Peugeot’s belief that the new saloon would be at the top of the class for ride and handling seemed a confident attitude when the car was launched.
First impression when driving the car around town was that the ride was a little unforgiving over bumps and drain covers, more from the crashing noise than anything that unsettled the car. However, I can report that brisk driving along country roads shows the manufacturer’s confidence is well founded.
The 2.0 HDi engine always seems to be at the right stage in the powerband to provide the next slingshot of torque as you change up through the gears, while the precise steering responds accurately to the most delicate of inputs.
The same ride that can feel a little hard and jittery in town becomes reassuring and composed at higher speeds over country lanes and the 407 reacts in a cool, unflustered way. Imagine Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond deftly leaping behind a hedge to dodge a hail of bullets from a couple of henchmen while dressed for dinner, landing on his feet to pick up a Martini being carried on a tray by a passing waiter, and you get the general idea.
Negative points: I don’t make much use of the rear seats but I think the space could be more generous. The other negative is more of a fault. The orange LED information panel in the centre of the dashboard is missing a strip 4mm-5mm wide. It means a small portion of information is lost. Something to be rectified at the first service, I think.
Price (OTR): £17,450
CO2 emissions (g/km): 155
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £54 per month
Insurance group: 10
Power (bhp/rpm): 136/4,000
Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 240/2,000
Combined mpg: 47.8
Test mpg: 45.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,000/30%
HSBC contract hire rate: £372 per month
Expenditure to date: Nil Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles