Visually, the engine is no Titian – and in place of the more usual six cylinders for an engine of this capacity, the SW makes do with four. But this is its appeal – it feels different, more visceral. It’s pure seduction.
Four-cylinder engines are inherently unbalanced lumps, but Peugeot has countered this generic shortcoming by equipping the SW’s engine with twin balancer shafts to smooth matters out. And in daily use the engine has always remained unruffled all the way to its conservative 6,000rpm limit. But the 2.2-litre petrol unit is one for the enthusiast and not exactly hardcore fleet material. For that, Peugeot’s 407 range has some HDi-engined models that offer much improved economy with no loss in real day-to-day performance.
I’ve abandoned all hope of bettering 30.1mpg. One week of unrealistic restraint did return 32mpg but the effort required defeats the 2.2’s raison d’être – driver enjoyment.
The SW’s avant-garde lines belie what a useful load carrier it is. Although overall ‘seats-down’ boot capacity is about 150 litres short of Renault’s Laguna Sport Tourer, the SW has resorted to some unorthodox solutions to maximise what it has. Its boot is wide and uncluttered by suspension turrets – springs and dampers are mounted horizontally beneath the boot floor.
If you’re going to spend long hours out on the road, the 407 SW makes for a passable surrogate office. Push a lever under the front passenger seat, pull the backrest forward on to the seat base and, hey presto, a desktop big enough for a laptop PC.
Model: Peugeot 407 SW SE 2.2
Price (OTR): £19,300 (£20,025 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 214
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £108 per month
Insurance group: 14E
Combined mpg: 31.6
Test mpg: 28.8
CAP Monitor residual value: £5,775/30%
HSBC contract hire rate: £398
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles