What are they?
Seven seat SUVs is what they are, and if you’re looking for a big, cavernous family SUV that can cope with carrying all of your kids and their stuff, and occasionally their mates as well, then these will likely be what you’re looking at. They take on the likes of the Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento in the circa lb30k seven-seat SUV market, but we’ve already established that these newer rivals better them thanks to their broader range of engines, superior efficiency and better practicality.
Here we’re testing them in top-spec guises, meaning that you’re looking at lb36k or around lb500 per month, but you’re getting a fully specced, automatic version of the highest powered diesel offered in each range. The big difference? The Skoda comes with four-wheel drive (you can have it without if you go for a lower-powered diesel or petrol engine), while the Peugeot is front-wheel drive only.
You can read our full range reviews of the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq, and scroll down to see full galleries of both cars, but here we’ll find out which one’s best for finances, equipment levels, practicality, and on-road manners, and ultimately which one’s the best budget seven-seat SUV overall.
Which one’s cheapest?
As you can see from our table above, the Skoda wins on purchase costs for retail buyers. It’s cheaper on PCP finance, coming in at lb500 per month – lb30 less than the 5008 – after a lb4000 deposit on a three year contract. It is, however, a bit pricier if you’re buying outright but then it is predicted to hold its value a touch better after three years, so you could well make that money back if you choose to sell on.
However, the Skoda is quite a bit less efficient. Blame that four-wheel drive system… We lived with the Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190 4×4 DSG being tested here for six months and found real-world economy to hover somewhere around the 40mpg mark. Experience with the Peugeot 5008 2.0 BlueHDI 180 showed that it’ll do a bit better than that at around 45mpg. And that’s before it gets a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that, sadly, wasn’t available when we conducted this test so we were stuck with the old six-speed auto that you can’t actually get any more with this engine. So rest assured – if you plump for the 5008, you’re getting the latest automatic gearbox, and all of the figures shown in this test are based on a car fitted with that new gearbox.
That same efficiency shortfall makes the Skoda more expensive for company car buyers by some lb1700 over three years, so score a big one for Peugeot on that front. However, we would point out that the Skoda is offered with this higher-powered, four-wheel drive, automatic drivetrain in lower and cheaper (but still very well equipped) specs such as SE L, while the Peugeot is only offered in this expensive trim level if you want this drivetrain, so there are ways of getting this version of the Skoda a bit cheaper if you’re willing to live without leather upholstery and a few style extras.
Which one’s best equipped?
Check out the table below for the full breakdown of what you get as standard in our top-spec Peugeot 5008 GT and Skoda Kodiaq Edition cars, but in short, the Peugeot 5008 is the better car for standard equipment. Highlights of the Peugeot that you don’t get on the Skoda include the panoramic glass sunroof, blinds on the rear windows, front parking sensors and rear view camera, and traffic sign recognition. So quite a lot, then. Still, both cars get leather upholstery, electrically adjusted front seats, cruise control and LED lights, and Skoda will throw in metallic paint for free where Peugeot will charge you a bit extra.
Both are also well sorted for safety, with standard autonomous emergency braking (AEB) at urban speeds, a full array of airbags, rear parking sensors and lane-keep assist. It’s a shame that you have to pay lb90 on the Skoda to get the speed limit shown on your dials, while the yPeugeot gets that as standard. However, you can add a space saver spate tyre to the Skoda for lb105 (and remarkably it doesn’t even affect the underfloor storage), but you can’t add a spare wheel to the Peugeot at all.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/
Auto lights and wipers
Driver’s seat electric adjustment
Keyless entry and go
Which one’s most practical?
Clearly, both of these cars have got great interior space, so four adults can lounge about in comfort no problem. They also both have huge boots that will take a fleet of with the third row of seats folded. The boot floors are flush to the load lip, both have variable boot floors, and both make it easy to flip up those two narrow, occasional seats should you want them. And once you’ve got those seats up and most of the junior football team installed, there’s still room in both the Peugeot and Skoda (a fraction more in the Skoda, it must be said) left to shove a load of muddy boots and sports kits behind them. For outright boot space, the nod goes to the Skoda for having a fractionally longer boot floor and for offering big cubbies to the side of the space, and for having a bit more space to squeeze stuff in if you’ve got all the seats in use.
Both also have enough room in those rearmost seats for an average-sized adult to be fine for a short journey, although the Skoda’s wider seats are a fraction more comfortable. Both have high floors for those in the sixth and seventh seats, so even a lankier child will notice that their knees are bent and up high, making for achey legs on longer journeys.
Where the Peugeot claws some ground back is with its middle row of seats, which consists of three individual seats of equal width, all of which have Isofix fittings and can be slid for-and-aft individually. This makes it quite a bit more useful than the Skoda, which offers a touch more legroom in its middle row, and its seats can also be folded in a 40/20/40 split, but they only slide in a 60/40 split. More than that, there is only two sets of Isofix, so for anyone trying to figure out which of these is best for seating three young kids still in car seats or booster cushions, the Peugeot is likely to do a usefully better job.
