Every afternoon the temperature inside soars into the high twenties – and sometimes higher – and the air conditioning system struggles to cope with the task of keeping 300 people working at 300 computers cool. An armada of electric fans have been drafted in to help but they’re not much either; the one I borrowed a few days ago lasted two hours before it conked out spectacularly, its malfunctioning motor sounding like a misfiring Transit as it cranked inelegantly to a complete halt.
Happily, I’ve found a workplace far better suited to the searing summer heat – Peugeot’s 5008.
Treat it as a car and it’s perfectly well accomplished, if a bit too clever for its own good. The chief culprit is the electronically-operated tailgate on the GTLine version that I tested, which is marvellous when you emerge from a supermarket weighed down with six bags of shopping and it raises up majestically at the touch of a button. The only problem is that when you just want to nip in and out to grab something quickly – particularly if you’re pulled over at the roadside – it resolutely refuses to let you open or close it quickly yourself. It’s the same story with the digital dashboard, which let me choose between having my dials presented to me in five different ways. Very swish, but a traditional set of dials can present everything I need in just one way a lot more clearly.
Treat as an office – as I did at a car show last weekend – and it’s absolutely tremendous, though. Peugeot’s been making lots of noises about this latest 5008 being a trendy SUV but look closer and the spirit of its predecessor – which was unapologetically a people carrier – lives on. There are seven seats (with the two at the very back folding into the floor) and inside there’s lots of room for children and little cubby holders to stash their stuff. Most importantly, it has two fairly hefty tables that fold out from behind the front seat – so once I’d set my laptop up on one and positioned the front passenger seat just so, I could clamber into the rear and get to work.
It was – sorry, folk at Classic Car Weekly – way more comfy than my office at work once I’d parked up in the shade, settled into my leather throne and flicked on the air con. I could even have the windows open to let a breeze in, but with Peugeot covering each up with nifty little nets none of the bugs outside could fly in, and there was even a brace of cupholders to stop my can of Diet Coke from sliding off and making a mess of the carpets.
Normally I think firmer suspension or a turbocharger can improve a car, but in the 5008 it’s WiFi and an on-board fridge.