Peugeot 5008 Review by Brent Druskovich

Being a first time reviewer of a new car leads to some nerves and apprehension, especially when your everyday drive is 30 years old this year and quite frankly holds little resemblance to a 2018 vehicle. In much the same way that a 1958 203 cannot be fairly compared with the technology of my 1988 505, maybe even more so, as I am sure that the last 30 years have had far more technological advances than the previous 30. So where does a first time reviewer begin? I want to give the vehicle justice, but not gushing with the unfamiliarity of all the advances and appearing to be a starry eyed child getting the greatest Lego set at Christmas! I decided that rather than jumping in, I would take a step back, to think about the years of reviews I have read within the club magazine, the NZ Herald and any multitude of magazines. For that reason I intentionally have left writing this article for a couple of months after the fact.
The greatest inspiration I can dredge out of my motoring article memories are those associated with the launch of Lexus in the 1980s. At the time the journalists were gushing about this new brand; Toyota were stating that it was a separate brand; it would have nothing on it that could be associated with the mother brand and the motoring public and enthusiasts were waiting with a great deal of anticipation. Now hold those thoughts till the end of this article.
The 5008 that Auto Distributors NZ arranged for me to review was the GT model, which sells standard for $59,990 plus On Road Costs. The GT is powered with an 180hp 2.0L diesel coupled to a 6 speed automatic gearbox. To put that in comparison, that is 10 more HP than my 1988 2.8L 505V6 and both are more than adequate to power their respective vehicles. Auto Distributors, the New Zealand agent for Peugeot, are marketing the 5008 as its 7 seater range, which this vehicle has configured in three rows. Like all modern SUVs that I have seen sold new in NZ with the third row of seats, the third row seems only appropriate for younger children and the boot space is compromised when they are set up. However this is no criticism of the 5008, it is a reality of the modern SUV and occasional stationwagon, and Peugeot manages to make those third row seats less of a token than many others have and still offers more luggage space at the same time. Gone are the times of three large rows of seats and a big boot as once found in the 203, 404, 504 and 505 wagons.

The GT offers a few extra appointments that the petrol engined Allure doesn’t – which you would expect to be the case when you compare their $10,000 difference in price. These include, but are not limited to, a hands free tailgate release – which I found worked well; a massaging driver’s seat – that frankly didn’t do it for me, though I only tried it in one of its five settings; a different front bumper – which I think does look better and differentiates it from the Allure; an advanced digital dashboard – with easy to use settings to personalise your display as you like it, including an easy to use navigation system. I really enjoyed using that, even though I only drove the vehicle on routes that I knew and had no need for navigation aid. The colouring of the dash board display was easy on the eye and I thought contrasted well to make easy viewing.

The ‘extra’ I marvelled over the most however was the sport setting. This gave the 5008 a more responsive get up and go, and you could really hear it too! However I am told that that was all smoke and mirrors. The get up and go is real, but the sound is not. Apparently there is no perceptible change in the exhaust tones to those on the outside. However within the car, the stereo system emits an amplified exhaust, all electronic trickery, and it is very convincing, in fact totally convincing. It is not the first time that Peugeot have used this. The 308 GT diesel has the same function. However it is a first time for me. I tinkered with the volume of the radio thinking I might catch the ‘exhaust’ out, however even if the talking/music increased or decreased, the exhaust tones didn’t; they just adapted to the situation. I know that it makes no difference to the ride. However it does make a difference to the driving experience, especially for those who wish to enjoy the sound of an open exhaust.
Getting away from the 5008 features, the reality is that once the novelty of a new vehicle and all it has to offer has worn off, it becomes more important to know how useable it is. Peugeot have equipped the 5008 GT with a number of sensors and between them they make driving both easier and safer. There are sensors that pick up road signs and recognise the posted limits, and displays them on the dash. Other sensors warn through a vibration in the steering wheel if you are departing your lane (I intentionally tested that one – it works well). It monitors the drivers blindspots and watches for frontal collision dangers. There are sensors to tell you if things are too close to the sides. [This was the worst function for driving in and out of my driveway as it is thin with vegetation that protrudes into it so the sensors set alarms off like it was a party.] However that was a minor event to put up with when thinking about how convenient it is in unfamiliar places.
I have driven or been a passenger in a number of vehicles recently with reversing cameras. The 5008 GT has by far the best I have experienced. Not only does it show a clear high quality picture of what is behind, it incorporates views of what are alongside the vehicle as well. As you approach a solid object such as a fence or a wall, the view then switches to a near vertical view. I do not know what other vehicles may also offer this feature, but it was a first to me. All reversing cameras should have this feature. It even will park itself, though I didn’t try it. That is not in my driving DNA.
As part of my test drive weekend I drove to Hamilton with Joshua for a football game. Whilst he warmed up I took the 5008 to Hamilton Lake for some photo opportunities, some of which you will see in the magazine.
The drive to Hamilton was effortless, I kept the transmission in the ordinary mode, occasionally changing to sport, but it was totally unnecessary. Despite its large size the SUV feels light and easy to drive, and extremely comfortable too.
Joshua soon started “discovering” the sound system features and how to sync his phone in with the sound system, the Bluetooth abilities and a whole lot of other things I barely understand. His declaration was that the system was better than in his friend’s parents’ Audi Q7, a vehicle that sells new for a minimum of $55,000 more. The traffic on the way home was often at a standstill through various State Highway 1 roadworks. It was a long trip and on this rare occasion I was grateful for the air conditioning (instead of my normal open window), everything you could expect it to be in a modern vehicle.

