Why this renewed belief? Because Peugeot promises this car will not be blighted by the warranty problems and electrical failures of its predecessor, which left customers dissatisfied.
Peugeot has addressed the problems by reducing complexity in the 307’s electrical system. Previously operating two systems concurrently – Vehicle Area Network (VAN) and Controller Area Network (CAN) – it now uses the Bosch CAN multiplex system already found in the larger 407 and sister car the Citroen C4.
That means better reliability, faster network speed, improved diagnostics and more functionality. Customers can now choose from a longer options list which includes rear parking sensors, bi-zone air conditioning and new visual display aids.
Driving and handling performance have not been touched but the 307 does get a new face, featuring the 407/107 deep grille, larger headlamps and shorter aluminium bonnet.
Peugeot has been cautious in its 2006 predictions, sticking with 50,000 units in a market expected to dip slightly.
It also accepts that the marketplace is much tougher. In 2001, when the 307 was launched, it faced 29 competitors. Now, it faces 51.
Sales will be divided across four body derivatives: the hatchback will account for the bulk at 76%, SW will take 11%, estate 9% and the folding metal roof CC, which went on sale this month, 4%. Both SW and estate have a 10cm longer wheelbase, improving legroom for rear passengers.
Peugeot has simplified the trim range to five specifications. Each model has a distinct look according to its position within the line-up. The top-spec Feline gets a sports front grille with chrome finish, 17-inch alloy wheels and front foglights, while the S gets a honeycomb grille and 15-inch alloys.
Prices rise for most models by around £200, but drop £200 for the SE badge as Peugeot looks to sell higher up in the range. Peugeot 307 product manager Dan Gilbert said: ‘This is where most of our rivals sell their cars.’
Peugeot has dropped the poor-selling, entry-level 1.4-litre HDi diesel, widely acknowledged as under-powered, and replaced the 2.0-litre 90bhp HDi with the 90bhp 1.6-litre HDi developed with Ford (also available are 1.6-litre 110bhp and 2.0-litre 136bhp diesels). It has also planted the CC’s 2.0-litre 180bhp petrol unit into all models (badged Feline) and developed a new 140bhp version of the 2.0 unit, which complement entry 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols.
Typical customers are aged 35-plus (30-plus for CC), split roughly 60% men, 40% women. SW and estates will appeal to couples with children, while most buyers (62%) take the CC as a second car.
Behind the wheel, little has changed, so expect light, impersonal power steering, sensitive brakes, comfortable ride and smooth cornering.
It is no sports car – but that’s the point. Couples with children tend to drive in a more measured way, entirely appropriate for the 307’s characteristics.
That’s not to say it can’t up the pace when required.
The 2.0-litre 136bhp diesel is excellent, more than a match for the 2.0-litre 140bhp petrol and not far off the 180bhp. Mid-range, it’s more than a match, thanks to the 240lb-ft torque peaking at 2,000rpm.
But gripes remain about the pedals. Because of the switch from left to right-hand drive, there’s nowhere for your left foot to rest. The pedals are too close together, which is not ideal for those with larger feet.
Peugeot 307 fact file
|Model:||1.4||1.6||2.0 140||2.0 180||1.6 HDi 90||1.6 HDi 110||2.0 HDi|
|Max power (bhp):||90/5,250||110/5,800||140/6,000||180/7,000||90/4,000||110/4,000||136/4,000|
|Max torque (lb-ft/rpm):||100/3,250||110/4,000||150/4,000||152/4,750||161/1,750||180/1,750||240/2,000|
|Max speed (mph):||107||118||127||137||111||117||125|
|Fuel consumption (mpg):||43.5||38.2||36.7||33.6||57.6||57.6||52.3|
|CO2 emissions (g/km):||155||174||184||200||129||129||142|