Published on July 28th, 2020 | by Joshua Chin1
First Impressions: Peugeot 5008 SUV PLUS
A hidden French gem within the Asian sea of crossovers
Looking at sea of crossovers that are currently flooding the market, there are the usual candidates of Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and if feeling posh, the Volkswagen Tiguan.
But if you are willing to be more adventurous and overlook the boring usual suspects, you may stumble upon one of the hidden gems in the segment, that is the Peugeot 5008.
To some, pitting a 7 seat SUV against the other traditionally 5 seater benchmarks may seem like the deck is stacked in the Peugeot’s favour. Then again, starting at just a hair over RM 160k (thanks to the government’s tax holiday), there is no reason not to compare this French flavour against its other similarly priced mainstream alternatives.
Considering that the Peugeot 5008 has been on the market for a while now, the design still looks as striking as the day it was launched.
In fact, this particular one here is the recently facelifted top-spec Peugeot 5008 Allure Plus model. Though at a glance, or even a considerably longer stare, the visual differences between models either side of the facelift is negligible.
Although sitting slightly lower than others in the SUV segment, the Peugeot Parisian design flair helps the 5008 make a statement. It is still certainly distinctive and unique, in a good way I might add. Especially when compared to the other SUVs on the market.
From the muscular lion emblem on the grille flanked by BMW-like headlights, to chrome strip that runs along the entire roof line of the car, ending with the intricate design on the LED taillights, this SUV is the latest in a series of fantastic designs by the French auto maker.
Inside this practical SUV, there is enough space for seven people. Well, 5+2 kids anyway. Or 7 adults on a really short journey. The third row in this 7 seat SUV isn’t meant for people with any kind of lower appendages, even if it is easy to get in and out from.
On the plus side though, when the third row is not in use (which is most of the time), the 5008 becomes a 5 seater with a cavernous boot.
Peugeot even included some practical touches to make load bay even more practical, with the addition of the hands free electric tailgate and more importantly, easy to fold down third row seats that can even be removed if more luggage space is needed.
Being typically French, the seats on the Peugeot are a standout. All the 5 proper seats are very bolstered, and there are plenty of electrical assisted adjustment for both the driver and passenger to get comfortable up front.
The second row passengers meanwhile benefit from some climate vents and a USB port. Legroom and more impressively headroom are also adequate in the middle row even for six footers, and that is taking into account the standard full length panoramic roof with motorised sun shade.
Furthermore, the middle seat occupant will be grateful for the flat floor thanks to the lack of a transmission hump.
As for the interior design, the flamboyant French theme from the exterior continues inside the 5008. This Peugeot features probably one of the best dash designs in the segment, with some even going so far to say that it is reminiscent of the first generation Porsche Macan. High praise indeed for a car costing a third the price.
Taking centre stage in the stylish dash is the piano key buttons artfully placed within a chrome C design on the console. These act as shortcuts to the bring up the menu of major vehicle functions like the radio and the climate control on the 8 inch touchscreen infotainment above it, which incidentally comes integrated with navigation, bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Meanwhile like any modern European car, directly in front of the driver is a 12.3 inch digital dash display. Part of Peugeot’s i-Cockpit system, the digital dash is endlessly configurable to the driver’s every whim and fancy.
Now, before you scoff saying that as it is a Peugeot it’ll fall apart in minutes, everything inside feels solid and well screwed together. Something that Malaysians can be proud of seeing that this SUV is locally assembled in Gurun.
The interior material quality is also up there with its posher rivals like the Mazda and the Volkswagen, not something that can be said for Peugeots of old.
That being said, there is still some French quirkiness brought over from older Peugeots. The glovebox is probably only big enough for the aforementioned gloves, and the bonnet release is on the passenger side. Which would be fine if we drive on the left like in Franch, but is a bit annoying for right hand drive markets.
The 5008 features all the modern conveniences one expects from this segment of vehicle. Auto headlights and wipers, cruise control, front and rear parking sensors with 180° reverse camera, tire pressure monitoring system, blind spot assist, hill start assist and hill descent control are all standard on this French SUV.
As expected too, this 5 star Euro NCAP SUV comes with 6 airbags and the usual safety acronyms like ABS, EBD, ESC, EBA, ASR and DSC. The 5008 also packs in speed limit recognition, Active Lane Departure Warning and Correction and Driver Attention Alert. Novel features not normally found in this segment, but all there too keep you and your occupants safe on the road.
Speaking about the 5008 on the road, the driving experience of the 5008 is a car that prioritises comfort over handling prowess.
The cabin of the 5008 is very well insulated. Even given its interior volume and the glass roof, the 5008 exudes that continental car feel on the road. So you could still listen to your music through the excellent sound system even if you do decide to hoof it a bit.
And if you do hoof it a bit, the Peugeot will cope well enough. Sprung slightly towards the softer side, you won’t be able to tackle corners like a Lotus Elise. But then again, going over speed bumps and potholes in the 5008 won’t cause you to make an appointment with your chiropractor.
The most delightful feature of this large SUV on the road would probably be the small two-spoke multifunction steering wheel. It may seem alien at first, but trust me, you’ll soon get used to it and wonder why more cars don’t have it.
Paired to a typically French over-assisted power steering that may be a tad too light for some, it is undeniable though that it does shrink the car down, and makes this 7 seater feel SUV feel much smaller than it is.
Moving on to the powertrain of the 5008, driving it normally, no one would be any wiser that under the bonnet is just a puny 1.6 turbocharged four cylinder. Mated to a 6 speed automatic gearbox and driving only the front wheels, this French SUV puts out 167 hp and a generous 240 Nm of torque, respectable numbers for the segment.
In the real world, these power figures are easily enough for everyday use, even for drivers who like to get a move on. There is always power on tap and most drivers will not be left wanting. One of the 5 driving modes is even a sport mode, catering to those who want to feel like its faster, the operative word being ‘feel’.
The only slight criticism of this powertrain combination is probably the gearbox that is occasionally jerky and hesitant, it is a curse to bear for wanting the constantly peppy nature from a large car with a small engine. The weirdly huge electronic gear lever is also not the most intuitive to use.
Think of it as a dual clutch transmission and you get the picture. Besides, there are always the paddles behind the steering wheel to play with if you want to pretend this SUV is a sports car.
Then again, driving the 5008 it all goes back to comfort. Sitting in the supremely comfortable seats, holding the form fitting signature Peugeot tiny wheel and letting the dual zone climate control cool the cabin down to a freezing 14°C (a feat other rivals can’t match), you can’t help but to relax when driving the 5008, which is just quintessentially French.
And that’s what this large SUV is: quintessentially French. But unlike Peugeots of old, although it wears it’s French-ness on its sleeve, it is also an outstanding car. Comfortable, stylish, and with seven seats, more practical than most of its rivals.
And to think that this 7 seat SUV starts at RM 160k rising to only RM 172k (during the tax holiday) for this top-spec one with all the bells and whistles, this is really a hidden gem within the sea of boring crossovers.
Peugeot 5008 1.6L Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder 16v Turbo
Power: 163bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque: 240Nm @ 1400rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto with manual select
0-100km/h: 10 seconds
Top speed: 205km/h
Price: From RM160,808.60 (during tax holiday), RM166,888 (after tax holiday)
Price as tested: RM 172,931.90 (5008 Allure SUV PLUS during tax holiday)