5008 state

A NEIGHBOUR of mine, who knows or cares little about cars, always asks how much my latest test machine costs.

And he allows himself a gentle grin when I confess it’s the dearest version in the range, with all the bells and whistles . . . and then some more.

A cynic (who, me?) might believe this is because the plusher the car, the more it is likely to impress.

The manufacturer might reply, and quite possibly mean it, that supplying me with the full Monty gives me a chance to appraise all the clever kit it can supply to a budding punter with deep enough pockets.

So no surprise that the car tested here sits at the very pinnacle of the Peugeot 5008’s ambitions and comes so loaded with kit you wonder what could possibly be added (heated seats would top my list of no-shows).

This seven seater (the small adult-sized third row folds away into the floor) majors more on practicality and fixtures and fittings than it does on sheer driving pleasure, which won’t give most owners a moments’ concern.

It does what it says on the tin; provides spacious, pretty comfortable family motoring at a price the right side of silly. Actually, the bargain basement version of the 5008 costs £17,895 and makes a good case for your money.

Its petrol engine won’t provide the performance or economy of the dearer, diesel powered models but it comes close enough for lots of owners not to care.

And the standard spec has the essentials of air con, electronic stability control and even an electronic parking brake that releases itself as you move off.

And like every 5008 it has those seven convenient seats and the ability to juggle boot space from modest (with all the seats at work) to positively van-like with rows two and three folded flat.

Still, there’s no denying the attraction of a car loaded with extra buttons (perhaps it’s a man thing?) that reveal yet more goodies at the lightest of touches.

Highlights on the Exclusive model on test were a vast sunroof that floods the cabin with light on the dullest of days (another button push motors out a shade for the sunniest weather) and a head-up display that puts the car’s speed on a see-through panel in your line of sight.

Spend a bit more on this already range-topper and for £525 you can have powerful xenon headlights that turn into corners as you move the steering wheel. Sounds odd but worked so well I know I’m going to miss them when the next test car arrives, without them.

Not that you’ll be twirling the wheel because the 5008 feels like a sports car; it doesn’t and it was never meant to anyway. Nothing wrong with the way it steers and corners – the willing engine pulls well enough too – but this is not a memorable drive.

Show it a smooth road and it does feel a little limo-like, though; comfy enough for passengers to comment on the quality of the ride. Rough roads bring out an underlying firmness, which degrades the picture a little.

Still, the 5008 ought to be on your shortlist if you need to move the family in a degree of comfort.