AFTER the huge success of the Peugeot 206, its descendant, the 207, has some important shoes to fill.
Not literally of course. Mainly because the 207 is a few sizes larger than its older brother, but also because Peugeot is still making the 206, so it will be unwilling to give up its footwear just yet.
Putting irrelevant and increasingly tenuous shoe analogies to one side, let’s meet the latest addition to our long-term car park.
Our 207 is powered by the 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine which offers 90bhp and 161lb-ft of torque. Such figures promise 0-62mph acceleration of 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 113mph.
It’s hardly scintillating, but it does come with the reward of economy. Officially, this 207 will return an impressive 62.7mpg. By my own admission I tend to be rather heavy with my right foot, but even so I’ve averaged 47mpg so far. Once the 50-litre fuel tank has been filled up, the Peugeot will cover at least 500 miles before I need to stop again. And with CO2 emissions of just 120g/km, company car bills are firmly in the lowest category.
Our car is the Sport model, which means it gets a slightly more prominent nose than its non-Sport siblings and a pair of fog lights, as well as sports front seats and white dials inside.
It certainly bears a resemblance to the 206, thanks to its long headlights and wide C-pillar, but debate rages as to whether it’s as pleasing on the eye. I say no, but several acquaintances think it looks rather swish.
Standard features include seven-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel and a CD player. Air-conditioning is also included, but only the manual variety – dual- zone climate control is the preserve of the top-of-the-range GT.
As standard, this car would set you back £11,995, but we’ve decided to splash out another £350 on metallic silver paint.
Peugeot’s legacy of comfortable seats is perfectly safe with our 207. They are both comfortable and offer decent lateral support – there’s little danger of being flung about the cabin during cornering.
The interior quality is a step up from the 206, and the top part of the dash feels particularly solid. The quality is less convincing the lower you go in the car, and the centre console feels a little cheap.
This console also houses the five-speed manual gearbox, which unfortunately also falls into the disappointing category. It feels loose and imprecise – not a patch on the accurate ’boxes produced by rivals these days.
With only 90bhp I wasn’t expecting a particularly engaging drive from the 207, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Despite its lack of power and the loose gearshift, given enough persuasion it’s pretty nippy. Because of the torque inherent in a diesel engine there’s just about enough grunt for stress-free overtaking.
The handling is particularly impressive. I went on the launch of the 207 earlier this year, but the twisty mountain roads of Mallorca were rainswept from day one, meaning any kind of attempt to see what it could do resulted in slithering understeer.
Taking it out on dry UK roads was remarkable – the 207 is nimble and spry, with the back perfectly content to follow the front wheels without any drama, even when challenged with particularly tight bends.
I’ve already covered a few thousand miles in the Pug, and barring a few mishaps – more on those next time – I’ve been generally impressed.
It covers motorway miles with few problems and given a clear B-road can be very enjoyable to drive, all with the benefit of plenty of miles to the gallon.
There’s also room in the back for two adults and plenty of space in the boot for a couple of suitcases.
On initial inspection, Peugeot seem to be on to a winner. We’ll keep you posted with our experiences in the coming months.
The manufacturer’s view
‘THE 207 has got off to a flying start with sales levels already ahead of the 206 – itself a very tough act to follow. In the fleet market we are confident that its size and general feel will make the 207 an attractive proposition, especially for those fleets who wish to downsize without compromising on comfort and performance.’ Steve Harris, director of fleet and leasing, Peugeot
Equipment and options
Total options: £350
Price (OTR): £11,995
Price as tested: £12,345
Price: £11,995 (£12,345 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 120
Company car tax bill (2006) 22% tax-payer: £40 per month
Insurance group: 5
Combined mpg: 62.7
Test mpg: 47.0
CAP Monitor RV: £4,000/34%
Contract hire rate: £273
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles.