Some large SUV styled vehicles, which can carry up to seven people and tow up to 1,800kg when required, are just more user-friendly with a strong diesel engine and of course will return far better fuel economy than their petrol powered versions or their lesser powered diesel stablemates.
But with the alarm over NOx pollution from diesel powered models, the fallout from the Volkswagen Group’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal, sales of diesel powered cars dropped by 8% across Europe last year and another 12% this year. In the UK it’s a worse picture with a fall of 17% last year and 25% so far this year.
The worrying issue is since the drop in diesel car sales the CO2 emissions, said to be the cause of global warming, have risen for the first time in 10 years as sales of diesel cars fall. This rise say experts is due to increased petrol powered car sales which have higher CO2 levels coupled with the record increase in sales of larger and heavier SUV models. What goes around comes around as the saying goes – remember when under previous Governments we were encouraged to buy diesel cars over petrol one to reduce CO2 emissions, now it’s the other way around.
In the UK new car market there was an increase in the CO2 emission based VED First Year road tax rates from 1 April for all new petrol and diesel cars bought from that date onwards. Now there is also an additional separate rate for new diesel cars, they are no longer classed the same as petrol powered models.
Take for instance the Peugeot 5008 2.0-litre 150hp turbodiesel model I have just been testing. Up until the end of March this year, with the CO2 figure of 118g/km , the First Year VED cost was £160 before the Standard rate of £140 was applied for year two onwards. Now the First Year rate costs £205 but the Standard rate remains the same at £140. For company car drivers of current and new cars the latest CO2 based Benefit-in-Kind tax rate applies from 6 April, the start of the financial year, and sees the 3% tax premium for diesel cars over petrol ones increases to 4%. This means the BiK tax for this Peugeot 5008 model goes up to 28%.
These are significant increases but by no means the worst example. Go one step higher from the CO2 111 to 130g/km VED First Year rate where this Peugeot 5008 sits, and into the 131 to 150 rate and the First Year VED tax goes up to £515 from £200 and BiK from the minimum 28% to 31% for a 131g/km vehicle. There are similar increases higher up the CO2 output ratings to a maximum rate of 37% for cars with CO2 emissions of 180g/km and over.
Now onto something less taxing for my brain – the 2018 Peugeot 5008 model range. Prices start from £25,015 and run up to £36,415. These large seven seater SUVs are available with Active, Allure, GT Line, GT Line Premium and GT specification levels depending on the engine chosen. The power units on offer are the award winning 1.2-litre 130hp PureTech turbo petrol unit with manual and auto transmission options, the 1.6-litre THP turbo petrol 165hp automatic plus turbodiesels consisting of 1.6 BlueHDi 100hp manual, 1.6 120hp manual/auto, 2.0 150hp manual, 2.0 180hp auto and a new 1.5 BlueHDi 130hp manual unit with lower CO2 emissions from 106g/km is now joining the line-up.
The previous generation Peugeot 5008 was a multi-seat MPV people-carrier but in 2017 the new generation range became a rugged looking SUV but still with seven-seats. It is a scaled up version of their top selling and award winning Peugeot 3008 and uses an extended version of the same platform. It also uses most of the same engines, transmissions and components. From the outside the biggest visual difference is the extended length to accommodate wide rear doors used to increase ease of access to the middle and rear rows of seats and the added length gives the 5008 a larger boot and load area.
Inside the similarities continue by using Peugeot’s i-Cockpit design as standard with its sweeping dashboard and centrally mounted 8.0-inch touchscreen. Also included is the use of Peugeot’s smaller diameter sports steering wheel with instruments viewed over the top of it rather than through it which some people like and others don’t. Personally, being tall, I like the smaller wheel and I can see the instruments easily and the smaller wheel sharpens up the steering response. What I don’t like, and it’s not just the 5008 or 3008, is that many manufacturers are now putting the most used controls for the heating, ventilation, air con, radio and sat-nav within the pages of the touchscreen so they are not quick and easy to use, in fact you have to take your eyes of the road to make these adjustments. At least the Peugeot system has a series of piano style chrome keys below the screen which give short-cuts to the functions required but you still need to prod the screen to make the changes.
