Road tests

New Peugeot 5008 2021 review

The updated Peugeot 5008 arrives with a new look, but is the French brand’s seven-seater now better than ever?

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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The 5008 is still a car with huge appeal, offering occasional seven-seat flexibility in a chunky SUV bodystyle. Peugeot’s upgrades to interior tech boost the quality of what was already one of the best-finished cabins in the class, too. Sticking with even the proven engines is more of a compromise, though; they’re solid enough choices, but the lack of an electrified option could start to hold the 5008 back sooner rather than later.

The Peugeot 5008 was one of the two models (along with the 3008) that led the company’s design revolution. But recently the big seven-seat SUV has started to look a little out of kilter with the more recent arrivals in the brand’s line-up, so it has been treated to a mid-life nip and tuck.

The changes are modest, but they’re relatively easy to spot, because the biggest shift comes in the styling. The car gets the same family face as the 208 supermini and 508 saloon, with a larger grille, fresh LED daytime running lights and new headlights.

The big news inside is the arrival of a new infotainment set-up, with a 10-inch display for the main system, and a freshly updated 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster that sits above the steering wheel in the driver’s line of sight, in true i-Cockpit style.

The oily bits basically stay the same, so there’s a choice of two outputs across both petrol and diesel. The PureTech petrols are a 1.2-litre three-cylinder with 129bhp and a 178bhp 1.6 four-cylinder. The BlueHDI diesel options are a 1.5 with the lower of these outputs, and a higher-powered 2.0. It’s the 1.5 diesel we’re trying here, paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.

Peugeot has shaken up the trim levels a little. The range starts with Active Premium, which gets 17-inch alloys, keyless start and front and rear parking sensors. The Allure we’re driving moves up to 18-inch alloys and also gets privacy glass, aluminium roof rails and navigation integrated into the infotainment system. Allure Premium brings a little extra kit, with window blinds and tray tables for rear-seat passengers.

At the top of the range sit GT – with LED headlights, a contrasting black roof, adaptive cruise control and a frameless rear-view mirror – and then GT Premium, which brings 19-inch alloy wheels, a gesture-controlled electric tailgate and massaging function on the front seats.

Our Allure car certainly felt smart enough inside to warrant a price tag the wrong side of £33,000, with soft, squishy plastics in all the key areas, and smart faux carbon fibre on the harder surfaces. The layout remains perhaps a little fussy – although we’d happily allow a few more buttons if it meant having physical controls for the heating and ventilation. It’s pleasingly upmarket, though – and there’s room in the front two rows for five adults, thanks to a flat floor.

The dynamics of the 5008 were pretty sound to begin with and Peugeot hasn’t changed the recipe. With the longer wheelbase of this model, you get a solid mix of a comfortable ride and as much body control as you can reasonably expect from seven-seat transport; indeed, the 5008 is better than most conventional MPVs in that respect.

The 1.5-litre diesel motor has enough pep to cope with the car’s size – but is never up to making it feel brisk. Peak torque is delivered at 1,750rpm, but you’ll want to keep the engine spinning at above 2,000rpm if you’re trying to get a move on. Peak power is listed at 3,750rpm but in truth, the engine has done its best work by 3,000rpm.

That sounds a relatively narrow band, and it is. But if you’re not in a rush, you’ll find the powertrain flexible enough beyond those parameters to keep you moving. It’s refined, too, with barely any diesel rasp under acceleration and no more than a distant hum once you’re up and moving at a motorway cruise.

Although the manual gearbox has a reasonably short throw, it’s also a little notchy and hard to use quickly. In addition to that, the enormous chrome-rimmed gearknob is far from a natural shape for the human hand. We’d prefer the optional slick eight-speed automatic that’s also available with this engine.

The tiny i-Cockpit steering wheel makes it easy to manoeuvre the big 5008 around tight streets and into parking spaces. But this is its key strength, not involvement, so don’t expect it to play along by delivering millimetre-perfect precision if you start trying to throw the car down a country road.

The second row of seats has bags of room, but the third row of fold-up chairs is definitely best suited to children instead of fully grown adults. At least it’s reasonably easy to get there – more straightforward than in, say, a Skoda Kodiaq.

The boot capacity is a meagre 167 litres with the third row of seats in place, but in conventional five-seat form there’s a useful 962 litres on offer. It’s surprising, though, that even in this facelift, Peugeot hasn’t seen fit to include a single securing hook on either side of the load bay.

Model:Peugeot 5008 Allure 1.5 BlueHDi 130 S&S
Engine:1.5-litre 4cyl diesel
Transmission:Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive 
0-62mph:11.1 seconds
Top speed:118mph
On sale:Now

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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