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Peugeot 5008 e-HDi 112

Click to view picture gallery“Transporting a family of five in
 
a regular modern car can be a real
  pain. Despite the fact that most
 
cars are front-wheel drive, these
 
days almost all cars have enormous
  central tunnels — put there to
  strengthen the bodyshell and carry
  everything from electrical cabling
  to fuel pipes
...”

TROUBLE IS, huge centre tunnels also rob rear seat space. Almost all hatchbacks and saloons today are effectively four-seaters as it's virtually impossible for three people to sit abreast. It's not just the centre tunnel, either: most manufacturers make the third central rear seat deliberately flat and uncomfortable, so it's only usable very occasionally.

Of course, that's not much use for a large family. To seat three abreast in the rear seat you really need an MPV — most MPVs now have three individual and separate rear seats so your third passenger can get just as comfortable as the other two.

“What gives the 5008
a real boost is its seven-
seater layout: there’s a
very useful extra pair
of chairs in the far back
although they’re pretty
tricky to get into and
only really suitable for children — and small ones at that
...”
The Peugeot 5008 is a case in point. Its trio of separate rear seats means everyone gets enough elbow room and enough leg room, plus the option to slide and tilt each seat to their heart's content.

The seats themselves are very supportive; and the large, wide-opening doors make them very easy to get into. Plus, if you ever need to fit child seats, you'll be in heaven: it's so easy to gain access for buckling up.

What gives the 5008 a real boost is its seven-seater layout: there's a very useful extra pair of chairs in the far back.

These are, however, far from having the same space or comfort as the middle-row seats. They're pretty tricky to get into and very cramped, with not much head or legroom. You can only really use them for children — and small ones at that.

One item of equipment definitely worth considering is the panoramic glass roof, which really brightens up the inside (it's standard on the Allure trim level). Other items worth adding include powerfold mirrors (important considering the 5008's width) and rear parking sensors.

The 5008's cabin feels very posh. Peugeot is making great strides these days in terms of material choice and fit and finish, while the layout of the controls is ergonomic and the gauges easy to read (particularly if you opt for Peugeot's handy, space-age head-up display, which projects important info on to a little clear screen in large, easy-to-read figures directly in your line of sight).

At the tail is a huge boot that's ideally shaped for bulky items, thanks to a flat floor, wide tailgate and low loading height. For the record, you have a mighty 830 litres of space when the third row of seats are stowed away; and up to 1,754 litres with all five rear seats folded — that's big enough to carry a free-standing wardrobe!

Flattening the seats away under the floor is a very simple exercise, and the 5008 even has a folding front passenger seat, which gives you a total load length of 2.8 metres. Now, where's that totem pole...?

“The e-HDi 112 version
is the range’s ultra-
economy model.
its 112bhp 1.6-litre diesel
may not be the world’s
feistiest powerplant,
but it has easily enough
torque to lug around
a family of seven,
as I found when I loaded
up with a full
complement of seven —
It’s eager off the line
and cruises perfectly
comfortably at
motorway speeds
...”
I tested the 5008 e-HDi 112 version, which is the range's ultra-economy model. Its 112bhp 1.6-litre diesel may not be the world's feistiest powerplant, but it has easily enough torque to lug around a family of seven, as I found when I loaded up with a full complement of seven people — it's eager off the line and can cruise perfectly comfortably at motorway speeds.

The main issue I have with this car, however, is its gearbox. In order to get the best possible CO2 and fuel economy figures, Peugeot has fitted its EGC six-speed automatic transmission.

Sadly, it's painfully slow-acting with chasmic lurches between ratios. Luckily there are steering wheel paddles for you to use if you get bored of the whole thing, allowing you to change gear manually. I found myself in manual mode almost all the time…

You'll be glad you chose the e-HDi model when it comes to opening your wallet at the fuel pumps. The base Access e-HDi 112 model emits 125g/km of CO2 and does a claimed 57.7mpg, while in Allure trim (as reviewed here) the figures are 132g/km and 55.4mpg.

As for the rest of the driving, the 5008 is thoroughly competent. The suspension settings are quite stiff, but that doesn't impact very much on ride quality. The steering is pleasingly light and responsive, if perhaps a little artificial. And if you should get it out of shape in corners, any understeer is swiftly tamed by the stability control system.

Other positives include great brakes, very low interior noise levels (wind, road and engine noise are all well-suppressed), and pretty good visibility by modern standards — the 'tall' driving position gives a good view of the road ahead, although the wide pillars can be a little obstructive at times and the high rear window can make reversing tricky. Time, methinks, to invest in some parking sensors. — Chris Rees

Peugeot 5008 Allure e-HDi 112 | £23,845
Maximum speed: 114mph | 0-62mph: 12.6 seconds | Overall MPG: 55.4mpg
Power: 112bhp | Torque: 192lb ft | CO2 132g/km