First generation of the 5008 had MPV bodystyle

When the first generation of the Peugeot 5008 was introduced in in 2009, it was presented as a MPV although the ‘00’ in the middle of the designation was supposed to be used for crossovers and SUVs. But over the course of the model’s life, the market in Europe changed as SUVs grew in popularity rapidly. Although the first 3008 (launched 10 years ago) was more of a pseudo-SUV, response to the 2008 that appeared in 2013 was very good. This must have led the product planners to feel that the next generation of the 5008 should really be what the ‘00’ designation had meant it to be – a SUV.

It’s a very clear example of how the explosion of the SUV market (which began in America from the mid-1990s) has become so influential in product planning. While virtually every carmaker has one or more SUVs in its line-up, Peugeot has even switched the 5008 from MPV to SUV so as to have one more offering in the category.

Another reason which is offered by Peugeot is that the 7-seater MPV is largely a European preference and the company has ambitions to boost its business in other regions. And almost all over the world, SUVs are the hot-sellers so if it wants to get a bigger slice of vehicle sales, it must have more SUV choices for customers.

In making the change, Peugeot has retained the 3-row cabin configuration to accommodate 7 persons. Though this decision would have been made many years ago, it has proven to be a good one with the increase in demand for 7-seater SUVs nowadays. Some companies, like Lexus, have stretched their models to add an extra row while others like Peugeot have been lucky with cycle timing to be able to design a 7-seater right from the start of the project.

As with most of the global carmakers, having a common platform has been crucial to moderating development costs for each new model, as well as getting better economies of scale in production to keep prices competitive. For the new 5008, the availability of the Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2) meant not only cost-savings but also a reduction in development time as a new platform didn’t need to be developed.

In terms of styling, the cubic MPV form (which is somewhat boring) of the previous generation has been replaced by a distinct 2-box form with a longer horizontal bonnet and raised body line. It’s 11 cm longer than the previous generation so spaciousness within is maintained in spite of adopting a new form. Also of note and thanks to the optimised structure of the EMP2, the new 5008 is 95 kgs lighter than its predecessor.

There are the typical styling elements which are considered essential for the SUV image – like the under-bumper guard and protective panels along the lower sections of the doors. But what sets this SUV apart from others is its striking front end. Besides the Advanced Full LED headlamps with sequential scrolling indicators, there’s a certain flair in the way the ‘face’ is done and it takes some ideas from the Peugeot HX1 concept car shown in 2011.

At the rear, the raised body line and chromed roof arc trim finishes elegantly at the quarter panel, giving off a more aerodynamic design profile that is complemented by Peugeot’s signature three-claw LED rear lights. 18-inch ‘Los Angeles’ alloy wheels with a two-tone diamond finish are standard within the black wheel arches while the low-profile roof rack is of stainless steel.

Under the bonnet is a proven THP engine with twin-scroll turbocharger and direct fuel injection as well as variable valve timing. The output of 167 ps/240 Nm travels through a 6-speed transmission which Peugeot developed with Aisin AW of Japan. ‘Quickshift Technology is incorporated, making shifting between the 6 ratios quick and smooth with advanced torque converter technology reducing power losses inherent in fluid drives. With the high efficiency of the entire powertrain, the 5008 can go 13.6 kms with each litre of RON95 petrol and if you choose to not follow speed limits, then you could take it up to the claimed 206 km/h.

The 5008 has front-wheel drive only though that’s not really an issue with most SUV buyers, many of whom don’t even ask about the drivetrain (they may simply assume it is AWD!). However, even without AWD, the 5008 will still be able to go off the highway and perform just as well on loose ground and steep slopes. Driver-assist systems help maintain traction and control on less-than-smooth terrain, with the Advanced Grip Control (AGC) system having 5 modes – NORMAL, ESP OFF, SAND, MUD and SNOW. Each mode has different settings for engine torque and other aspects to optimise grip.

Complementing AGC is Hill Assist Descent Control (HADC), a system which has been around for 20 years. With this feature, even drivers who are not regular off-roaders can drive down a steep and slippery slope confidently and safely. Upon activation, HADC takes over the driving, so to speak, maintaining a low and safe speed with intelligent use of the brakes. The driver only needs to look ahead and operate the steering wheel to avoid obstacles.

Being a European product, the 5008 would be expected to have the highest standards of safety and it does – a 5-star EuroNCAP rating, which is the maximum that is awarded. Although a version sold in Europe was tested, the one sold by Nasim in Malaysia is identical in safety equipment and under the skin, the structure is, of course, the same so the same rating would apply.

Moving inside, the 5008 shows the best of MPVs combined with the best of the SUVs in terms of functionality and practicality. Those who are Peugeot fans will recognise an evolved version of the Peugeot i-Cockpit which has 4 main elements – a compact steering wheel, 8-inch multifunction colour touchscreen and a wide 12.3-inch high-resolution Digital Cluster Display that is positioned high up so it is almost like a head-up display.

The driver’s zone really looks like a cockpit with the seat being ‘wrapped’ around by the centre console and its bank of toggle switches that give easy access to a variety of functions. The experience is also enhanced features like the new electric impulse gear control (with paddle shifters also available). A rotary dial is within easy reach to select one of the 5 modes of the AGC mentioned earlier.

Standard features include Android Auto, Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink connectivity, electric parking brake, automatic dual zone air-conditioning, reverse camera with 3 view settings, 6 speakers with 3D Arkamys sound staging system, and 8-way power adjustment for the driver’s seat with memory settings.

A premium ambience is provided by the use of leather and chrome, enhanced by the comfortable seats which have 5 angles of inclination on the second row, in contrast to its predecessor’s option of two. This row also has ISOFIX anchor points for compatible childseats and reconfiguration options at the passenger and loading compartments to optimise knee room.

Volume and versatility continues to be evident in the new 5008, just as they were in the previous one. The third row of two seats can be folded completely flush on the floor with the two covers of the boot floor forming a perfectly flat surface when folded down. It’s also possible to remove them if desired and they weigh less than 11 kgs, with a single control to unlock them from the floor.

The boot can take lots of cargo and extra long items can be carried as the front passenger’s seat can be folded flat as well.

The 5008 MPV could swallow up a lot of stuff and now that the model is a SUV, the same capabilities have been retained. Firstly, for very long items – up to 3.2 metres – the front passenger’s seat can be folded flat and with the middle row also folded down, you have a long space on the left side of the cabin all the way from the back door almost up to the dashboard. Depending on your needs, you can fold down each row of seats to vary the available cargo volume from 952 litres to 2,042 litres. And if you have things that need to be kept cool, there’s an air-conditioned console box between the front seats with a volume of 11 litres.

Loading through the back door is easy as the sill is not high. People who are not tall or have short arms will also appreciate the fact that the door does not open very high up. In any case, there’s no need to pull down the door as it is motorised and just the press of a button will bring it down to a close. What is really nice is the handsfree opening where you just stick your foot under the bumper and the door opens by itself (the same action will also close it). This is a great feature when both your hands are full with bags or you are carrying something heavy or big and can’t put it down.

When both hands are full, you can still open (and close) the rear door with your foot, as Julie Woon demonstrates.

How much does it all cost? RM173,888 in Peninsular Malaysia, excluding insurance. Considering how much you’re getting and the high quality of the vehicle, that sounds like a pretty good deal and the 5008 would be worth checking out if you’re planning to buy a SUV. See it at Peugeot showrooms nationwide (locations can be found at www.peugeot.com.my) or at the Malaysia Autoshow 2018 from this Thursday till Sunday (April 26 – 29) which is on at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) outside Kuala Lumpur.

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[Chips Yap]

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