We spend a week with the Peugeot 5008 1.6 HDi 110 Exclusive to Review and Road Test. Is it another wallowy French bus or does it offer something for the driver?
If you’re lucky – and you’re prepared to graft a bit to put money in the bank – your driving life until children come along can be fun. Sure, the first few years after passing your test will stretch your finances as you struggle to pay for insurance on anything more interesting than a G-Wiz, but get over that hump and things start to get more fun.
With only yourself to please it’s easy to justify a V8 something or a sub 5 second 0-60mph anything. Your money. You worked hard. You deserve it. And as long as when you settle down he/she who must be obeyed understands you love cars there’s still no problem with driving something fun. Until your loins start to work overtime and you suddenly need room for more than two or three in the back.
Then it can feel like your life of fun behind the wheel has been cut short and you’re condemned to half a lifetime of driving a van with windows to be able to transport your brood, their ‘Stuff’ and their friends from one pressing social engagement to another.
If you’re really lucky and have worked your socks off you may be able to get away with only driving the van with windows when you all travel together, and keep something ‘interesting’ as your daily drive. But even if you have been fortunate enough to get to that position you still have to drive the box regularly, or ignore your offspring until they’re grown up (there’s a thought).
But the keen driver’s family nightmare can be mitigated by picking the right MPV. No point in going for something soft and squidgy as there is no chance that’ll be any fun to drive. So that rules out anything from a French car maker. Or does it?
Much to our surprise – having just spent a week with the Peugeot 5008 Exclusive HDi 110 – that is definitely not the case. I know, it doesn’t make sense. A 1.6 litre diesel MPV from Peugeot and it’s OK to drive. Actually, it’s not just OK to drive. It really is enjoyable to drive.
The 1.6 litre turbo diesel churns out 110bhp and manages 0-60mph in around 12.5 seconds. Which sounds so boring. But it doesn’t feel boring. As long as you keep a few revs under your belt the torque kicks you around town without any problem at all.
There’s bags of grip on offer and the 5008 turns in and goes where you point it. True, there is a payoff with ride quality which isn’t feather pillow, but it’s not harsh or intrusive; just firm and reassuring. The steering can lack a bit of feel when you get moving, but it responds so well it really isn’t an issue.
It’s not just around town the 5008 performs well either. On the motorway it’s happy to sit at 85mph all day long and still have a bit (mind you, it is only a bit) of oomph in reserve. But as long as you’re not too impatient – and let’s face it, no one drives on a motorway for fun – the 5008 acquits itself commendably.
Economy is also a strong point. The 5008 isn’t exactly small – even if by MPV standards it is on the compact side – but despite this Peugeot still claim 53.2 mpg. To achieve that you’d have to drive like a Saint, but it won’t be too difficult to average out at 45mpg. We got it down to 38mpg when we were giving the 5008 a seeing to round the back roads to see how far it could be pushed, but we got much closer to 50mpg on a leisurely jaunt round the M25.
So, you’re thinking that there must be a price to pay for decent performance and a decent drive. Ugly as ’70s Skoda and a rotten interior to boot? No, far from it.