THERE’S no such thing as a new idea, simply one that has been rehashed from the past.
The 207 CC follows on from the successful 206 CC which, Peugeot is keen on pointing out, was a pioneering car thanks to its supermini size and folding metal roof.
Except the 206 CC wasn’t that radical after all, as Peugeot initially launched a similar type of car back in 1934 with its 601 D Eclipse. So there you go – the folding metal-roof convertible we’ve all been raving about for the past couple of years is actually a 73-year-old idea.
However, you can’t knock Peugeot for making such bold claims about the 206 CC as it did bring this type of car to a whole new group of people who couldn’t afford a Mercedes-Benz SLK.
And the new version, the 207 CC, looks set to continue the successful trend. As its name suggests, it’s a CC (coupe-cabriolet) version of the new 207 supermini. This means it’s bigger all-round than the model it replaces, and comes armed with three new engines that first appeared in the hatchback.
Even though it’s larger, don’t expect much more room inside. The 207 is still a two-plus-two at best, with the rear seats reserved for those who fall into the target audience for CBeebies. This is a deliberate ploy – if you want a four-seat CC, then go buy a 307, says Peugeot.
The layout is designed to appeal to young buyers and user-choosers in particular. Around 40% of buyers will be under 35 years old, and a significant proportion will be women – nearly 90% of 206 CC buyers were female, although Peugeot expects the 207 to appeal more to men because it looks a little less feminine than the 206.
In its best year, 2002, the 206 CC sold 9,700 units in the UK and, although Peugeot hasn’t revealed sales expectations for the new model, it is confident of achieving annual registrations in excess of 7,000 sales.
In 2006, fleets accounted for around 1,700 sales, representing around a third of all 206 CCs sold in the UK.
The 207 CC uses the same clever folding-roof mechanism as the 206 CC, which means it can turn from coupe to convertible at the touch of a button in 25 seconds.
This gives the best of both worlds and helps counter reservations from fleet managers about having a convertible on the choice list. With this car, the roof is vandal-proof so there will be no expensive repairs when someone decides to stick a knife through a fabric roof.
Despite the interior not growing much in terms of space, there is more luggage room now. The 207 CC offers an extra 39 litres of capacity with the roof in place, and 12 extra litres when the roof is stowed in the boot.
The engine line-up has changed, with the two new petrol engines developed in conjunction with BMW now offered.
The 1.6-litre petrol engine offers 120bhp while its turbocharged cousin offers 150bhp. There is also a 1.6-litre HDi turbodiesel with 110bhp. Five-speed manual gearboxes are standard across the range, with a four-speed automatic available as a £1,000 option on the entry-level petrol version.
Two trim levels will be offered – Sport and GT. Both are well-equipped and look the part, although the GT grade is the one to go for as it offers better-looking 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminium detailing around the cabin and automatic headlights and windscreen wipers.
Deliveries begin on March 1 and prices start at £14,795 – a £600 uplift on the 206 CC.
Peugeot is expecting improved residual values for the new car. The 206 CC remains strong, with CAP estimating it will retain between 37 and 39% of cost new after three years/60,000 miles. Initial estimates put the 207 CC at up to 43%.
Behind the wheel
TWO versions of the 207 CC were available to drive on the launch – the 150bhp turbocharged petrol and the diesel. The 120bhp petrol engine is not yet in full production.
My first drive was in the diesel, which uses the 1.6-litre HDi unit from the hatchback and offers 110bhp. While quiet and refined at speed, it suffers from a lack of mid-range performance, which is unusual for a diesel. There simply isn’t enough torque on offer to make for anything less than leisurely progress through the gears.
It’s also the most expensive model in the range, which makes it even harder to recommend.
Next up was the 150bhp THP petrol – a very different animal. This version has far more power, both in terms of top-end shove and mid-range grunt. It matches the character of the 207 CC far better.
Both models handle tidily, with a nicely weighted feel to the steering, plenty of grip from the front wheels and a compliant ride over all but the worst road surfaces.
Roof down, the cabin can get fairly blustery so it may be worth ticking the £160 wind deflector option box.
Other than that, the 207 CC does everything the 206 CC does, but better. This model looks sure to continue the CC success story.
THE 207 CC builds on the success of the 206 version, but is bigger, better equipped and with a more modern range of engines. The diesel is disappointing to drive, and is the most expensive version, which leaves the 150bhp turbo as the pick of the range for all-round appeal.
|Model:||1.6 120||1.6 THP 150||1.6 HDi 110|
|Max power (bhp/rpm):||120/6,000||150/5,800||110/4,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||120/4,250||180/5,800||180/1,750*|
|Max speed (mph):||126||129||119|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||43.5||39.2||54.3|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||155||171||136|
|On sale:||March 1|
* 195lb-ft with overboost