When I reflect on my three days of driving the 5008GT I can’t really think of anything but praise. It was everything it promised to be and more. So I guess this is my Lexus moment. For the Lexus the criticism from the motoring journalists was that it was so good they could find nothing to criticise it. My Lexus moment came about three weeks after they released it, I found one parked on Percy Street in Mount Eden. I examined it as much as a teenage boy can from the outside, I wasn’t disappointed, I found that it wasn’t all it was supposed to be. I found in small print

Jeanette Grant’s 1st encounter

My husband John has been a Peugeot enthusiast since he bought a secondhand 203 in 1957 to tow his racing car around the country. He subsequently rallied that car satisfactorily for several years and over 20 years ago was delighted to have the chance to buy a 1955 model – and find its handling was just as good as he remembered.
We met on the ARCADIA in 1967. He was going back to England to visit his parents and was planning to pick up a new fuel injected Peugeot 404 on arrival. I am sure the only reason he noticed me was because I knew what it was!
The first Peugeot I had ever encountered was a wine coloured 1965 404 belonging to my brother in law, Con Attwood. He is a farmer at Kumeu and the 404 replaced his Studebaker as a farm vehicle for himself and his stepfather/partner Arawa Worrall. Barbie and Con had young children and appreciated the childproof locks on the rear doors. Arawa did not! A couple of times he happened to be a back seat passenger and did not remember that he would have to wait for the door to be opened from the outside. I wonder if Peugeot ever realised it was possible for an impatient elderly man to actually break off a door handle?
I remember this car fondly as it gave me one of my most satisfying early driving experiences. I had only had my driver’s licence for a couple of months and my sister did not drive at all at that time. We — my parents and I — had been staying at the beach with Barbie and family when she decided that she HAD to go back to the farm for a few hours to pick and freeze beans or she would lose the entire crop.
My parents agreed to look after the three children and we set off — with me driving! Con had hurt his hand and used that as the excuse to put me behind the wheel with him as the quintessential backseat driver. If they gave degrees for heckling, he would hold a PhD!
At this stage, the only car I had driven before was my Mini. This 404 was MUCH bigger and had an unusual gearbox pattern. First and reverse were opposite each other. 2nd and 3rd were opposite – which was a very practical pattern for town driving. Top gear was like an overdrive – out on its own, the way reverse often is today. In those days when seatbelts were optional novelties, the handbrake was set under the dash. Fine if you were unconfined but impossible to reach with a properly adjusted fixed belt.
Anyway we reached the farm without incident and got onto the loose metal farm tracks. Then I had to stop on a steep hill while Barbie opened a gate and Con heckled from the back seat. As an inexperienced driver, hill starts were not yet something to take for granted — particularly in a 404 with the handbrake positioned so awkwardly underneath the dash.
I still remember the glee with which I successfully made a PERFECT hill start – and the silence from the back seat was an accolade in itself.
Many years later, Arawa died and passed the 404 on to his oldest grandson. We bought it after he let it run out of oil and I used it for several years before passing it on to Reay. as I was NOT going to share a car with him. He was delighted. The odometer only went up to 99000 and then started over again and we weren’t sure how many times it had been round the clock. There was no rust in the body and he spent many hours stripping and sanding the body and had it repainted in pale grey – a nonstandard colour which suited the bodyshape very well. Unfortunately he had an offroad excursion a year or so later and bent the chassis rails. and as the car was older than he was it was uneconomic to repair.
I have owned and driven half a dozen other 404s since, but I still look back with affection at this very first one. From 1985-2006 my personal vehicles were 404 stationwagons., a vehicle I consider had only one main defect – no slowspeed window wipers. Apart from that it suited me down to the ground. The first one was a white Family Estate with three rows of seats. It had a diesel engine and it was no slug. I regularly beat more modern cars away from the lights. Unfortunately it had come over from Rhodesia as deck cargo and rust in the chassis rails eventually proved its doom. It was replaced by a gold coloured 404SW which I parted with regretfully when I retired as we felt four cars were really not needed for the two of us.
I am currently deriving a 306xrdt which is an ideal town car, but I still look back very fondly on the 404SWs. They could make a U-turn in Mountain Rd where Jap cars had to make a 3 point turn!.

