I mentioned it to my still oblivious passenger, an elderly aunt visiting from Oban. ‘Oh, that’ll be my hearing aid,’ she replied. ‘It always whistles when near to anything electrical.’
If only the 407 SW knew how close it had come to a Basil Fawlty-esque roadside thrashing.
It’s just as well our 407 has kept a clean sheet – Peugeot’s reliability and the quality of their dealerships have been under the spotlight in recent surveys. I can’t comment on its dealers, and the 407 range’s newness precludes an appearance in these polls; but early signs with our SW have been very encouraging.
Our 407 has now covered 9,000 miles – of which 4,000 have been packed into the past two-and-a-half months. Over this period, that honey of a 2.2-litre engine has just got better and better – testimony then to its smoothness, that even at motorway speeds with a low-ish sixth gear (about 25mph per 1,000 rpm), there’s no mechanical cacophony, just a muted ‘whoosh’ as the 407 cleaves through the air.
Driver enjoyment hasn’t diminished one jot. And it’s not just down to the engine; steering and handling take much of the credit, too.
The 407’s composure through corners is up there with the best. Faced with any long journey always raises a dilemma – motorway or cross-country. Good handling, a great engine, strong brakes – it’s no contest.
With the exception of the near-useless adjustable lumbar support (too high up the back to be of any real benefit) and an awkwardly pivoting throttle pedal which forces too outstretched a foot when wringing those last few revs from the engine, time at the wheel of our 407 SW has never been a hardship.
The full-length panoramic glass roof gives a near open-top driving experience and the dashboard-mounted multi-function controller is packed with many traffic-jam soothing features.
But Peugeot should have re-thought its siting – Audi’s MMI or BMW’s iDrive controllers are mounted near the handbrake and are more user-friendly.
There’s also been good and bad news on the consumables front. The good: tyre wear from the Pirelli P7s has been light, and oil consumption from the 2.2-litre engine negligible.
The (not too) bad: in my previous report at 7,350 miles the 407 had averaged 28.8mpg, which is identical to what I’m staring at right now on my calculator for this report.
Model: Peugeot 407 SW 2.2 SE
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: £5,175/28%
HSBC contract hire rate: £398
Expenditure to date: Nil