Can Peugeot kick some collective butt this time?

Peugeot has endured a roller coaster existence in Australia.

Introduced here in 1949, it cemented a reputation when the tough 203 sedan won the tortuous Redex Trial in 1953.

Other robust and practical Pugs followed – the 504 and 505 models of the late 1960s through to the mid 80s. Then one of a more memorable hot hatches, the 205.

But too many models that followed failed to hit the spot here.

Varying product appeal, changes in distributorship arrangements, and an at times sketchy reputation for reliability tended to hinder consumer acceptance.

It didn’t help the parent company PSA was in strife too, slipping to the edge of bankruptcy in 2013, before an impressive turnaround on the back of attractive products and a shakeup to improve cost competitiveness.  

Sales surged 15.4 per cent last year — globally.

Now Peugeot is undergoing another rolling relaunch in Australia under new distributor Inchcape (the company that has enjoyed great success selling Subaru here).

A new executive team headed by impressive female MD Anouk Poelmann is making big changes to boost brand image and visibility.

Acknowledging Australia as a “competitive and unforgiving” market, she wants Peugeot to be viewed as a premium marque, pointing to an already better-than-industry average for quality.

“There’s a need for us to get it right, offering cars that meet or exceed customers’ expectations,” she said.

Sales are already up by one third since Inchcape took control early last year. The model line-up has been simplified, and features added to boost value, and a new dealership identity initiated.

Ten years ago Peugeot didn’t have an SUV in its line-up. Now it has several.



The latest is the company’s first seven-seat SUV, the 5008, launched this month and built on the company’s versatile modular EM2 platform.

It looks to be cherry picking the best aspects of a traditional people mover but repackaged as an SUV.

Pitched into a  hugely competitive mid-sized segment as a rival to the likes of the Nissan X-Trail ST-L, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Skoda Kodiaq and Hyundai Santa Fe, the comprehensively equipped 5008 is offered at three levels starting with the Allure at $42,990.

The turbo petrol available in the Allure and GT Line conjures up 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm from 1400rpm.

The torquey diesel exclusive to the range topper generates 133kW at 3750rpm and all of 400Nm at 2000rpm.

Both four cylinders drive through a six-speed Aisin auto. The petrol versions return an official 7.0L/100km, and the diesel 4.8.

This is impressively efficient considering the rig weighs 1473 to 1575kg.

Note there are no low-cost Access or Active levels of the 5008. It’s part of positioning the new SUV  further up the caste system — this is not a price-point vehicle.  

These are certainly not budget prices, but consumers should look beyond the tag to the quality presentation and long list of standard inclusions.

All variants are front-drive only, although a feature called Advanced Grip Control, paired to all-seasons mud and snow rubber, is optionally  available.

With five grip modes (normal, snow, mud, sand, ESP OFF) selected using a central console dial, it bolsters traction and optimises slip resistance.

The Allure, expected to account for 65 per cent of local sales of the 5008, gets much of the gear from the higher-level GT Line and GT HDi, but makes do without folding door mirrors, seat heating, a dynamic Sport Pack and some of the safety help stuff.

Yet even the cheapest of the trio gets standard eight airbags, including curtains that protect all three rows, adaptive cruise control, distance alert, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, Peugeot’s i-Cockpit (a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel), eight-inch capacitive touchscreen, navigation, digital radio, surround-view camera, 18-inch alloys and so much more.

The  French designed, engineered and made 5008 is the only SUV on the Australian market to offer Isofix and top tether child seat fixing points for all second-row occupants. This allows the use of three child seats employing the latest restraint technology.

Moving up to the $46,990 GT Line model, your extra four grand brings a hands-free power tailgate, LED headlights, high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assistance, a black roof and ‘Sports’ front bumper and grille.

The 5008 SUV line-up is topped by the GT HDi priced from $52,990 that additionally gets the diesel engine plus 19-inch alloys, Alcantara door and dashboard trim inserts, electrically adjustable driver’s seat with massage function, heated front seats, chrome mirror shells and wheel arch extensions.

All levels get a wonderfully flexible seating/cargo options.

The two third row seats can be folded flat, or removed completely (they weigh just 11 kilos). Every seat except the driver’s may be folded flat to take long, large loads.  Cargo space is 952 litres with five seats in place. This expands to 2042 litres when the second rows seats are flattened.

Tellingly, it’ll carry four people and a surfboard.

Petrol engine models are blessed with an 18-inch steel rim spare. The diesel makes do with a puncture repair kit.

Servicing costs always come into the thinking of potential buyers.

The 5008 petrol: 12mths/20,000km = $470. 24mths/40,000km = $782. 36mths/60,000km = $470 = First three year total = $1722.

Diesel model: 12mths/20,000km = $446. 24mths/40,000km = $757. 36mths/60,000km = $446 = First three year total = $1649.

A five-year warranty is in place for all Peugeot models until the end of March.

And so the battle begins at Peugeot to get the 5008 on to shopping lists of Aussie SUV buyers.


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