Peugeot's revised 5008 seven-seater is stylish, pleasurable to drive, extraordinarily comfortable and highly equipped
Peugeot's revised 5008 seven-seater: Mostly peachy Pug The Peugeot 5008 has superb ride quality. Despite its comfort-biased set-up, the car handles sharply, aided by a sporty steering wheel which is grippy, quick and communicative. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) project an active lifestyle, but are usually dull to drive. Multipurpose vehicles project a dull lifestyle and are equally dull to drive.

Peugeot, however, has been able to combine the traits of the two genres and emerge with a winning formula: the 5008.

The main reason for this uncommon feat lies with the seven-seat crossover's chassis, which it shares with the brilliantly sorted Peugeot 3008.

And like the 3008, the 5008 has just been revised after the latest generation was launched here 18 months ago.

Its 1.6-litre turbocharged engine gets more power and torque now, with 181hp from 5,500rpm and 250Nm from 1,650rpm. Previously, it had 163hp at 6,000rpm, and 240Nm from 1,400rpm.

Its automatic transmission gets two more cogs to make eight. At the same time, it is tuned for a meatier mid-range, which makes for breezier acceleration on the fly.

The 5008 is now like champion sprinter Usain Bolt, who is often not the first off the starting block, but becomes blindingly fast in the second half of a 100m dash.

The multi-seat Pug takes 9.4 seconds to complete the century sprint, a tad slower than the 9.2 seconds it clocked previously. But top speed is noticeably higher at 222kmh, versus 206kmh previously.

Its more relaxed gearing results in a small improvement in fuel efficiency - 5.7 litres/100km compared with 5.8 before. On the flip side, kick-down elicits a slower response.

The better efficiency is despite the car having more features onboard. These include adaptive cruise control, which is standard fare for both the Active and higher Allure grade car.

The latter grade, tested here, also comes with blind spot monitor, lane-keeping (which can be switched off) and fully automatic LED headlamps.

Other options found in the Allure include memory driver's seat, flipdown trays for rear occupants, rear window blinds and panoramic sunroof.

The additional features, plus cosmetic differences, make the Allure $14,000 costlier than the Active, which is priced at $146,888. That makes the car almost $30,000 costlier than the Toyota Prius+, a seven-seater of a similar size.

The Peugeot, however, drives a whole lot better than the Toyota. Its ride quality is superb, matched only by cars with air suspension. Despite its comfort-biased set-up, the car handles sharply, aided by a sporty steering wheel which is grippy, quick and communicative.

The 5008 behaves nothing like the lumbering, rolling examples in the multi-seat SUV segment.

Its compactness, however, means third-row access and accommodation may be trying for those who are of less-than-compact frames.

The car is still very modern, with a digital cockpit with nautical-style gauges and a gear shift lever which is both pleasing to the eye and to the touch.

The controls are mostly intuitive, with a drive mode selector just aft of the gear lever and not hidden in a digital menu or lost among other buttons.

The only thing that does not gel is Peugeot's age-old cruise control fob. It is the most unfriendly assembly of switches found in any car, requiring lots of fiddling and guesswork.

The French resistance to change on this front is inexplicable.