Every car-owning family must have at least one story about a nightmare car journey. You know: those trips that are supposed to last four hours, but end up taking seven or eight, because of bad traffic, or other calamities. We’ve had our fair share of these neverending treks. The most recent was when we travelled from London to south Wales. I was behind the wheel of a 7-seater SUV, given to us for the week so I could write a Peugeot 5008 review. With driving rain, high winds and flashing motorway signs telling me I was transporting my two young kids in hazardous driving conditions, I’d never felt more relieved to be in what turned out to be a safe family car.
Peugeot loaned us a 5008 GT so I could write this review, and I was compensated for my time. All views are my own.
The Peugeot 5008 GT: a high-spec model
When our black Peugeot SUV GT turned up outside our London home, it looked very snazzy indeed. Peugeot’s 5008 comes in a variety of different models, and the GT is one of the range-leaders. The 5008 is a more roomy version of the 5-seater Peugeot 3008. It’s designed as a car for larger families, with two extra seats in a third row. Our 7-seater GT had a 1.6 litre petrol engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. Some of its features aren’t available in other 5008 models, so do check if you’re considering buying one. If you have the cash to spare, I’d highly recommend taking a 5008 out on a test drive.
What makes the Peugeot 5008 SUV GT a safe family car?
The Peugeot 5008 SUV received a five-star NCAP safety rating, scoring highly across all categories of the rating system. When I drove the car, the conditions along the M4 really put it through its paces. I hate motorway driving when sheets of rain makes it difficult to see anything, high winds are blowing, and lorries send bucketloads of water splashing over the car. It can be downright terrifying.
The poor driving conditions had slowed down all the traffic, which caused bottlenecks. As we were taking such a lot longer than I’d hoped, when the road was a little clearer, I wanted to move forward as quickly as I could safely manage. The Peugeot 5008 GT made that easy for me. I’m usually cautious about pulling out into the fast lane when it’s busy, but the automatic car’s acceleration was powerful enough for me to step up the pace quickly, and swing out into the fast lane without worrying about the car behind sailing up to my bumper.
The GT matches the safest cars for safety features. A blindspot warning light on both wing mirrors shows when another car’s alongside you.
This really helped on the crowded motorway. I was also grateful for the Peugeot’s lane assist. If you stray out of your lane, the car nudges you back. It’s a subtle pull that feels a bit like a magnetic tug – and it was very helpful when I overtook lorries, and the air current combined with the wet, slippery road made the car skid a little. Normally my knuckles would be white from gripping the handlebar when overtaking lorries in the rain, but the car’s lane departure system took away a lot of the stress.
The Peugeot’s emergency braking system also helps slow the car down when the vehicle in front is too close. A few cars cut me up on the motorway (don’t they always?) and it was reassuring to see the vehicle alert sign flash up on the dashboard. I really felt as though this car was looking after us.
The Pigeons have outgrown the need for larger car seats, but families with younger kids would be pleased to find three ISOFIX seats in the middle row of the Peugeot 5008. The childlock can easily be switched on and off from the dashboard, so there’s no need to fiddle around if adults or older children sit in the back.
Parking in the motorway services was easier than I’m used to, with a rear-view camera, and a bird’s-eye view, to help me guide the car into a tight spot.
An alert sounded when I strayed too close to the vehicles alongside me. Although this was really helpful in the car park, it was a little distracting when we’d reached our destination, and I met an oncoming car and had to reverse down a single-track country lane, close to the hedge. The car didn’t like being so near to the grassy bank. It beeped at me all the way. And it positively screamed when my Mum’s partner opened the driver’s front door to tell me something, while the engine was still running in drive mode. Still, at least the bells-and-whistles alarm would leave no doubt if somebody accidentally opened a door while the car was moving.
The Peugeot looked after us even before we stepped inside the car. When I unlocked it at night, the wing mirrors flipped out to reflect spotlights onto the ground, next to the front doors. So there would be no stumbling over kerbs when stepping into the car on a dark street. I loved this feature.
How much space is in the Peugeot 5008 SUV?