John Cooney’s 1st encounter

My first Peugeot came long after I was introduced to the brand. The first Peugeot I became aware of was a pale blue and white 403 which our local parish priest drove. My Dad drove an Austin A50 Cambridge, which was pretty cool for a young boy, but the 403 was something else again -so cool and so flash.
My next introduction to the Peugeot brand was a friend buying a white 404. How flash! I had the chance to drive from Melbourne to Sydney return with him and I had the chance to take the wheel. What a car!
I fell in love with it but unfortunately my budget didn’t extend to such an exotic
So quite some years later as a married man with a baby, the need came to sell my Honda Accord hatchback, (a Japanese version of the car I really wanted—a VW Scirocco) and the requirements, as laid down by my wife, were that the new car had to have a boot large enough for a folding pram, a baby bath come change table and a bag filled with all the needs of a young baby! I checked Holdens, Falcons and some others until one day my latent Francophile obsession came to the surface and I checked out a 505.
Wow, everything fitted as required with room to spare and so my first Peugeot became a manual 505GR, one of the very first of that particular model which did not have power steering and certainly did not have much power, but it was great to drive, was super comfortable for trips and felt unbreakable.
I loved the uncomplicated dash, the big comfy seats, the room in the back for my parents to spread out in comfort and the fact that I was driving a car which in an era of Holdens and Falcons, was different. I did quite a lot of miles in that car. It wasn’t the most economical car I had ever owned, but that was at a time when petrol was cheap, so economy was never an issue. Best part about it was that my wife enjoyed the car because of the space, but never drove it as she could not handle the lack of power steering even with the huge number of turns lock to lock which was meant to compensate for the strength required.
Eventually that car was sold and it was replaced by an automatic 505 Executive, a major step up in so many ways. It in turn was replaced by a string of Peugeots which have continued to this day- but those are stories for another time!

Don Hadfield’s 1st encounter

I started playing around with cars before I left school and got a driver’s licence in 1951, learning on a Citroen Light 15. I acquired my licence in a Morris Minor High Light which belonged to Len Adams in Whangarei and was the first High LIght to be had, an absolute breeze to drive after the Citroen L15.
I moved to Auckland after that and in 1954 started selling car from Cantral Car Sales 329 Queen St opposite Campbell Motors
My most memorable encoounter with Peugeot was with a 403 in Thames in about 1963, when I was employed at the local agent for Austin, a marque I had a grat deal of success with.
A loclal Paeroa resident came to us to look at an Austin A99 Westminster, which he and his wife subsequently ended up buying. They traded in a Peugeot 403 that had been used as a taxi and although it had done over 200,000 miles, it was superb in every respect; not a rattle or squeak could be found.
Now the management did not want a bar of this strange French car, and this was before the days when Campbell Tube Products started the assembly of Peugeot, Renault, Hino etc in the soon to be new factory in Thames whiich is still in action today, although not now assembling cars. Anyway, I digress.
In this era you had no trouble selling cars; the main problem was buying them and so I got around both the North and South Islands buying cars.
During this time I made a lot of contacts and one of them was Grant Chappell of Federal Motors in Christchurch. They were agents for both Peugeot and Renault and would buy any of them sight unseen – but they must be accurately described. So this ois where the 403 went. I drove it to Wellington and they had it picked up from there whil I bought another car in Wellington to retun to Thames. I used to travel about 40,000 miles a year through the 1960s and ‘70s. In later years we would put them on a transporter, though I do remember once taking down a 404 and passing the Cambridge Golf Club on the way to Christchurch, I lost a windscreen. This was not a stone from a passing car or truck but a small hole on both sides of the screen suggested a bullet. Fortunately I was able to source a new screen in Cambridge.
As you will gather, the thread of Peugeot, renault & Citroen was about to gather momentum.
This was a time when most dealers only wanted to buy & sell Auston, Morris, Ford, Vauxhall etc, so we found a market most dealers did not want, so almost any trader was looking for a buyer for “foreign!!” cars. Again we were happy till the time came and dealers became short of stock and so retained most of the trade ins, and lo and behold they managed to retail them without the world collapsing around their ears. That made life a not more difficult, althogh we now have a similar scenario between automatics & manuals & high mileage cars.
For the past 64 years I have bought, sold, traded, cleaned and repaired many different cars and trialled and raced some of thme also. Many of them were Peugeots, Citroens and Renaults and since about 1977 I have specialized in these French cars. Not all of them were great, but you needed to drive them to find out.
I had an interesting ownership of a Peugeot 604 – but that and some of the others will keep for another day.

