Everyone is building SUVs. Big ones, little ones, crossover ones, electric ones, luxury ones and cheap ones. The contemporary car market is awash with chunky vehicles that cover every conceivable niche, all promising to boost our engagement with that mystical essence known as ‘lifestyle’.

Peugeot is a relative newcomer to the SUV game but it’s not wasting any time in revising its range to accommodate this almost universal desire for large chunky vehicles. Their push is being spearheaded by the new 5008, the company’s latest flagship, designed to replace the first generation 5008, launched back in 2009. The two are strikingly different, with the curvy MPV form of the original vehicle – and its awkward take on the corporate face – swapped out for a larger, more squared-off SUV shape. The new 5008 is also closely related to the slightly smaller 3008 but adds another row of seats to take the total to seven.

The 5008 carries on the design legacy of the 504 and 505, a pair of big sharp-edged saloons from the 70s and 80s

In many respects, the 5008 is a spiritual successor to Peugeot’s 504 and 505, a pair of big sharp-edged saloons from the 70s and 80s that live on as taxi cabs and pick-up trucks and delivery vehicles in North Africa. Both cars were given a bit of styling assistance from Pininfarina, a fruitful relationship that ultimately didn’t last, and as a result, Peugeot’s design mojo went to ground at the turn of the century. Happily, the 3008 and 5008 have rediscovered the bold bluff angularity of those early cars, marking a welcome return to the pugnacious, compact, feline elegance of its best designs. Slashes of chrome accent the tall bodywork, and the long wheelbase and wheel in each corner stance gives the car a foursquare, upright feel.

The 5008 is also notable for having an excellent interior, with one of the best-looking dashboards in this particular market sector. Low and sleek, with a compact steering wheel and switch gear that clicks with a reassuring snap, it also has a touch screen that’s quick and responsive. Overall, the cabin architecture bears out the promise shown in the company’s noughties-era concept cars. The only slight downside is a lack of actual physical space, especially in the back seats, despite the 5008’s size. A smooth and economical petrol engine rounds off the package – a hybrid isn’t due until the start of next year. The 5008 is a fine machine although there will soon be another model to top it – an all-new 508 model. Has the world finally moved on from the big saloon? Luckily for Peugeot, the 5008 is a fine fall-back position.