EVERY time I read an article on the new breed of superminis, the word ‘downsizing’ crops up.
If you believe major car manufacturers such as Peugeot, Renault, Fiat and Vauxhall, their new superminis are attracting drivers from the lower-medium sector above because the new cars are bigger than before.
So can a supermini such as the 207 make a realistic choice as the main transport for a company car driver? Well, after spending two months in the Mazda6 I’m about to find out as I too have downsized into the 207.
And the space claims are certainly true, as adults sitting in the back aren’t shortchanged when it comes to leg and headroom.
Every trip I made in the Mazda has been replicated in the 207 and there’s been little in the way of compromise. OK, it’s not quite as big, but space in the cabin is fine, while the boot can cope with a week’s worth of shopping. The cargo net on the boot floor also does a good job of holding down smaller items.
Longer journeys also don’t involve any of the shortcomings of old-style superminis.
Thanks to a longer wheelbase the ride is more supple than smaller superminis of yore, and the 90bhp diesel engine fitted to our car has enough power to make for a relaxed drive at motorway speeds.
While the driver’s seat is well-cushioned and comfortable, finding the right seating position is proving difficult.
At 5ft 3in tall, I need to have the steering wheel set quite low and the seat reasonably high to get good vision, but this means the speedometer is obscured. This means I have to set the wheel higher than I would normally like.
The variety of journeys undertaken in the 207 has also shown some wide variances in fuel economy.
We’ve got nowhere near Peugeot’s claimed average of 62.7mpg, although longer runs have resulted in a best of 53.6mpg. However, my regular stop-start commute into work covering just a few miles a day simply doesn’t let the engine warm up or operate at its most efficient – the result being an overall average of 43.3mpg.
Still, at least with a 50-litre tank I’m not visiting the pumps too often – a tank of diesel is lasting nearly 500 miles.
The problems reported last time of bits of trim and the gearknob coming off have all been resolved and show no sign of recurring, although a squeak has started emanating from the dashboard. This seems to happen when it’s warm outside and thanks to the recent colder weather it hasn’t happened for a few days now.
Price: £11,995 (£12,345 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 120
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £40 per month
Insurance group: 5
Combined mpg: 62.7
Test mpg: 43.3
CAP Monitor RV: £4,000/34%
Contract hire rate: £273
Expenditure to date: Nil