Peugeot's range of MPVs are as varied as their names are silly (Partner Tepee and Blipper, anyone?). The 5008 stands out for having a slightly less ridiculous name and for the fact it's not a van trying desperately to look like a car.
This is especially apparent on the road, where the 5008 drives well enough to rival the class best, and has a useful seven seats. Diesels make the most sense here, and this 1.6 HDi Active II is a good bet at around £21,400.
It needs to seat seven people so there's only so much Peugeot can do with its looks, but what it's done has been very successful. From the front it's more tall, smart hatchback in appearance, the gawping grin of Peugeot's recent past replaced by a neatly styled grille and proud bonnet badge.
The flanks benefit from an upswept chrome detail line, while the black window frames and hidden rear pillar give it a sleeker look than the MPV norm. Inside it's a bit of a revelation, the materials and quality significantly enhanced over its predecessor, with soft touch plastics and tactile switchgear.
Like all its seven seat rivals it's best to think of the 5008 as a generously proportioned five-seater first and an occasional seven-seater second. Access to the rear seats is aided by a clever lift and fold system on the second row seats, but it's tight in the rear pews for all but children. Boot space suffers too, using that third row robs the otherwise sizeable 679 litre boot of virtually all its capacity. Fold all five rear seats to create a flat floor and the 5008 gives 2,506 litres of space -- more than enough for even the most ambitious trip to the tip. Useful then, but it does lack some of the clever cubbies and oddment stowage of most of its rivals.
Performance & handling
It might have been designed with the goal of carrying you and your offspring around comfortably, but Peugeot has managed to inject a bit of fun into driving the 5008. The steering offers decent feel, speed and precision, meaning the 5008 is surprisingly enjoyable away from the school run. The suspension delivers good control, resisting roll in bends yet providing a supple ride.
With its bias toward sensible family transport, its best specified with one of the turbodiesel choices over the petrols. The 1.6HDi isn't hugely brisk, but it's punchy enough to haul the 5008 without too much effort, though if you want to shave 2.9 seconds from its 12.9 second 0-62mph time you'll need the 2.0 HDi model. The smaller 1.6 HDi is offered with either a standard six-speed manual or EGC (Electronic Gearbox Control). The latter might sound trick with paddle shifters, but in reality it's fussy and slow. The manual is better, with a slick shift and a nicely positioned lever.
Economy & environment
The 1.6 HDI doesn't just do the job on the road, it does a decent job of avoiding filling stations. Chose the EGC model and it returns 55.4mpg on the official combined cycle and emits 132g/km. Fine if the company is buying, but if you can take the slight penatly at the pumps we'd opt for the manual, which returns 51.4mpg and emits 140g/km officially. The extra performance of the 2.0 HDI doesn't bring too heavy an environmental penalty, returning 47.9mpg on the official cycle and emitting 154g/km. Don't be surprised if Peugeot pops a hybrid system into it soon, as it's done elsewhere in its range.
Equipment & value
Low entry level prices come at the cost of equipment. The Access models are just that, coming with the basics rather than luxuries. So wind up rear windows and air conditioning rather than climate control, but if your budget is tight there's nothing too much missing. Start adding kit, like Bluetooth for £745, and it's worth going up a level to Active. It gets electric rear windows, while convenience is increased with rear parking sensors, Bluetooth and cruise control. Allure gains climate control, though on all you'll need to pay a sizeable premium if you want the massive panoramic glass roof that fills the interior with light.
Peugeot intelligently considers those in the rearmost seats just as important as in the front, the side impact airbags running the entire length of the interior. Occupant protection is good then, the 5008 gaining a five-star Euro NCAP score. It's not great if you're hit by it though, the EuroNCAP score for pedestrian safety is just 37 per cent.
Avoid the entry-level Access specification and its rather stingy equipment levels and the 5008 makes a decent family carrier, with space for plenty of growth. The 1.6-litre HDi model is the best all-round proposition, combining decent economy and running costs with respectable performance.
What's surprising is just how enjoyable it is to drive, some of Peugeot's old driving mojo is evident in its chassis. Add its good looks and high quality, if sometimes fiddly buttoned interior and the 5008 is a credible alternative to the other school-run buses ferrying the children to and from the school gates every morning.
Model tested: Peugeot 5008 1.6 HDi 112 Active II
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
Acceleration: 0-62 in 12.9 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Emissions: 140g/km CO2