Fleet News

Peugeot 607 2.2 Hdi

Peugeot

Review

IT seems a long time since FNN and some key fleets first put Peugeot's new executive saloon, the 607, on the road. That was in February this year in Jordan, but in left-hand-drive and before engineers were called in to modify the rear suspension following a high-speed, high-profile pirouette courtesy of the French press.

Stability under extreme conditions no longer in doubt, the big four-door successor to the 605 went on sale in its home market in June and has, by all accounts, gone down a storm. Most Government departments have a small fleet of them and, in a blaze of patriotic fervour, sales to date in France are buoyant.

Over here, they'll be a much rarer sight: no more than 4,000 units in the first full year. There are already a few right-hand-drive 607s doing the rounds of national newspapers and magazines prior to the official UK launch date on October 17 - the British International Motor Show in Birmingham - but as each is built to customer order, few non-evaluation examples are likely to be registered before January, 2001.

The car's arrival in British trim - S and SE grade, 2.2-litre petrol, 2.2-litre HDi diesel with particulates filter and 3.0-litre petrol - is three to four months later than originally anticipated. This is because of the technical delays and then the clamour for a vehicle which, from Calais left, right and south, is perceived as a hi-tech luxury passenger saloon which can't fail to hit the spot with Europe's large car buyers (which is why there was close to a national outcry when the handling problem came to light).

Still, a spot of pent-up demand here will do the 607 absolutely no harm. Its predecessor had a reputation for unreliability and thoroughly depressing residual values. Now, the French firm is wholly confident of reliability (thanks in part to the use of multiplexing which does away with miles of wiring loom and vulnerable circuitry) and convinced its saloon has the class, equipment, value for money and good looks to slot in successfully between the Vauxhall Omega and BMW 5-series in a sector haunted by past failures and still harbouring some living dead.

CAP Monitor editor Mark Norman told us: 'The 607 is going to struggle. It's a difficult market - one in which some manufacturers would rather not be represented. And it's getting harder - 607 could also find itself under pressure from the smaller cars, such as new Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat, which are getting bigger, more upmarket and crossing over into this sector.'

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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