This month I found a stalk tucked behind the steering wheel and covered in cobwebs. Aha, I said, this must activate those things they apparently call the headlights. I donít, as they say, get out much these days. Well not at night. But with the evenings fast rushing in as we head into autumn, the experience of night-time driving has suddenly become more of a probable element in this 5008 ownership trial.
Itís not that I donít like nocturnal travel. In fact, I love it and, although the old rods and cones apparently keep deteriorating as we get older, with the result that glare and retina-frying LEDs from oncoming traffic take longer for your eyes to shake off, I still feel thereís something confidence-inspiring in the unlit road. In these rural parts, it actually makes winding lanes far safer, though you do have to think badger, fox and deer more than you might need to worry about those ever-present daytime cyclists lurking around the next bend.
When I was five, my mother used to tell us that a witch had taken control of the headlamps, so theyíd automatically dip, at her evil behest. My mumís secret, of course, was that Morris Travellers, like my own 1959 saloon, have a foot-activated beam adjuster. But I can now con my own kids, as we approach Halloweíen, that some sort of entity is helping me pilot the 5008, automatically dipping the beam whenever another vehicle approaches.
It might be a bit previous to marvel at such technology, but this is one of the 5008ís nice little touches that makes it such a great long-term companion ñ jump from this into a non-auto-headlamped car and youíll be tutting at the skinflint idiots who left the option out.
Itís still, however, not the best factor when you embark on a night-time venture; Iíd hand that gong to the heated thrones. Seats are really not an apt enough description for the chairs for front and middle passengers in this machine; each is an individual work of ergonomic art and offers all you need to know about why the 3008 and 5008 is such a cut above so many rivals. Speaking as someone with the osteopathic integrity of Quasimodo, I can do an hour in one of these and barely feel like weíve started. Draw an evolutionary chart for car comfort and Iíd put the Lotus Esprit at the primordial end and the 5008 at today. Itís like sitting in a Bentley, without the social flak.
Not that the ride is so impeccable. Gloucestershireís roads are now so war-torn by weather and lack of the public purse that any car is challenged, but the 5008 has notable trouble masking all the undulations at around 40mph, which is where most of our bimbling occurs. Either the UK needs to get a grip on road quality, or car makers are going to need to dial in some new settings. I shudder at what this winter will be like ñ and so does the 5008.
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Date arrived 9th March 2018
Fuel economy 57.6mpg (combined) 38.9mpg (on test)
Beam me up: auto-headlamp dipping. Once lived with, it’s hard to go without.
Blind fury: that centre headrest is a bane for rear visibility. It needs a remote adjustment knob.