Fleet News

Peugeot 406 Coupe 2.2 HDi SE - 8,774 miles



OUR Peugeot 406 Coupe has courted a fair amount of controversy among the Fleet News road test team since it arrived at our offices in November last year.

For those who don't know, this particular model is a sleek Pininfarina-styled car but with a common-rail diesel engine under its bonnet.

The 406 Coupe originally came with a choice of 2.0 or 3.0-litre petrol engines, so I assume the thinking behind adding to these units with a diesel was that some drivers want exquisite good looks but don't want to shoulder the extra cost that firebrand sports cars inevitably entail.

First up among those who pooh-poohed this concept was reporter Steve Moody, who admitted that he did like the car but added: 'It was OK while I was inside, but when I got out, it sounded like a tractor!'

While Moody, a mere whippersnapper, wanted miles per hour, the older and wiser chief sub-editor Richard Wayte criticised the car for different reasons. Wayte was looking at costs.

'Why pay more for less?' he queried. 'The 406 Coupe costs £4,245 more than the 406 HDi Executive but there is less space and fewer doors!'

Both have a point, it must be said, but I'd have to disgree with them.

In my eyes, the coupe is a stunning car inside and out, and if our reporter had bothered to look at the performance sheets for the various coupe models, he may have been in for a surprise or two.

For example, the diesel coupe has a top speed of 129mph, while the 2.0-litre petrol can only manage 126mph. And while diesels usually fare badly in the 0-60mph stakes, our test car manages 10.9 seconds as opposed to 10.4 seconds for the 2.0-litre petrol model.

And while the diesel can keep up with the petrol on the roads, average fuel economy is expected to be 44.1mpg as opposed to 30.1mpg for the 2.0-litre petrol. Over the 60,000-mile fleet life of these vehicles, that means the diesel will save £2,152 in fuel over the petrol model.

When faced with such statistics, I don't understand how any fleet manager could justify purchasing petrol cars.

In our last test we were having a few problems with the 406.

The windscreen washers packed up during a particularly nasty spell of weather, the dash warning was telling us the filler cap was open when it wasn't and the indicators were cancelling themselves when they shouldn't. After another trip to the garage, all these faults have now been ironed out and the car is giving sterling service once more.

My own complaint is a rather personal one - I have a partially disabled 20-year-old son who finds it difficult in the extreme to get into the back seats of the car, and nigh on impossible to get out again once in.

Peugeot has tried to make accessibility as good as possible by installing a system whereby the electric seats glide backwards and forwards on their own at the touch of a button, but coupes are never going to be back-seat friendly so it's a thought to bear in mind for anyone who may have to ferry less-than-able bodied people about.

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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