Modern-day Peugeots are noted for their classy interior styling and finishes and the 5008 follows that theme with soft-touch trim throughout all seemingly of good quality. There are ample storage bins and cup holders throughout the vehicle to cater for family needs. The second row of seats is made up of three individual units having tilt and slide adjustments both for comfort and added ease to get rear seat passengers into the two rear seats. These fold down completely to create a large flat load space still leaving five seats for passengers. With all seats in use the load space is 780-litres, with the rear two seats folded flat this goes up to 952-litres, with the middle row of seats folded this goes up to 1,940-litres or 2,150-litres with the third row of seats unclipped and removed. The legroom for the third row of seats is limited and best used by children whilst the middle row can accommodate three adult passengers with enough legroom for long journey comfort.
When it comes to talking about ride comfort the 19-inch alloy wheels, standard with the best selling GT Line spec, do the vehicle no favours. Over ever worsening road surfaces the lower profile tyres cannot absorb the shocks from potholes, ridges and worn out tarmac as readily as the 18-inch one used for the lower spec Allure models or 17-inch ones for the starter Active spec level as these are shod with deeper walled tyres which absorb road imperfections more easily.
At 4,529,mm in length with a width of 1,837mm and a tall height of 1,647mm, the 5008 is a big vehicle to thread through winding country lanes or find a parking space for it but its agile enough and generally predictable in the way it handles overall. Driving support systems are ample with parking sensors, blind spot detection, lane keep assist, driver attention alert, 180-degree reversing camera, connected 3D navigation with TomTom live updates and voice recognition for the radio, sat-nav and telephone. DAB digital radio is standard on all models as is MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity functions. Also standard for all versions is automatic emergency braking and distance alert system. All 5008s, although classed as SUVs, are only front wheel drive although their Peugeot’s Grip Control option of enhanced front wheel drive with grippier tyres is available and costs an extra £470 for the GT Line spec model I tried. I think it should be standard fit for all models given the variable extreme weather and road conditions we now encounter.
The 2.0-litre, BlueHDi four-cylinder 150hp turbodiesel engine I tested is the most popular engine in the range but if diesel power is not your choice I can heartily recommended the 1.2-litre PureTech 130hp direct injection petrol unit. It is brilliant especially with the automatic gearbox. Don’t be put off by its small capacity, it powerful and responsive and pretty fuel efficient even in such a big vehicle as the 5008.
The 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150hp turbodiesel unit supplies lots of torque, 370Nm from 2,000rpm so it’s gutsy, responsive if a little harsh and noisy under hard acceleration. But it cruises easily and its frugal on fuel, not as frugal as the official Combined Cycle figure of 61.4mpg but for my week long road test the real-life figure was 50.3mpg. Given the size of this vehicle and its performance that was good. Top speed is 129mph and the zero to 62mph acceleration time is 9.6-seconds, more than adequate for a family vehicle of this type.
Overall the latest Peugeot 5008 seven seat SUV provides space, a wide range of engine options, good fuel economy, high spec and stylish good looks. It’s not such a compelling buy or class leader as the smaller 3008 SUV is in its mid-sized sector, but it’s still one of the best seven-seater SUVs you can buy.
MILESTONES: 2018 Peugeot 5008, GT Line BlueHDi 150 manual, 7-seat SUV. Price: £31,765. Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 150hp, 370Nm of torque from 2,000rpm, 6-speed manual with 2WD. Performance: 129mph, 0-62mph 9.6-seconds, Combined Cycle 61.4mpg (50.3mpg on test), CO2 118g/km, new diesel VED First Year rate road tax £205 then £140 Standard rate, BiK company car tax 28%. Insurance group: 23E. Warranty: 3-years/unlimited mileage. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,529mm, W 1,837mm, H 1,647mm, boot/load space 780 to 2,150-litres, braked towing weight 1,800kg, 5-doors/7-seats. For: Good looks, practical, 7-seats, high specification, classy interior design and quality, good fuel economy potential, wide range of engine and specification options. Against: Incurs the new higher taxes for diesel powered models, harsh ride on the large wheels, gruff engine note during acceleration, even though its classed as an SUV Grip Control is not fitted as standard, the touchscreen is used too much for many of the most-used controls. Miles Better News Agency