There’s no denying it, I am a man on a mission.
It’s not some great quest to improve the world but I am determined to find the best seven-seat SUV for families.
A few years ago the options were limited and restricted to the huge things like the Volvo XC90 but in recent times as MPVs have fallen out of favour more brands have launched slightly smaller, more affordable examples.
The likes of the Nissan X-Trail, Skoda Kodiaq, Land Rover Discovery Sport and VW Tiguan Allspace are already vying for a share of the blossoming market, Honda has added a third row to the CR-V and Seat’s Tarraco is set to join the fray this year.
But of interest to me today and for the next few months is the Peugeot 5008.
Peugeot 5008 GT Line
Price: £34,634 (£37,389 as tested) Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, diesel Power: 128bhp Torque: 221lb/ft Transmission: Six-speed manual Top speed: 119mph 0-62mph: 11.1 seconds Economy: 67.3mpg CO2 emissions: 109g/km
Priced from £26,259, the 5008 is one of the cheapest of the family-sized SUVs. You can pay less for a Kodiaq but at that price you’ll only get five seats while every 5008 features seven as standard.
That price is for an entry level Active trim with a 1.2-litre petrol engine but, of course, our test car is rather more than that. In GT-Line trim and equipped with a 1.5-litre diesel it weighs in at £31,879 before the inevitable options.
Options such as the £575 Egyptian Blue paint. I’m not usually fussed for the fancy paints manufacturers offer but this shade works well for the 5008, which can look rather slab-sided in some colours.
No so here, where the blue paint and bright body trim emphasise the sharp creases that bleed from the wheel arches into the doors.
It’s still not what you’d call traditionally handsome but the deep concave grille with metallic highlights, oddly feline headlights and the mix of silver and black plastic body cladding are certainly different enough to make it stand out on the school run.
The interior, too, marks the 5008 from its rivals with a broad sweep of fabric across door tops and dash, an asymmetric centre console with piano key switches and Peugeot’s innovative i-Cockpit.
The other big difference with the 5008’s interior is that it offers three individual seats in the middle row – a unique feature in this class. Each seat can be independently slid, reclined and folded, although they sacrifice a little width to allow this flexibility.
We’ve struggled to fit three child seats across the middle of all of its rivals but a couple of test runs have shown our single Isofix infant seat and two high-backed boosters fit neatly into the Peugeot, leaving the 780-litre boot free for luggage.
Under the bonnet, our test car uses the latest 1.5 BlueHDi diesel from the PSA Group. It’s good for 128bhp, 221lb/ft and will get the fairly large 5008 to 62mph in 11 seconds. Official economy figures are 67.3mpg but we’ve seen a relatively healthy real world 48mpg so far.
The 1.5 has already surprised me with how punchy and flexible it feels despite it relatively low output and it’s proved commendably quiet in operation.
So far, in this cold weather my biggest problems have been the lack of physical heater controls and the fact the attractive metal gear lever is the coldest thing on earth first thing in the morning.
A few more months will reveal if they are the Peugeot’s only weaknesses.