In case the fact had passed you by, Peugeot now offers the second most fuel- efficient executive saloon on sale in the UK.
The most fuel efficient is the Audi A6 1.9 TDI with a 0.6mpg advantage on the combined cycle at 48.7mpg, and before you go scurrying off for a calculator to check whether the A6 beats the Peugeot 607 on overall running costs, I can tell you it doesn't.
It might use marginally less fuel, but the A6 is about £2,000 more expensive on list price – too much to offset its 2% residual value advantage (according to CAP Monitor) – and our running cost database shows it to be more expensive on servicing, maintenance and repair.
So there is a case for choosing the Peugeot on running costs, but can a driver be persuaded to ditch the prestige attached to the Audi's four rings for a 607?
Well, this year Peugeot has thrown in an Executive pack that adds a few extra goodies for a modest price increase in a bid to tempt drivers used to a premium badge. For £20,400 on-the-road you get a 2.0 HDi S Executive which has satellite navigation and 17-inch alloy wheels. This is on top of a six-CD autochanger, automatic climate control, electrically-adjustable front seats and cruise control fitted as standard.
As saloons go the 607 is quite attractive, but with volume manufacturers trying to offer something different to attract drivers away from the established premium brands, the Peugeot is a little traditional.
In our running costs comparison we have included two cars that have an 'alternative' appearance.
The Vel Satis is Renault's take on what an executive car should be like rather than an attempt to copy the Germans. The Signum is viewed by Vauxhall as an alternative to the traditional compact premium saloon, where it competes on price, and not as a replacement for the Omega.
However, it is bound to attract its share of Omega drivers and is spacious enough to be compared with the Peugeot and Renault.
The engine, probably the Peugeot's strongest card in the eyes of the fleet manager, will be its downfall in the eyes of many drivers.
It feels too slow for a car of this size and while 188lb-ft of torque means it is reasonably responsive on the move, it is painfully pedestrian when accelerating from a standstill. It also feels more cumbersome than the top notch executives from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, although in a wallowing contest with the tall Vel Satis the big Peugeot would be the safer bet for avoiding sea sickness.
The 607 has an enormous boot (more than 600 litres before the seats are folded), and is also exceptionally roomy, providing excellent comfort both front and rear. The ride is not as smooth as the Saab 9-5 listed in the running costs comparison, but it still feels composed over most surfaces.
The 607 will provide relatively cheap transport for the chairman or director who wants something befitting his or her status, but wants to set an example to others by ensuring company finances are used wisely.
Peugeot 607 2.0 HDi S Executive
Delivered price, standard car (P11D value): £20,240
CO2 emissions (g/km): 160
BIK % of P11D in 2003/04: 19%
Graduated VED rate: £135
Insurance group: 15
Combined mpg: 47.1
CAP Monitor residual value: £6,050/30%
Depreciation (22.33 pence per mile x 60,000): £13,398
Maintenance (2.41 pence per mile x 60,000): £1,446
Fuel (8.22 pence per mile x 60,000): £4,932
Wholelife cost (32.96 pence per mile x 60,000): £19,776
Typical contract hire rate: £359 per month
Three rivals to consider
ABOUT £20,000 will buy an executive saloon with a decent level of equipment. In the case of the Saab 9-5, it will also buy a premium badge, but the Peugeot 607 with the optional Executive pack gets satellite navigation, electric front seats, full climate control and a few other goodies thrown in as standard. The Renault Vel Satis, by virtue of its more powerful engine, just sneaks over the £21,000 barrier, while the sector-busting Vauxhall Signum has the lowest P11d price.
THE Peugeot 607 scores well here despite having the shortest service intervals at 12,000 miles, compared with 18,000 miles for the Saab 9-5 and the Renault Vel Satis, and up to 30,000 miles for the Vauxhall. However, thanks to its extended service intervals, a careful Signum driver might only need two services after covering 60,000 miles, compared with five visits to the dealership for the 607 driver.
CHOOSING diesel in an executive car can banish its reputation as a gas guzzler forever. However, there are some interesting differences between the four cars here. That the Peugeot is the least powerful car as well as the most economical is no real surprise. However, the Saab and Vauxhall both use the same out-dated turbodiesel engine, compared with the common rail units in the 607 and Vel Satis, though the Signum seems to use it more efficiently.
THE Peugeot and the Saab are very close in this contest, which must be gratifying for Peugeot up against a car perceived to wear a premium badge. Even the Peugeot's higher price only puts it at a 0.1ppm disadvantage. The even higher list price of the Renault ensures a fourth place for depreciation – but this really is the least expensive diesel Vel Satis on sale in the UK. The low P11d price of the Signum combined with a 36% residual value prediction over three years/60,000 miles gives it a significant lead over the others.
ADDING up all the running cost figures puts the Peugeot in second place, which is an exceptional performance considering there is a premium badge car in the contest which finished in third place. The Vel Satis is hurt by its higher list price, but proves the more effortless traveller with its potent and refined 2.2 dCi engine. The Signum is attractively priced and soundly beats its rivals when it comes to depreciation, making it the fleet manager's choice.
Emissions and bik tax rates
NONE of these diesel engines comply with Euro IV emissions regulations (although the Vel Satis should later this year), which means an extra 3% on top of the benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax band for all four. The Peugeot does best on emissions because of its remarkably low 47.1mpg fuel consumption, and has the lowest BIK liability. The Signum's list price advantage over the 607 means it runs the Peugeot close on BIK, leaving the Saab in third place and the Renault in fourth place.
Verdict THE Peugeot 607 is a roomy, comfortable and, in S Executive trim, well-equipped saloon that is best suited to life on the motorway. However, it has to be our second choice here because the Vauxhall Signum does everything the Peugeot does just as well and costs less to run overall, despite the frugality of the Peugeot's engine.