Three years later, the market has become dramatically more challenging with the arrival of the new Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, both going head-to-head in the lower medium fleet sector with the Peugeot.
And, of course, it’s going to get a lot tougher with the arrival of the new Ford Focus on the market in the first couple of months of 2005.
Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ figures reveal that Peugeot’s market share has fallen 9.78% year-on-year to September, registering 137,286 units compared to 152,169 last year. Vauxhall, Renault and Volkswagen are seeing increases in their sales and only Ford among the fleet big-league is experiencing a similar downturn, but not to the same degree as Peugeot – and the new Focus should address this.
So, Peugeot could do with a lift. Can the 307 estate light a fire underneath the Gallic lion and propel it to new heights?
The signs are good. The estate version carries over much of the appeal of its hatchback parent.
What you get for your £15,320 is the impressive shark-like styling with a back end full of functionality and a generous number of toys – mated to a powerful engine. The 1.6-litre HDi engine develops a maximum power of 110bhp at 4,000 rpm and with a max torque of 180lb-ft at 1,750rpm gives you plenty of response from the word go.
0-62mph is achieved in a respectable 11.5 seconds – 0.4 of a second slower than the 1.6 16v petrol five-door hatch, despite a 207kg difference in weight. The impressive fuel consumption figure is 56.5 mpg on the combined cycle compared to 39.2mpg for the 1.6 hatch and the engine is also equipped with a particulate filter as standard.
Boot space in an estate is naturally important and with a wheelbase 100mm longer than the hatch and a maximum storage capacity of 63.7 cubic feet compared to 46.9 in the hatchback, the benefits to load luggers are obvious. The boot has a wide floor area with lock-down points and the car comes with a storage net. The parcel shelf is a bit flimsy though.
The cabin has all the characteristics you would expect from Peugeot and the standard of plastics and the installation is good.
The seats are supportive without being hard and the dash is laid out sensibly. Despite the car’s weight the steering is very light and typical of Peugeot. It adds a thrill to the driving of what could be a staid experience.
I’ve driven the 307 for 1,400 miles in a fortnight and have noticed an unintended speed limiter on the car.
As it reaches 70mph the steering wheel begins to shake like a tumble dryer on medium spin.
Annoying but it certainly makes me concentrate. The car has been booked into the local dealer and by the time you read this, it should be completely cured.
Price (OTR) £15,320
CO2 emissions (g/km) 131
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 22% tax-payer: £42 per month
Insurance group: 7A
Combined mpg: 56.5
Test mpg: n/a
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,825/32%
HSBC contract hire rate: £303
Expenditure to date nil
What we expect
THE HDi 110 is one of the most efficient engines on the market, plus it is Euro IV compliant, which means drivers avoid the 3% benefit-in-kind (BIK) penalty. So, we expect the panacea of modern diesel motoring, gutsy performance with plenty of torque without breaking the bank with too many fuel stops. Peugeot has put a lot of emphasis on practicality so in the six months the car is on our fleet, we expect it to fulfil our demands on people/luggage carrying in its generous sized boot and various cabin storage areas.
The Manufacturer's View
A Positive Development
STEVE Harris, Peugeot fleet director, believes the addition of 307 estate, with the introduction of two brand new Euro IV compliant HDi diesel engines, is a positive development on a number of fronts for Peugeot’s fleet customers and drivers. He said: ‘The 307 estate continues to play an important role within the 307 range, and within our overall fleet sales aspirations – both now and in the future.
From the launch of 307 estate, it has had universal appeal, as it manages to combine utilitarian practical qualities with genuine style and drivability at the same time. The extended wheelbase of the 307 estate, as well as the individual rear seating, continues to have an application across a range of our fleet customers. With the advent of Euro IV HDi diesel engines in 307 estate, drivers and fleets have sound financial reasons for selecting this Peugeot, whether attributable to lower BIK taxation or because of lower wholelife costs.’