations of this car’s handling abilities and play to its strengths – namely, easy-going long-haul family motoring done in no particular hurry.

MPG & RUNNING COSTS

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 01 front cornering

Peugeot’s pricing for the 5008 was bolder when the car first appeared, going after premium-brand opposition - but it’s become more pragmatic as the car has aged, and now looks like more of a bargain.

An entry-level hybrid can be snapped up for a little over £38,000; a top-of-the-range GT diesel secured for less than £43,000. And that’s commendable value for a seven-seat family car in 2024.

Options can inflate the transaction price of the car a little - although Peugeot is now only offering sales of this car from dealer stock, so configuring your perfect model may be impossible. Advanced grip control, with all-season tyres, is a £300 option; nappa leather seats with an alcantara dashboard costs £1700; and a Focal premium audio system is £590.

Without any plug-in options, this is unlikely to be a popular fleet opton due to its high benefit in kind bracketing. On fuel economy, however, the Hybrid 136 powertrain should have the capacity to pleasantly surprise some 5008 owners used to the efficiency of conventional petrol ICE engines. With the hybrid system boosting low-speed efficiency, you can expect 40- to 45mpg in mixed short-range running - though it doesn’t improve much out of town.

VERDICT

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Peugeot 5008 Hybrid review 2024 18 front static

In building a car designed to deliver the practicality of an MPV with the presence of an alternative, debonair SUV, Peugeot departed from its own precedent on larger car design back in 2017, and has been rewarded for doing so. Although the 5008 is not the most engaging steer, few in its market niche quite offer its combination of versatility, style, value and rich cabin ambience.

Peugeot’s execution is not without problem. Caveats include a lack of four-wheel drive (although the Grip Control is surprisingly effective and, let’s face it, few owners of this type of car are likely to heading off the beaten track), only average second- and third-row passenger space, and a chassis that has moments of gallic compliance, but also of clunky uncouthness.

Bold, stylish and alternative, but lacking a class leader’s all-round capability and polish

However, the 5008’s new 48-volt Hybrid 136 powertrain might not do much to add piquancy towards the end of this model generation lifecycle, but it should certainly allow this car to continue to make a decent amount of sense for those looking for a composed, comfortable, stylish family car with the versatility to carry seven when it needs to - but also be frugal, refined and pleasant in everyday, lightly-loaded running trim.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Mark Tisshaw

mark-tisshaw-autocar
Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Peugeot 5008 First drives