Long-term tests are all about really getting to know a vehicle’s good and bad points.
Having spent four months with our Peugeot 407, I think I have got to know it pretty well.
Let’s look at the basics.
The twin-turbo 170bhp diesel engine is smooth, powerful and quite efficient, although its average economy of 37mpg during our tenure was some way short of the manufacturer’s claimed combined figure of 45.5mpg.
The upside of the economy penalty has been great performance from the engine which churns out 277lb-ft of torque from 1,500rpm. This makes for a great balance of quick acceleration from a standing start and bags of power for overtaking.
The six-speed gearbox is much better and tighter than five-speed Peugeot variants I have tried in the past, which tended to feel like stirring porridge.
The 8,000 miles it has covered have ranged from long motorway journeys to fast drives through winding country roads and the excellent suspension has soaked up road imperfections but still kept the car flat and stable through fast, tight corners.
The styling, while eye-catching, hasn’t sacrificed too much in the way of boot space and on three occasions I easily managed to pack it with luggage for a family of four – once including a tent and full camping regalia – with no trouble at all.
The opening rear screen also proved really useful when parked in tight spaces, especially on a ferry over to France, where cars are packed on the deck like sardines.
Equipment levels are excellent in our model, with pretty much everything as standard, including the RT4 system, which covers an entire multi-media world beneath the dashboard.
It includes a colour screen mounted in the centre console which delivers the satellite navigation mapping and advice, plus a 30-gigabyte hard drive which allows you to download up to 180 hours of music in MP3 format.
Looking back, only a couple of glitches spoiled the show and they were relatively minor.
There has been the occasional electronic fault with the RT4 system, which seems to have righted itself each time and has now disappeared, while the windscreen washers also stopped working.
This led to a visit to the dealer and although the garage took several attempts, they eventually fixed the problem.
And despite some inconvenience, the Peugeot makes up for it with great styling and road presence that helps it stand out from the more mundane business cars travelling Britain’s roads.
Price: £22,525 (£24,025 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 165
Company car tax bill (2007) 40% tax-payer: £190 per month
Insurance group: 14
Combined mpg: 45.5
Test mpg: 37.0
CAP Monitor RV: £7,175/29%
Contract hire rate: £551
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles