SUV Group Test

Who says seven seaters need to be dreary? These three SUVs prove they can be cool

Rob Adams
Wednesday 29 November 2017 13:44
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All three SUVs we’re testing here both seat seven yet also look stylish and appealing while doing it. Even the Peugeot 5008, a second-generation new model that’s as flashy as the previous one was humdrum. It’s a car that’s encouraged arch-rival Nissan to get out the shiny paint for its facelifted X-Trail: we’re testing both here against the current class-leader, Skoda’s Kodiaq.

All three have turbodiesel engines, and two of them, the Skoda and the Peugeot, have 2.0-litre motors producing 148bhp. The Skoda is fastest on paper, but the Peugeot performs best in the real world; both outperform the 128bhp 1.6-litre Nissan, in bald figures and out on the road. It’s hard to disguise the noisy Nissan engine’s relative lack of power.

Nissan X-Trail

The X-Trail is actually the noisiest car all round, with the 5008 taking the refinement honours. It also rides extremely nicely, with a smoothness that’s in complete contrast to the bobbing, thuddy Nissan – it’s 19-inch wheels simply can’t cope with bad British roads. Mind you, the Skoda also had 19-inch wheels, and it too struggled, particularly on motorways.

Kodiaq drivers will enjoy decent handling in compensation though, with nice feel through the steering, decent grip and agile responses. But the Peugeot isn’t disgraced; once you’ve got use to its bizarrely small steering wheel, you feel decent feedback that gives you reassuring confidence. And the Nissan? It’s like an SUV from a decade ago alongside the others, with too much sway and too little feedback. Very disappointing.

Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDi 150 GT Line 

You’ll find a good driving position in all three models, with multi-adjustable seats and steering wheels, although the electric-adjust seats of the Nissan and Skoda are an expensive option in the Peugeot. Being SUVs, they have commanding driving positions offering good visibility, and although the Nissan has the smallest rear window, it has the most comprehensive 360-degree parking camera.

The Peugeot has the most novel interior, relying heavily on digital screens placed high on the dash in your eyeline. It contrasts with the traditional interiors of the other two, although in user-friendliness, there’s not much to split any of them. The 5008 does have the most futuristic interior, one that also feels very luxurious, although the Skoda seems to be the best-built. Again, the Nissan lags the others, with a dated look and twangy quality.

​Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 2WD DSG Edition 7st

We though the Nissan’s infotainment system was easy to use, but it looks dated and has a small screen. The 5008 is better-looking, but frustrating, as its screen is slow to respond. Best overall is the Skoda’s 9.2in screen, with fast-acting responses and umpteen built-in features including online services.

What about the all-important rear seat space? Well, tall people won’t like the X-Trail’s standard panoramic roof, because it eats into headroom; our test Peugeot had one too, and was similarly afflicted. They bathe the cabin in light, but for some, the compromises won’t be worth it. More generally, it’s the 5008 that has the best all-round space, and the only one to offer three individual chairs to middle-seat passengers. It’s the best in the third row too, with more headroom than the Kodiaq and more legroom than the X-Trail, although none of them are exactly palatial.

Nissan X-Trail

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 5008 also thus has the best boot with the rearmost seats folded down. It took 10 of our test suitcases, compared to nine for the Kodiaq and eight for the Nissan. The 5008’s boot is well-shaped too, and you can even fold the front passenger seat away and stow loads three metres long.

Because it’s so new, don’t expect a discount on the 5008. We also don’t yet have PCP rates, but do expect it to be in the ballpark of £430 a month for three years with £3500 deposit and 10,000 miles a year: both the Nissan and the Skoda do. Also expect around mid-40mpg from all three in real-world use, with the Peugeot having an advantage for fleet drivers thanks to its lower CO2 emissions.

Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDi 150 GT Line 

All told, the Peugeot has surprised us. The old one was a dullard, yet here’s the new one going head-to-head with the class champ, Skoda’s Kodiaq. Not only that – we reckon it comes out ahead of the Skoda, just, because of its impressive practicality, and because of the Skoda’s poor ride.

That leaves the X-Trail trailing in third place. It may recently have been facelifted, but it’s not enough. It’s weak in too many areas, from a crashy ride, to poor handling, to refinement that’s simply not on a par with the others. Try again, Nissan.

​Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 2WD DSG Edition 7st

Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDi 150 GT Line Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDi 150 GT Line (4 stars)

List price £31,245
Target Price £31,245
Engine size 4cyl, 1997cc, diesel
Power 148bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 273Ib ft @ 2000rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 10.0sec
Top speed 129mph
Gov't fuel economy 61.4mpg
True MPG 44.3mpg
CO2 emissions 118g/km

Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 150 2WD DSG Edition 7st (4 stars)

List price £33,490
Target Price £32,000
Engine size 4cyl, 1968cc, diesel
Power 148bhp @ 3500-4000rpm
Torque 251Ib ft @ 1750-3000rpm
0-60mph 9.7sec
Top speed 123mph
Gov't fuel economy 52.3mpg
True MPG 42.8mpg
CO2 emissions 123g/km

Nissan X-Trail (2 stars)

List price £33,470
Target Price £31,833
Engine size 4cyl, 1598cc, diesel
Power 128bhp @ 4000rpm
Torque 236Ib ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 10.2sec
Top speed 116mph
Gov't fuel economy 55.4mpg
True MPG 45.1mpg
CO2 emissions 133g/km

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