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Peugeot 307 1.6 GLX 5dr



EVERY manufacturer needs a unique selling point to give its products an edge in the market and in the car sector that USP needs to be something big, especially in the lower-medium market which is currently dominated by Ford's excellent Focus.

So what does Peugeot's new 307 bring to the party? The answer is space, and plenty of it. From the outside the tall body certainly stands out but once you open the door you are greeted by plenty of head, leg and shoulder room for all five occupants.

But space alone won't get the 307 included on company choice lists - it needs to be a viable proposition for a company to run over three years and 60,000 miles, especially in the competitive lower-medium segment where the Focus reigns as Britain's best-selling car. These cars will generally be workhorses and companies will want to keep their costs down as much as possible, so running costs will probably be the key consideration for a fleet manager.

Although the 307 is not the cheapest to run, a glance at the chart to your right suggests the 307 is a viable fleet proposition, although it is not the best fleet performer in this company (all models here are the top-of-the-range 1.6-litre petrol versions). Renault's Megane leads the running costs table here on 24.25 pence per mile over three years/60,000 miles. The 1.6 Privilege+ five-door has the second lowest P11D price, although its residual value forecast is only average in this company.

However, the lowest depreciation, SMR and fuel costs (thanks to the highest combined economy figure of 40.4mpg), help it to first place. The 307 comes in second on 25.02ppm. It does have the highest P11D price here (£13,495) although it also has a healthy residual value forecast, with CAP Monitor predicting a residual value of £4,950 (37%) after three years/60,000 miles.

Vauxhall's top-spec Astra CD comes in a surprising third place on 25.21ppm, narrowly pipping its much younger arch rival, the Ford Focus, which will cost 25.24ppm. Despite their age, both the Megane and Astra fare well in our running costs chart, while the Focus, the UK's best-selling car, comes in last. Despite its higher front-end price, the 307 makes a competitive case for itself.

With fuel prices set to continue their unpredictable path, a car's combined fuel economy figure will also be an important consideration before putting a vehicle on your fleet. Once again the Renault Megane leads the way, returning 40.4mpg with the Focus in second place on 39.8mpg. The 307 is third on 39.2mpg while the Astra records 37.7mpg.

Facts and figures aside, your drivers will still probably choose a car that they want, which means they are looking for plenty of goodies fitted as standard, fresh looks and a good drive. In GLX trim level the 307 is well equipped, although in fairness it is no more so than the other range-topping models tested here.

However, the whole 307 range has plenty of standard equipment so downgrading to an LX model will only mean losing a few of the many delights on offer. Combine this with a switch to the 90bhp 2.0-litre HDi turbodiesel engine and not only will your drivers be able to lower their emissions, they will also benefit from a more rewarding drive thanks to the extra torque on offer from the diesel unit.

We're certainly not anti-petrol here at Fleet NewsNet, but with the advances made in diesel technology over the past few years, oil burning units are often a better bet all round than their petrol-powered siblings. And in this company, the Peugeot HDi units lead the way and until Ford releases common rail versions of the Focus in September, it will remain the leader. Where the 307 also leads the way is in being fresh - it's the newest contender in this segment and coming from a mainstream manufacturer that means it will be desirable.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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