Stretch out in

Peugeot's new SUV

Peugeot 5008 SUV, action front 2
Peugeot 5008 SUV, static front
Peugeot 5008 SUV, action side
Peugeot 5008 SUV, action rear 2
Peugeot 5008 SUV, static front 2
Peugeot 5008 SUV, action front
Peugeot 5008 SUV, action rear 1
Peugeot 5008 SUV, dashboard
Peugeot 5008 SUV, static rear
Peugeot 5008 SUV, sunroof
Peugeot 5008 SUV, front seats
Peugeot 5008 SUV, dash detail
Peugeot 5008 SUV, boot
Peugeot 5008 SUV, rear seats
Peugeot 5008 SUV, boot 2
Peugeot 5008 SUV, boot 1

PEUGEOT may be stretching a point when it calls the latest 5008 an all-new car but they're not far off the mark.

For starters it actually is stretched - and that makes it a very different proposition.

With loads of room in the second row of seats, enough space in the third for a couple of growing teenagers and the possibility of the most enormous boot, the 5008 is looking to muscle into the territory occupied by the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Add in the Nissan X-Trail and new Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot has decidedly upmarket hopes for the 5008, due with its first UK owners in time for the September change to '67' plates.

Now, those who keep up with their new cars may recognise a lot of another Peugeot in the newcomer. They'd be right; from front bumper to the start of the rear doors it is pretty much the same as the only recently introduced Peugeot 3008.

But that SUV is a mere five seater and Peugeot knows the world wants more seats in some of its cars.

So in comes a replacement for the old seven-seat 5008, but with a different feel. It's longer than that car and adds 19cms to the 3008, most of it between front and rear wheels.

Today's marketplace demands a car that's less people carrier (fuddy duddy, older owners) and more SUV (sporty, athletic, younger) with the sort of sword-sharp styling that gives this actually roomy car an arrow-like look from certain quarters.

Roomy it is, with three individual seats in row two that slide to let you favour leg room or boot space, or give the people in the third row a bit more of a comfortable time.

Some countries will be able to buy a 5008 without the rearmost row, which must turn the car into the smartest way to carry mountains of luggage this side of a Rolls-Royce, if such a car existed.

Want even more baggage space? Then simply unhook the two rear perches and stow them in the garage. They weigh little enough not to tax the least muscular among us and free up the sort of room that might see you taking those extra shoes and boots on holiday instead of abandoning them in the hall.

Even with all this space Peugeot has found room for a space saver spare wheel, buried away beneath the car and so much more reassuring than a bottle of pressurised gloop that may well not work on that puncture deep on the moors on a wet weekend night.

Moving back up inside the car we reach a dashboard that precisely mirrors that in the new 3008, which is mostly a very good thing.

A mixture of alloy looking switches, soft plastics and trim inserts with a Paris couture look make this a very classy cockpit indeed.

You could argue that Peugeot has gone too far with its lack of knobs to twirl, turning instead to an i-Pad like screen that nicely displays the sat nav route but means an excess of finger presses to adjust the heating or change radio stations. Sometimes buttons simply are better.

So it looks good inside and out and offers room to spare. How does it drive? Does it feel like the shorter 3008? Yes it does, and no wonder with the same engines on offer.

They will range from a 1.2 litre three-cylinder petrol unit to powerful diesels that are going to provide a convincing case for ownership for long distance drivers, whatever the current down on diesels might otherwise mean.

Putting extra distance between front and rear wheels ought to help the car ride better and on a well chosen variety of roads on the Portuguese venue chosen to introduce the 5008 to the world it shrugged off everything from side roads with tree roots heaving to the surface to proper country dirt tracks.

That was in cars without the rotary control available on some models that lets you set the cars for better grip on treacherous terrain, a feature that you might consider as little needed as the F1-aping shift paddles behind the steering wheel on auto versions.

Talking steering wheels, the 5008's is more oblong even than oval, all the better for viewing the instrument panel over the rim.

It felt a bit odd in the first Peugeots to take this radical approach but can now make other marques feel a bit... twentieth century.

No precise news yet of what these extra pair of seats is likely to cost over the shorter, less accommodating 3008 but reckon on somewhere around a grand each, so adding £2,000 to the bottom line. Or two-bottomed line, of course.

So, prices might start around £23,000 and top out at near £35,000 for a powerful diesel with automatic transmission and every modern bell and whistle.

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