Someone must have waved a magic wand as the Fleet News long term Peugeot 307 estate clocked up its 5,000th mile.
Cruising along the M11 on the way to Stansted airport, the car's two-litre turbodiesel motor suddenly started to behave with just a little more crispness and produce less noise at the legal limit.
The reason could only be that the 110bhp common-rail engine had reached maturity and come to the end of its running-in phase – which came as a surprise development, given that diesels usually need to cover about 8,000 miles to complete the process.
Now that all its components seem to be fully bedded in, the HDi unit certainly has a smoother demeanour, although as one of the better of the new crop of heavy-oil units, it has never performed in a manner less than satisfactory.
The difference made by the mileage is probably quite small, but it does allow the engine to pull strongly from lower down the rev band.
As a result, even less use of the short-throw gear lever is required, the engine note is more subdued and there's been another slight gain in fuel economy.
The car's overall consumption figure has now reached 51.21 mpg, which is an excellent return considering the time it spends on motorways.
Another coincidental spin-off from the running-in period is the apparent cure of the 'surge' in the brightness of the headlamps. From when the car arrived, the lights would flash into super output mode at varying intervals, but they too now seem to have settled down.
With 60mph showing on the speedometer at less than 2,000 revs in fifth, the estate has relatively high gearing, so it's pretty relaxing transport on the open road. But the ratios seem nicely spaced so make the best of the relatively high torque developed by the engine.
Put to the test in more mundane roles, the 307's large cargo area is proving a boon as the drive to reduce household clutter continues: the rear seats fold easily to provide van-like carrying capacity for my seemingly endless weekly trips to charity shops and the rubbish tip!
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax payer)