Peugeot had its 805 and 806 models from the mid-'90s all the way through to the mid-'00s, proper full-size MPVs built on shared platforms with Citroen, Fiat and Lancia. The Peugeots were never really very successful, though, underlining the received wisdom that big Peugeots just don't sell.
The car that should change that is the 5008, a long-awaited entry into the compact MPV field. Lining up against competitors as diverse as the Volkswagen Sharan and the sportier Ford S-Max, the 5008 has its work cut out for it.
The 5008 does mark a new direction in styling for the French firm, and it is much welcome. The brash open-mouthed grille has been replaced with something a little more understated and certainly a lot more stylish. It's not the best-looking MPV, but it does look much better resolved than Peugeot's awkward SUV efforts.
The platform sharing continues with this car, but it's not merely a regurgitated version of someone else's car with new badges stuck on, the platform is shared with Citroen's C4 Picasso. That this isn't obvious just from looking at the two is progress.
Peugeot's attempts to move the brand more upmarket continue with the 5008 too - all cars get ESP, air con and an electric handbrake, whilst top of the range cars come festooned with luxurious goodies like a panoramic glass roof and head-up display.
The dashboard manages to feel vaguely upmarket, and is definitely an improvement on previous Peugeots, but there are patches of unsightly shiny plastic that jar. The further back you go the more workmanlike the materials become, but this could be necessary to make sure the interior can take the abuse.
All the seats in the rear are easily folded into the floor, and that they can do so individually is a useful gimmick for the 5008. The rearmost set of seats is easily accessed by folding one of the middle chairs out of the way and legroom isn't as much as compromise as you'll find on many such seven-seaters.
The 5008 handles quite enthusiastically, providing some driver amusement - but it's not yet up there with the superb Ford S-Max for fun. The keen handling comes at the expense of ride, which is niggly and less soothing than the Citroen Picasso's. The 5008 comes with the usual array of competitive diesels, though, so you can easily put a car together that suits your needs.