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The number is 5008

Story by Brian O Loughlin

Wednesday, 14th April, 2010 5:00pm

The number is 5008

Peugeot has been making cars that are fun to drive for more than a generation now, since the fantastic 205 - a modern classic - which was introduced in 1983. The French company is still doing it, with a model from the opposite end of the range now - a people carrier that seats seven and is designed with families in mind.

The 5008 is a large car but it hides that bulk with simple, elegant lines. It doesn't have the huge grille other Peugeots have to suffer; instead the air intakes are integrated across the front and the brand's lion sits atop them as a focal point. The creases on the bonnet either side of that badge lead the eye to the windscreen and roof and there's a straightforward sweep from the top of the headlights back under the windows to the rear of the car, where it flicks up just above the rear light cluster.

So far, so French... in the sense of stylish and good looking. Is it practical too?

We took the 5008 to The Children's House creche in Ashbrook, Cavan town, where Niall and Finn Crowe gave it a quick test run under the watchful eye of creche owner Antoinette Gibbons. They all seemed happy enough and there was any amount of room for the boys to move around inside.

Then it was on to The Anglo-Celt office for couple of the mothers on the staff to give the car a once-over. Their verdict? Good looking; the seats are easily wipeable; there is lots of practical storage space; pull-down trays are useful; and it's compact overall.

One point that came up was about the amount of boot space available when all seven seats are up, but several bags of shopping would still fit, or a pushchair, and when the last two seats are down, the boot is enormous... Peugeot says that with the row three seats folded down and the row two seats folded forward, the capacity is 2,506 litres.

The rest of the interior is just as roomy - accentuated by the panoramic glass roof - and safe too (curtain airbags extend all the way to the back), and while the family are secure and comfortable, Peugeot hasn't forgotten the driver. That person has a comfortable place to spend time, from the seats and pedals to controls that fall naturally to the hand.

It's an enjoyable drive too. Why shouldn't the person at the wheel have fun, Peugeot reasons, with considerable justification.

The engine is punchy and eager, the steering is as sharp as a sport car's, there is barely any body roll and the grip the 5008 has is stunning considering its bulk.

There's no compromise between that fine handling and a suspension set-up that soaks up imperfections either, and the roads of Cavan are as good a test as any thanks to plentiful potholes and bumps of all shapes and sizes.

One of Peugeot's advertising lines says that the 5008 will be 'enjoyed by families, loved by drivers' and it's true. The driver's pocket will also be happy enough as the HDi 110bhp diesel version emits 140g CO2/km and falls into VRT band B (€156). It is available from €26,870 ex-works.

Call Jacksons Garage on 049-4330800 or drop in to the showroom at Poles and talk to the sales team.

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