‘We’re only going to Skye, not establishing base camp for a K2 assault,’ I replied. And sure enough all our luggage went in easily.
Equally striking and controversial in its design, the 407 just oozes cool. The long bonnet with wide, gaping grille does hint heavily of Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.
Over the fortnight, our 407 covered 1,688 miles on every conceivable type of highway, including Skye’s own sheep-congested single-track roads. Once on the motorway, a combination of clean aerodynamics and ‘intergalactic’ gearing helped the car scythe through the air. Result – a hushed interior, with just the whispered ‘swoosh’ of air caressing the bodywork.
Ergonomics were excellent up front, as was rear head and shoulder room. But a lack of rear leg room soon had my daughter complaining.
I could have done without the shiny metallic centre console – it’s too dazzling in the sunlight. And the dark fabric upholstery with ‘metallic’ interwoven inserts was a magnet for hair and fluff.
The best was still to come – another side to the 407’s character on my favourite stretch of blacktop, the A82, from Tyndrum through Glen Coe and on to Fort William.
If Nirvana were Tarmac, it would be the A82. Short fast straights, hairpin bends, dips and climbs. Every corner was rewarded with race car-crisp turn-in, taut roll-free cornering and no hint of front-drive understeer.
This was topped with an un-diesel like throttle response, the 16-valve engine’s smooth, progressive power delivery being more akin to a petrol-engined car. Are there any front-driven cars in the 407’s class more capable of blurring the distinction between family/executive and sports?
If only Peugeot’s designers had experienced Skye’s single-track roads. The long bonnet, steeply-raked windscreen and set-back seating became a liability on the many blind bends and summits and the front apron was prone to grounding. The 407 averaged 46.3mpg (close to 60mpg at cruising speeds and dipping to 42.3mpg on the single track roads), which is not at all bad for a car of this size.
Price (OTR): £17,450
CO2 emissions (g/km): 155
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £54 per month
Insurance group: 10
Combined mpg: 47.8
Test mpg: 46.3
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,000/30%
HSBC contract hire rate: £372 per month
Expenditure to date: Nil