And as Oscar Wilde famously said: ‘The only thing worse in the world than being talked about is not being talked about’. That the 407 SW inspires reaction in a sector known for its anonymity shows what a bold job Peugeot has made of it.
The 407 SW is hard to categorise, being neither conventional hatchback nor load-lugging estate in the traditional sense.
Pioneering visionaries or utter recklessness in a world straitjacketed by conformity? Neither really… just refreshingly different. Natural rivals in its class are few, Renault’s Laguna Tourer and Vauxhall’s Signum being the obvious ones. Our 407 SW comes with the SE Luxury Pack, optional security pack and metallic paint giving an OTR price of £20,025.
Key equipment includes a six speaker radio/single CD player with column-mounted controls, bi-zone climate control, cruise control, tyre pressure sensors, remote-opening tailgate window, panoramic glass roof, active front head restraints and airbags for driver/front passenger, front side and steering column.
The SE luxury pack adds powered Mistral leather/zagros black cloth seats and rear parking sensors.
And if that is not enough for you, the security pack option has laminated side windows, rear side airbags, pyrotechnic rear seat belts and some very useful rear side window sunblinds. In all, it is very comprehensively equipped.
My first taste of the 407, an HDi 136 saloon, was last summer in the midge-infested Highlands and on the winding single-track roads on the Isle of Skye.
I was impressed by the 407’s driving dynamics and the punchy 136bhp HDi engine. This time around it is petrol-power – 2,230cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, two crankshaft-driven balancer shafts to smooth out any engine resonance and VTC variable valve timing.
And it is a gem – 160bhp at a still silky-smooth 5,650rpm, and 163ft-lb of torque at a high-ish 3,900rpm – but over 90% of the torque is there between 2,000–5,000rpm. A light and smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox comes as standard with this engine. Externally, all metalwork aft of the B-pillars differs from the saloon with strong echoes of Mercedes-Benz A-class around the rear with those opposed and inverted triangular quarterlights and tailgate.
The tailgate itself features a practical remote-unlocking window – useful for loading the boot in confined spaces.
Initial driving impressions are good.
All that makes the 407 saloon a favourite of mine are there: the sublime suspension control, excellent variable-rate electro-hydraulic steering with good feedback and the engine.
The beauty of the 2.2-litre engine is its adaptable manner. Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde – the choice is yours. Stray no higher than 3,500 rpm and it’s all meekness. Go beyond and the engine takes on a whole new persona – not quite in the class of, say, a VTEC engine from Honda, but pretty close.
Fuel consumption over this initial period has been 30.1mpg. But for the addictivally enthusiastic nature of that engine it could be bettered – and I promise to try.
Model: Peugeot 407 SW SE 2.2
Price (OTR): £19,300
CO2 emissions (g/km): 214
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 22% tax-payer: £108 per month
Insurance group: 14
Combined mpg: 31.6
Test mpg: 30.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,525/29%
HSBC contract hire rate: £392
Expenditure to date: Nil
What we expect
THE 407 SW is all about exuberant Gallic style. Automotive haute couture, if you will, but with a practical element. The 407 SW doesn’t disappoint on that front – just look at the surprisingly spacious boot and remote opening tailgate window. Driver enjoyment must have been a high priority.Roadholding, handling and engine performance are excellent – whether in HDi or petrol-engined configuration.
The manufacturer’s view
‘THE 407 saloon has already set the market alight with its bold, purposeful design and great driving dynamics. Now, the SW continues this trend and brings a new, sleek, sporting dimension to the estate car market. Since its launch in September of last year, the 407 SW has been a great sales success with orders out-stripping supply. We believe the 407 SW brings a fresh and exciting approach to the market.’
Chris Cheetham, fleet marketing manager, Peugeot
Options (as fitted to test car)