In our third look at the 2012 Car of the Year finalists, Mamba’s motoring editor (and member of the judging panel) Brent Ellis takes the Peugeot 5008 HDi on a road trip.
After I tested the Peugeot 5008 THP earlier this year, I came away impressed with what is a great 7-seat MPV. Not without its flaws, however. The biggest problem I had with the THP was its 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine which, especially when coupled to the 6-speed automatic gearbox in the range-topping Allure model, drinks fuel far too quickly. It was with great excitement then that I booked the diesel model in the range – which happens to be fighting for next year’s Car of the Year title.
And, thanks to the outstanding fuel economy I experienced in the 3008 HDi back in January this year, I knew that a long trip was what the 5008 HDi needed to show me just what it is capable of. So, a road trip was organised to Mpumalanga and, with a good dose of passengers and luggage, the 5008 was set for quite a weekend away.
I love how this car looks – with a menacing front and large elongated head lights, it means business. And, with an adaptation of the French manufacturer’s new design language, it stands out as a thoroughly “modern” Peugeot. It rides on pretty 17-inch alloy wheels and with a high roofline, it has great presence on the road. I also like the rear a lot, with a “friendly” stance and vertical tail lights (which feature LED light bars, making this car look fantastic at night.
On the inside it’s all new-age Peugeot and that means brilliant quality, fit and finish. Soft-touch plastics are used almost everywhere and I love how the dashboard wraps around the driver, with a high-mounted gear lever and deep refrigerated centre console adding the finishing touches to a cockpit-style design. Dials are clear and overall the ergonomics are great too. I particularly love the fuss-free steering wheel, whose multi-function controls for the audio, Bluetooth hands-free and cruise control systems are hidden behind the spokes. And they’re so easy to fathom, you won’t end up hitting the wrong buttons by mistake because you can’t see them. A really nice touch is the head-up display (HUD), which slides in-and-out of the dashboard above the steering wheel in a neat glass arrangement.
Comfort and Features
At Active trim level (the only option for the HDi), this Peugeot comes loaded with a comprehensive list of standard spec and features. Fabric seats are fitted all-round and the front seatbacks feature fold-down trays for the second row’s passengers. Each of the three middle-row seats is independently adjustable (for legroom and they all recline) and, in a clever one-pull lever setup, the outer two can be easily folded forwards allowing access to the rear-most seats. The last two seats aren’t what I would call roomy though, and are only suitable for children on extended journeys. And, as is the case with almost every 7-seat MPV, once the rearmost seats are up, boot space all but disappears. A useful 480-litres of luggage space is available in 5-seat mode but with all seven seats up, that diminishes to just 120-litres.
At least the standard equipment list is long enough to take your mind off the boot space, and standard features include the likes of automatic lights and wipers, electric windows and mirrors (with electric folding), front fog lights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear parking sensors, cruise control, the HUD (including a following distance assistance system), rake-and reach-adjustable steering, a full-length panoramic glass roof, a good CD/radio/MP3/USB/iPod/aux sound system, hill-start assistance, a multi-info trip computer, fully automatic dual-zone climate control with rear ventilation control, a nifty parabolic safety mirror (to keep an eye on the kids in the back) and a smart self-releasing electronic handbrake. There are no extra options available for the 5008 HDi.
Ride and Handling
To drive, the 5008 HDi is superbly comfortable and my long 700km-odd road trip proved that even over extended periods, comfort is well maintained. Handling is sure-footed and calm, and what I particularly enjoyed was how well this car performed on dirt. Traversing several kilometres of rutted dirt roads (both slowly and at speed) proved to be no problem for the 5008, and even the odd donga was easily overcome. On the road, ride quality is supple and there is little road noise intrusion, too.
Performance and Economy
The 5008 HDi is fitted with Peugeot’s familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine and it’s quite a peach in this car. It produces 110kW and 340Nm and, coupled in this case to a 6-speed manual gearbox, power is both smoothly delivered and well suited to the bulky body. The 0-100km/h sprint takes a claimed 10 seconds and top speed is a decent 195km/h. In the real world, acceleration is excellent and throttle response is immediate – even when cruising in sixth, just a stab at the throttle is needed to easily overtake slower vehicles.
Fuel consumption is claimed at 5.6-litres per 100km with carbon emissions said to be 146g/km. In town driving, fuel consumption tends to be a little heavy but on the open road it plummets to a very attractive level. After the road trip and a dose of city driving my overall average was 6.8-litres per 100km – and that achieved with a fully-loaded car and cruise control set most of the time to the national highway limit.
In true French tradition, nothing has been left off the 5008’s safety features list and it scored five stars at EuroNCAP as a result. Standard kit includes ABS with EBD (anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution), ESP (traction control, which showed just how well it works while driving on those dirt roads I mentioned above), six airbags, pre-tensioned seat belts for all seven seats, along with ISOFIX child seat anchors. Remote central locking, auto-locking doors and an alarm are installed as well.
It’s quite a substantial package, this car, and it’s the only MPV in the race for the COTY honours. And, thanks also to keen pricing, I reckon it stands a good chance. Including a 3-year/100 000km warranty and a 5-year/90 000km service plan, the Peugeot 5008 2.0 HDi Active retails for R303 100. Similar cars to this include the Chevrolet Orlando, the Chrysler Voyager, CitroÃ«n’s C4 Grand Picasso, the Daihatsu Terios 7-seater, Dodge’s Journey SXT, the Mazda5, the Renault Grand ScÃ©nic, the Toyota Verso, VW’s T5 Caravelle and even Nissan’s Grand Livina. Clearly there’s no shortage of choice of 7-seaters in this market, but it’s worth noting that only the Voyager, Grand Scenic and Caravelle come with diesel engines. And to whittle them down even further, the Caravelle and Voyager are substantially more expensive than the 5008.
And so, the Grand ScÃ©nic remains as what is in my eyes the only real competitor for the 5008 2.0 HDi Active. With only R4000 separating the two, it should prove a difficult choice at the end of the day. But if you had to ask me, my money would go to the Peugeot – no questions asked.