The 5008 SUV is a large car. It’s 4.6 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.6 metres tall. Peugeot have done well to maximise the internal space. When the third row of seats is folded down, you get 952 litres of storage space in the boot, which increases to 2,150 litres if you collapse the seats. The middle row of seats folds flat, and you can choose to fold one, two, or all three of the seats.
The seats in the car’s third row aren’t as large as the second row seats, but we found there was still plenty of space when we took a couple of extra friends with us to Pennard Cliffs. The seats in the middle slide forward individually, to give passengers in the back a bit more leg room. You wouldn’t be able to pack much in the boot behind the third row, but there was a bit of space, as you can see in the picture below.
Our Pigeons found the middle row very comfortable on our epic journey. They could recline their seats individually, and the floor was completely flat in the middle. So if we’d added an extra passenger, they wouldn’t have had to scrunch their legs up.
A few design features helped make the most of the space. I particularly liked the generous size of the bins on the doors, and the large air-conditioned space under the central front armrest, which was good for keeping sandwiches cool.
What’s it like to drive?
For such a large car, the 5008 felt remarkably nippy. The power steering made it easy to handle, on the twisty country lanes in Wales as well as on the motorway.
Without any music playing, the car was quiet inside. But I took full advantage of the entertainment system on our long journey. A large touchscreen monitor gave access to a DAB radio, as well as Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay, with Android Auto smartphone mirroring too. I plugged my phone into the USB port at the front of the car, and let Spotify choose tracks from my playlist.
The Peugeot 5008 uses a pioneering i-Cockpit® system, so drivers can peer at the dashboard controls from a lofty driving position.
Both D and I agreed that it was the most comfortable car we’ve driven, with a driver’s seat that hugged our lower backs in just the right way, and smooth interior surfaces that were pleasingly soft to touch. The inbuilt SatNav, a TomTom traffic, was a little erratic at times, but we’re yet to find a SatNav that does exactly what we want it to.
What I loved about this car
The Peugeot 5008 SUV GTI was possibly the best family car I’ve driven. As an automatic car, it was an easy and restful drive for our long trip. What set it apart for me was the design. It was sleek and handsome, with a smart trim inside.
After dark, a subtle ambient glow illuminated the inside, and the snazzy LED strip lighting at the front of the car reminded me of Kit from the 80s TV show Knight Rider. Remember him? On auto, the headlights were responsive, switching seamlessly to full beam when we hit Wales’s country lanes at the end of our long journey. It made up for the slight slowness of the automatic windscreen wipers, which hadn’t managed to keep up with the furious pace of the rain on the motorway, until I switched them to manual.
What did the kids like about this family SUV?
The kids were mega excited to try out this car. They enjoyed having little tray tables on the backs of the front seats, air conditioning vents they could adjust individually, and window blinds to play with. The biggest excitement, though, was the rear privacy glass. The Pigeons plotted all sorts of mischief in the blacked-out back of the car.
Which features didn’t I try?
The 5008 comes with park assist, which I didn’t try out on this trip. I also skipped a trial of sport mode, where the automatic gears take a little longer to change up; I was more than happy with the acceleration on regular mode. Cruise control stayed switched off too. I did almost all of the driving solo, and didn’t want to fiddle round with the cruise control stick while I was on the road (and I was too busy bundling the kids into the car to sort it out before we set off).
Something I wish I’d tried is the ambient settings. Drivers can choose from three programs, with different fragrances, mood lighting and music for each. I was too intent on getting us down the motorway to fiddle with the settings – but on a more languorous journey, I think this would be fun.
How economical is the Peugeot 5008 SUV?
Unlike many SUVs, the Peugeot 5008 is 2-wheel, rather than 4-wheel drive, so it would in general be more economical on fuel. It wouldn’t be able to cope with extreme off-road conditions, but it did well on the bumpy Welsh lanes.
Peugeot claims you should get between 38 and 64 miles to the gallon of petrol. The mileage sat within this range for our long-distance motorway drive.
Have you driven a Peugeot? What’s the best family SUV, in your opinion?
For more information on the Peugeot 5008 SUV GT, see the Peugeot website.
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