John Grant’s 1st encounter

Before the NW motorway was opened in 1956, the Northern Sportscar Club organised a standing quarter-mile sprint followed by a flying quarter mile sprint along the new motorway near the Te Atatu offramp. I went along on my pushbike, having recently arrived in NZ and living at the top of the Waikumete Hill. This was where I saw my first Peugeot 203. Ron Roycroft had brought one along as well as his Bugatti. It was actually his wife’s car. Campbell Motors had given it to them as a discount when they bought an Alfa P3B to compete in the Grand Prix.

When I came to NZ, my first rally efforts were in a Standard 10 which I owned for a few months to do up. I joined to the MG Car Club, but the MG itself became unsuitable for reliability trials, which in those days were likely to be 12-24 hour events. I had limited success with the Standard 10. It was reliable enough but being a typical English car, the brakes were minute and they never lasted the route – even if they were adjusted halfway.

In 1956 I bought what was to be the first of many Peugeots. It was a 1954 203C with 40,000 miles on the clock. By the time I sold it in 1967 we had covered over a quarter of a million action-packed miles and I had become a lifetime fan of Peugeot handling and reliability.

The Peugeot 203 was great. We competed in both the North and South Islands. Peter Elford or John Dowling were my usual navigators and we were often placed in the first half dozen. I never won any of the really big ones, but we came close enough to keep us really keen.

Initially I tried to keep the mileage down on the 203 and used the Standard 10 as it was a little peppier, being a smaller car with almost the same size engine. It didn’t handle, steer or stop as well as the 203, but I had no compunction about drilling holes in it for extra lights etc. For the year or so I had it, we tended to alternate the use of the two cars.

The 203 was used for towing the racing car as well as for trialling. The engine was very slightly modified. We took the plate off the head behind the distributor and made an inlet manifold on that side. It was an approved factory modification which made it into a true crossflow motor. This made it go very much better. It revved a lot sweeter and it made about 10mph difference to the top speed without affecting fuel economy. We added a Weber twin choke carburettor too. The only disadvantage was that it occasionally iced in winter, which was the reason it hadn’t been done that way in the first place although the Darl’mats were modified in that way.

Basically the 203 was always absolutely reliable. It only had one failure at about 250,000 miles. Coming back from Napier one Sunday afternoon after one of the Blossom Rallies, a universal broke at 75mph near Te Puke. All of a sudden there was an almighty crash from under the car. My first thought was that I had broken a crankshaft or a conrod so my foot went on the clutch smartly and we coasted to a stop. To my surprise and relief the engine was turning over sweetly when we stopped.

The universal is out of sight inside the torque tube, so it took a while to figure out why we had no drive. Maurice Washer Motors in Te Puke serviced some local Peugeot taxis and had it back on the road by the following afternoon and I flew back down to pick it up. This was the day after the plane crash in the Kaimais.

I sold the car in 1967 as I was going overseas and got almost as much as I had paid for it. It made such a lasting impression on me that when I had the opportunity to buy a 1955 203C in 1990, I did not hesitate very long – and all I have had to do to it is to give it some cosmetic improvements. It still rides and handles extremely well for a car older than my sons.