Peugeot 5008The UK car industry has come to the end of its Covid induced click and collect period this week following healthy March new registration plate month sales.

Registrations were up by 11.5% over sales in March last year when Covid first closed UK car showrooms. However the March 2021 total of new car s sold of 283,964 units is still 37% below the 10-year March average.

Peugeot is one of the brands doing well with UK sales up 55% in March and 4.3% for the year to date over the same period last year. This is thanks to its wide range of mostly new passenger cars ranging from the 108 city car to the 508 executive hatchback/estate and of course their much in demand new SUVs - the 2008, 3008 and large 7-seat 5008 plus Rifter and Traveller MPV people carriers.

Having recently tried the ever-popular mid-sized 3008, with potential staycation holidays looming it was timely to slip into the larger 5008 which after a recent refresh now visually mirrors the much applauded award winning 3008 more closely. Indeed they are like peas in the pod from the outside and inside - it’s only the third row of two extra seats in the rear that really gives the 5008 away, apart from its larger overall size.

Inside it’s the latest i-Cockpit design with more equipment, improved connectivity, a 12.3-inch customisable digital instrument display viewed over the smaller than average steering wheel. Centrally positioned in the fascia panel is a 10-inch high definition colour touchscreen beneath which is a line of piano style toggle switches providing direct access to main control functions such as the radio, Connected 3D Sat-Nav and other vehicle settings. Unfortunately temperature control still has to be adjusted by tapping the touchscreen.

Before I move on, now is a good point to mention current prices but at the time of writing many new car prices are ‘flexible’ due to the recent changes in VED road tax costs which affect the final on-the-road price. A combination of Covid working from home and Easter holidays has slowed the publication of prices by some manufacturers. Anyway according to Peugeot’s public website they are up to date and from April the 5008 prices range from £29,590 to £40,920.

The engine options are petrol 1.2-litre PureTech 130 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic and 1.6-litre 180 automatic. The BlueHDi diesel options are 1.5-litre 130 6-speed manual or 8-speed auto and 2.0-litre 180 8-speed auto. All units have Start/Stop as standard. What surprised me was the lack of electric/hybrid/plug-in powertrains now offered in the line-up, it’s not as though Peugeot and its parent PSA/Stellantis Group don’t have them.

Being an SUV you might want 4WD or similar, well Peugeot offers Advanced Grip Control with 4-grip modes – Normal, Sand, Mud and Snow and includes extra grip tyres and a clever electronically controlled differential in the powertrain to simulate 4WD but with just front wheel drive and it costs £470.

The spec levels depending on the engine chosen are, Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium and there are of course extra cost options and option packs.

Major items of spec between the levels are: Active Premium with 17 inch alloys, visibility pack, electric folding door mirrors, air-con, front and rear parking aid, 7-seats, Mirror Screen, and electrically folding door mirrors. The Allure level gains 18-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, aluminium roof rails, Safety Plus Pack and connected 3D navigation. Allure Premium gains include keyless open & go. The GT level adds 18-inch black alloy wheels, Black Diamond roof, Drive Assist Plus, full LED headlamps, Alcantara / leather effect upholstery. The GT Premium level has 19-inch alloy wheels, hands-free tailgate, Viso Park 2 including a 360°colour camera system and automated parking assistance, Focal HiFi sound system and massaging front electric seats.

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My test car was the best selling version, the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 manual with Allure trim now priced at £31,440. The April VED increase only added £5 to the price plus £5 to the new Second Year VED £155 rate. Company car drivers will now pay 33% Benefit-in-Kind tax – a 1% increase. Warranty is the usual ungenerous 3-years/60,000-miles and insurance for this version is Group 20E.

So what else is new - well the styling looks more upmarket with a new front end with a redesigned frameless grille, sleek headlights and vertical ‘blade’ style LED daytime running lights and integrated LED indicators. Gloss black side scoops and a painted tread plate are integrated into the new bumper design. At the rear, new upgraded taillights feature full LED technology with Peugeot’s signature three-claw rear light and sequential indicator lights.

