I must admit, when Peugeot made a big song and dance about their ‘i-cockpit’ I didn’t immediately see what all the fuss was about.
Having spent a week at the helm of the 5008, their flagship, seven-seater SUV however, I’m willing to admit I was wrong.
For the uninitiated, the i-cockpit refers to Peugeot’s driver layout which sees a heads-up display coupled with a scaled-down, low-mounted steering wheel and a high-resolution widescreen display.
With real-time navigation graphics, performance data and your traditional speedometer all blended into one easy-to-read display, the i-cockpit set-up makes for one of the easiest-to-navigate displays I’ve experienced.
Peugeot 5008 Allure
Engine: 1.2-litre, three-cylinder, turbo petrol
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 117mph
0-62mph: 10.4 seconds
CO2 emissions: 120g/km
The 5008 is a fine car in other respects too. The boot is gigantic (1060-litres) and the cabin spacious for all seven passengers. Crucially for families, there are three folding seats on the middle bench with Isofix, so depending on your car seats you ought to be able to get three kids in side-by-side – not a given in cars a class larger.
Even though the 5008 used to be marketed as a dull, boxy take on the MPV, the SUV styling is bang on and its distinctive two-tone tailgate design elevates it from the crowd of SUVs clogging the marketplace right now.
Peugeot have resisted the urge to pander to our desire for pseudo-sportiness applied to inappropriate cars, and the ride is geared toward comfort, with a soft, borderline spongy ride that soaks up the worst the roads can throw at it with ease.
That does mean a little bit more bodyroll in the corners than some of its contemporaries – but I’ll take that over the bone-jarring bumps and annoying shaking you get from some SUVs.
The small steering wheel that comes with the i-cockpit does take a bit of getting used to at first – but it’s well-weighted and makes it an absolute cinch to park.
Our test car was fitted with the 1.2-litre pPuretech engine – a ludicrous sentence talking about a such a large car a few years ago. The turbocharged 129bhp petrol unit does an admirable job though, and feels apt for the car, returning a supposed 54.3mpg combined.
Our test averaged more like 38mpg, but there was a lot of town driving and stop/start traffic. Realistically anyone looking for a long-distance ride or even a tow car will opt for the diesel anyway, with a 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre version available. A capable petrol option should stand the brand in good stead as many drivers desert diesel however.
The mid-range Allure spec car we tested boasted a good level of equipment and tech, missing out on only the shiniest of bells and whistles present on GT Line and GT models.
With a host of awards under its belt already – What Car? Best large SUV, Best in class at the Tow Car awards – the 5008 is picking up fans already.
After a thoroughly enjoyable week at the wheel I’m pleased to say I’m one of them.