A COUPLE of years ago Peugeot's designers waved their magic wand over the ugly duckling that was the 3008 and a highly-popular swan evolved.
Could they repeat the magic with the frumpy 5008 people carrier? The answer was an emphatic yes.
The 5008 is now a stylish and practical SUV and surprisingly good to drive. It's also relatively affordable to run, especially if you go for the entry-level 1.2 Puretech 130 petrol engine.
Instead of the frankly off-putting looks of the old 5008, there's now a modern, stylish glow to the new model, especially with the GT Line trim seen here.
The designers' magic trick is particularly clever because the 5008's transformation doesn't mean you have to sacrifice any of the space or versatility you'd expect of a seven-seat family car.
The overall length of the vehicle (4.64m) remains compact as the new 5008 SUV - though 19cm longer than the 3008 SUV and 11cm than the original 5008 - is still one of the most conservatively proportioned and its extra length makes it roomier for passengers.
The new exterior leads to a class-leading interior, with seven individual seats. The rear row can be folded down, as well as fully removed, while the front passenger seat also folds flat for added practicality.
The body-hugging front seats are large and comfortable, while the three individual chairs in the second row, though smaller, are supportive with plenty of head and leg room. As with the majority of seven-seaters, the third row is really only suitable for children or adults over short distances.
The spacious interior is deeply impressive with lots of premium materials and soft touch fabrics. The 5008 comes, of course, with Peugeot's i-Cockpit technology with its compact steering wheel, a large eight-inch touchscreen dashboard and an impressive 12.3-inch high-resolution digital head-up display.
As with all Peugeot's there's a range of trims with the GT Line Premium sitting just below the top. It boasts a driver seat multi-point massage function, driver and front passenger seat heating and a panoramic opening glass roof flanked by blue ambient lighting, while 19-inch two-tone diamond-cut alloy wheels add to its exterior looks.
The spec also offers a tranche of advanced technology features, including keyless entry and push button start, and a foot-operated smart electric tailgate.
As a family vehicle, there's an arsenal of advanced driver assistance systems to make driving even safer including Hill Assist Descent Control, autonomous emergency braking, Distance Alert, lane departure warning, a driver attention warning, speed sign recognition, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. Six airbags and three Isofix points are standard on every 5008.
This all sits alongside Peugeot's advanced grip control - there is no four-wheel drive option - which combined with electronic traction control and all-season tyres provides extra reassurance when it's slippery and wet.
There's a choice of petrol and diesel engines, and also now a plug-in hybrid, and while you might think the 131bhp 1.2-litre engine would be a bit on the small side to power a seven-seater weighing well over a tonne, but you'd be wrong.
The award-winning Puretech engine is lively and energetic, rev happy and has enough punch - a healthy 230Nm of torque from 1,750rpm - to meet all but the most mental of heavy right-footer's needs.
Available with a choice of a six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes, it's also frugal and quiet - great for those long A-road journeys - with an impressive lack of wind and tyre noise.
As a family car, the 5008's suspension errs on the comfortable rather than sporty side but that's not going to be a problem for most owners. It's relaxing and easy to drive with light and relatively agile steering and good all-round visibility. And, should you push it through a corner, body lean is well controlled.