My motoring month has been one of bloke and machine in pretty harmonious cohabitation. In fact, Iíve been thinking about knocking together one of those coffee table books that gets discounted to 49p in garden centres: Mindful Motoring (subtitle: how to stay serene in a world of driving idiots).
Chapter one would be about Finding Your Space. And there’s no problem on that issue here, in many senses. The 5008’s driving cockpit is sweet sanctuary from the fussier, less relaxed environments of many an SUV. A symphony of black, as a colour scheme, absorbs emotion as much as it does light, while all those sumptuous piano key buttons and textured, soft-touch controls engender a feeling thatís less zap and more Zen. The expanse of the 5008 reinforces this mood, too: when I nip around to the local shop in our Fiat Panda, a car I adore despite its latest MoT torture, I am nevertheless led to feel that all those drivers of beaten-up Discoverys and battered double cabs would smudge me off the road without so much as a second thought. In this, people see you and give you space.
The rest of the book must be about Getting There. As in enjoying the journey, rather than clenching your teeth for the chequered flag. To illustrate, I voyaged to Exeter University on a sunny late-autumn day, found a cruising speed of just under the national speed limit, watched the rev needle repose at 1,650rpm while the engine purrs (if you could hear it at all) along in eighth speed. Cog number eight is a hallowed plateau akin to reaching the head of the queue for nirvana. Peugeotís very smart-thinking transmission wonít let you get to it by impatient paddling; you have to have earned it. And its reward, reinforced by the floaty bliss of the suspension at higher motorway speeds, is likely to be addictive. My son hasnít committed to Exeter as yet, but three years of parental shuttles to this destination, in this car, would surely signify a cushy alternative to some of his more urban options.
On that point, in-town driving, is something for the footnotes. The 5008 can be a growling grouch on a cold morning and poorly surfaced roads donít bring out its suspension best. Although I know the reality of life with this car, I still picture it as an expensive marketing agency, sweeping effortlessly over faultless tarmac towards a distant continental horizon, radio hard-wired to Classic FM while your perma-smiling wife and children quietly munch Ferrero Rocher. Reality is more like hanging a left for Lidl after caving in to rear-seat terrorism for a McDonaldís drive-thru, but we can at least dream. And with the 5008, I sense that that behind-the-wheel Buddhism, on the right day, with the right journey, is deliverable. Perhaps itís what Mindful Motoring is all about?
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Date arrived 9th March 2018
Fuel economy 57.6mpg (combined) 38.5mpg (on test)
5008’s snazzy interior is so chic it would give Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen cabin fever.
Those lumpy, grumpy, noisy morning starts, though I know how it feels.