The large and deep tailgate gives access to a cavernous and versatile load or passenger seat area. Depending on how the three rows are configured and how many of the seven seats are in use, the load space ranges from 702 to 1,940-litres. With the second and third rows folded flat there is 3,179mm of load length, long enough for all that staycation luggage, camping or sporting holiday gear. With its long wheelbase there is plenty of legroom for middle row passengers and the two rear seats have less legroom but enough for most children.

With staycations very much likely this year and who knows for how long, big SUVs and MPVs must be again serious family transport options. Add in their ability to tow boats/caravans and the latest SUVs, of which there are numerous, are mostly fit for purpose for all seasons and reasons. The braked towing weight for my 1.2-litre test car was not ideal at 1,100kg for a large caravan and it’s only the larger petrol and diesel engines that increase this up to 1,750kg.

As our lives have changed due to Covid, whether it’s home life or working from home and add in the move to reduced CO2 emissions, I think I’m not the only person now considering what type of family car to have. Indeed I’ve done it and instead of two cars we are having just one – a mid-sized SUV with a petrol engine and automatic gearbox with 4WD – generally a good all round choice in this changing World.

Back to the Peugeot 5008 test car. It has the well known and multi-award winning PSA/Stellantis Group 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder direct injection turbo petrol engine with 131hp and 230Nm of torque at 1,750rpm with drive to the front wheels through the 6-speed manual gearbox. It’s a nice combination but I prefer the same engine with its ample torque mated with the very smooth operating 8-speed auto transmission, it just makes driving so much better in and around traffic and relaxed on open roads.

In this manual gearbox form top speed is 117mph and the zero to 62mph acceleration time is 9.9-seconds which for such a big vehicle – it’s 4,641mm long, is remarkable. Equally impressive is the fuel economy for a petrol engine in a big car. Officially the WLTP Combined Cycles range from 39.3 to 48.0mpg and my week of test driving, mostly short Covid regulations restricted journeys the vehicle’s figure was 40.3mpg. As the engine is RDE2 compliant with CO2 emissions of 145g/km VED road tax costs £220 and then £155 Standard rate.

The handling for this large and tall model is surefooted, it’s of course not that agile but it rides flat, level, with little body roll during cornering so its family friendly for humans and family pets. I thought too much road noise from the tyres was transmitted into the cabin and another downside, not for me though, is the lack of any hybrid powertrain option which must be in the pipeline given the manufacturer’s expertise in the emerging electric powered vehicle markets.

The warranty is also not generous but in all other ways the Peugeot 5008 is fit for purpose in our Covid changed family transport motoring World.

MILESTONES: 2021 Peugeot 5008 Allure 1.2L PureTech 130 S&S manual, 7-seat 2WD SUV. Price from 1 April: £31,440. Engine/transmission: 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder, direct injection turbo petrol, 131hp, 230Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 6-speed manual, 2WD. Performance: 117mph, 0-62mph 9.9-seconds, WLTP Combined Cycle 39.3-48mpg, (40.3mpg on test), CO2 145g/km, VED First Year road tax £220 then £155 Standard rate, BiK company car tax 33%. Insurance group: 20E. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles. Dimensions/capacities: L 4,641mm, W 1,844mm, H 1,646mm, wheelbase 2,840mm, boot/load space: 702 to 1,940-litres, braked towing weight 1,100kg, 5-doors/7-seats. For: Very smart new front end styling gives improved kerb appeal, very well equipped for this low-ish spec level, comfortable seats, good middle row seat legroom thanks to the long wheelbase, massive load space when required, reasonable engine performance and affordable tax costs given its size. Against: No hybrid/electric powertrain option for those customers wanting ‘greener’ motoring vehicles, road noise intrusion, limited braked towing weight for this version, ungenerous warranty. Miles Better News Agency 

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