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Sunday, March 20, 2022

A Day Out With The 2022 Peugeot 5008


It’s been about two years since I’ve hit the open road for something other than work. Although ride and drives are starting to be a regular occurrence, they’re typically done in frantic fashion. It’s simply hard to get personal with any car when you’re racing against a precisely-timed schedule. Understanding perhaps that the French do things differently, Astara, the new distributors of Peugeot have decided to do something else.

Instead of holding a convoy drive, what about sending the vehicle, in this case, the new Peugeot 5008 with three destinations to choose from: Nature Venture in Tanay, Rizal; Camp Aurora in Cavinti, Laguna; or Driftwoods Action Park in Indang, Cavite. It’s up to me to choose the destination and which date I’d like to take the 7-seater SUV out for a spin. The entrance fee has been spoken for, and they even threw in a food basket as a bonus. Fearing the traffic down south, the choice was almost by default: Nature Venture.



Two days before the set date, a Nera Black Peugeot 5008 arrived. Though I’ve already seen it in person more than once before, this is actually the first time I’m getting behind the wheel of one since trying out the first-generation model back in 2014.

A lot has happened in eight years, and chief among them is its design. Peugeot Philippines tried selling the Peugeot 5008 then as a crossover, but they can’t fool anyone since it’s an MPV. It’s still a wonder why they thought being a mommy mobile was embarrassing, but their confused communication was probably one of the reasons why the brand and its vehicles found itself dead in the water. The second-generation model though started to embrace more SUV-like elements. The chunky tires, the generous black cladding, and the increased ground clearance, which at 191 mm is very close to other compact SUVs.



On the outside, the Peugeot 5008 wears the brand’s new design language sans the new emblem. It’s hard to fully appreciate with this black paintjob, but among the highlights are a frameless radiator grille. It’s joined by full LED headlights with “fangs” for daytime running lights. At the back, the full LED rear lamps now feature a transparent smoked lens with a “claw” lighting signature and scrolling signal indicators.

As unique as the Peugeot 5008 is outside, it’s on the inside where the French made its mark. For starters, there’s the packaging. There are some angles where it looks like an MPV, but that’s down to its stretched wheelbase which is 110 mm longer than the Peugeot 3008 on which they share their platform. It doesn’t look as massive as other 7-seater SUVs, but it has enabled Peugeot to squeeze a third-row of seats. They collapse into a carved-out portion of the cargo floor necessitating that the spare tire be mounted underneath. It can be removed as well. With the rear seats down, the luggage space is simply huge: 952 liters with the third-row seats collapsed, and up to 2,042 liters with the second-row seats folded. Even better, that second-row folds in a 40/20/40 split enabling owners to fit items up to 10-feet long.



The packaging and modularity aside, the Peugeot 5008, like all of its passenger car range utilizes an inimitable dash layout they call Peugeot i-Cockpit. For the fashion-forward French, the name is so unbelievably passe, but at least the experience is different, but welcome. Anyone who’s used to any other make and model of car will be profoundly confused with what’s going on. The ultra-compact steering wheel, the instrument panel mounted on top of it, and the large touchscreen with piano-style keys in the middle require a re-think. Having said that, I find the entire thing easy to master, but I do have the experience of having tried a couple of other vehicles with the Peugeot i-Cockpit layout so that probably helped.

Just as peculiar as the dash layout is, so are the choice of materials. The aluminum trim and leather are staples for this class of vehicle, but the fabric insert on the dashboard and door trims are different, and excellent in breaking up the visual monotony.



The drive to Nature Venture takes about 50 kilometers one way passing through the Masungi Geoserve. The route itself is filled with a combination of busy provincial roads and winding, hilly mountain passes. A perfect combination then to try out the Peugeot 5008’s handling chops.

Instead of a normally-aspirated gasoline or turbodiesel engine, Peugeot has opted to go for a turbo gas engine instead. Tractive effort for the Peugeot 5008 is provided by a 1.6-liter twin scroll turbo with 165 horsepower and 240 Nm of torque. They’re pretty respectable numbers and actually do well on the road, especially considering it has to pull around 1,440 kilograms of curb weight.



At lower speed, say in urban traffic, the Peugeot 5008’s 6-speed automatic is a bit hesitant with its shifts. It hunts gears noticeably to the point that I started to wonder if Peugeot actually put a dual-clutch unit in there instead of a traditional torque converter automatic. Once traffic lightened, the shifting smoothed itself out. It’s simply happier in these conditions. Overtakes are easy and takes just a flick or two of the left paddle shifter to get the engine singing.

Unlike most other compact SUVs, the Peugeot 5008 uses a non-independent Torsion Beam Axle at the back. For 90 percent of driving, it’s hard to tell it apart from an independent suspension setup except for the occasional times it would shimmy through corrugated surfaces. For the remaining 10 percent though, there’s some hesitation in changing direction, or getting it to rotate through corners. More steering angle’s needed to counteract the understeer, so thankfully the ultra-compact wheel makes it easy to do so.



The open road is also an opportune time to try out the Peugeot 5008’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or ADAS. They’re composed of the blind spot detection, active lane keep assistance, and driver attention warning. I didn’t drive long enough for the driver attention warning to come on, but I found the first two, especially the lane keep assistance lacking the sensitivity to handle our sort of road situations.

The last few hundred meters or so heading into Nature Venture is unpaved. I made it through without having to switch driving modes, but it’s worth noting that the Peugeot 5008 has this thing called Advanced Grip Control. In essence, it’s supposed to give all-wheel drive prowess in a two-wheel drive vehicle by re-calibrating the throttle, brakes, and stability control. I call BS. On another weird note, hill descent control can only be activated with the shifter in neutral. Yes. It’s weirdly French.

After all’s said and done, I’m just glad that Peugeot’s trying something different to get people to try out their vehicles. While the vehicles themselves haven’t really changed much in terms of pricing or specs compared to when the brand was handled by its previous distributor, this new kind of personalized experience may be something they need. It signals perhaps a new kind of thinking over there. For me though, a day out away from laptops and social media may be sort of the break the doctor ordered, and I’m just glad to have done it in an SUV as unique as the Peugeot 5008.

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