Both have lots of useful details, including bag hooks and the like. The Peugeot has underfloor storage in the floor of the middle row seats (which doesn’t affect safety when using an Isofix base with a support leg), and a convenient carpet in the boot that folds out of the boot to cover the rear bumper so you don’t get muddy knees as you lean in. The Skoda is full of convenient stuff, including a boot floor that can be used to hide stuff underneath it or can separate the boot so that your shopping doesn’t roll around the massive floor area. There’s also an ice scraper in the fuel filler cap, a removable torch in the boot, umbrellas in the front doors, a ticket holder on the windscreen… They’re both pleasingly useful cars, but the Skoda is notable for being brilliant at offering small conveniences that make life infinitely easier in that moment when you really need them.
If you have three young kids to fit in, the Peugeot with its more flexible middle seats, standard rear blinds and remotely activated child locks (the latter two features being a lb180 option that any parent know is well worth adding to the Skoda) is the more useful car. It feels more MPV than SUV in that respect. However, if you’ve got two kids or less, we’d point you in the direction of the Skoda, with its slightly bigger boot and roomier occasional seats.
And the driving position?
Skoda is all over this one. Both cars get electrically adjustable seats, which includes adjustable lumbar support, and both offer great visibility. But the Peugeot’s oddly small steering wheel and driver info screen (fully digital with various colours and layouts, no less) is viewed above the wheel, which can force you to adopt a slightly unnatural position.
The Skoda’s driving position is more conventional, with a straightforward driver’s readout that’s easy to understand at a glance. All the buttons are where you expect them to be, and you can even go for the elbow-on-the-windowsill, Range Rover style position if you choose. It’s a more boring-looking dash than the Peugeot’s, which has an impressive array of textile and metal finishes, and an aura of glamour that Peugeot should be seriously chuffed with since it’s great. It could be what sways you if you like a really posh-feeling interior. But the Skoda is just more comfortable and easier to use.
The Skoda also has the better infotainment system. While both cars get touchscreens, with sat-nav, bluetooth audio streaming and handsfree, AppleCarplay and Android Auto, DAB radio and USB input, the Skoda’s screen is bigger, has better graphics, is quicker to respond when you prod it, and is more intuitive to use as a whole.
How do they drive?
Both cars are easy to drive, but the Peugeot is let down by its oddly weighted steering, which is emphasised by that small steering wheel. Turn-in feels a bit too nervous for a car of this nature, and then there’s not enough weight as the car loads up through the corner to really give you confidence. It’s not terrible – you get used to it and the 5008 is an easy car to drive by any measure, but jump in the Skoda and it all feels more intuitive and dialled-in. The steering is predictable and responds just fast enough without feeling nervous, the pedal weights are good… It ultimately feels like a big hatchback, where the Peugeot feels a bit more like a big MPV with its squishy control weights and slightly annoying steering.
Of course, the Skoda also has four-wheel drive, so while the front-wheel drive Peugeot feels more than planted and secure enough to satisfy even in bad weather, there will also be those few days when it’s really icy or snowy when the Skoda would just plug on through without a problem, while the Peugeot could more easily leave you stranded.
Neither car offers ideal ride comfort. Both feel a bit lumpy and wallowy at times, and even adding the optional adaptive dampers to the Skoda (they’re not offered on the 5008) doesn’t improve things enough to justify the cost. Still, both are comfy enough that you and your kids are unlikely to be phased by rough road surfaces and speed bumps.
Both engines are really punchy, if best kept in the torque-heavy mid-range, but the Skoda’s is a bit quieter overall. The Skoda’s seven-speed gearbox was also preferable to the now-defunct six-speed automatic in the Peugeot 5008 that we tested, but we’ll have to reserve judgement on Peugeot’s new eight-speed auto until we can have a go. Even the old six-speed auto is smooth if slow, so we’d hazard a guess that the new ‘box will be more than up to the job.
Overall, both of these cars are relaxing and reassuringly easy to drive, whether you’re judging them in tight spaces or doing a tedious motorway commute. The Skoda takes the win for its more enjoyable and intuitive steering, and for the appeal of that four-wheel drive ability. If you plan on towing, the Skoda’s far better maximum towing capacity is another reason that the Kodiaq wins for on-road ability.
Which one wins?
The Skoda Kodiaq gets the nod here for being our favourite seven-seat SUV of the circa lb30k market. It’s better to drive than the Peugeot, is in some ways more practical, is cheaper on PCP and has a more comfortable driving position and intuitive infotainment system. We would add that we’d recommend you go for a lower-powered engine and trim – a 2.0 TDI 150 4×4 DSG in SE L trim is hugely cheaper, while still being very well equipped and much the same to drive in normal use.
For all that, the Peugeot is an outstanding family motor, that beats the Skoda for standard equipment and is certainly the better option if you’ve got three young kids to squeeze into the car. It takes an honourable second place in this class.
2017 Skoda Kodiaq review: Practical, spacious, value
2017 Peugeot 5008 review: more MPV than SUV
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe review: Utilitarian but pricey
New Hyundai Santa Fe revealed, goes on sale later this year
2018 Nissan X-Trail Now On Sale From lb23,385
2014 Kia Sorento review: Spacious, functional, likeable
Gallery: 2017 Peugeot 5008
Gallery: Skoda Kodiaq UK First Drive 2017