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Peugeot 207 SW

New supermini estate is latest compact model from French firm.

The term ‘station wagon’ derives from the days when the first cars were given special coachbuilt bodies designed to carry luggage from railway stations to their wealthy owners’ homes. The 207 SW doesn’t have such elitist pretensions, but Peugeot claims it’s more than simply a stretched supermini.

Its designers have given real thought to what makes a good family car. The model in these pictures is our long-term 1.6-litre VTi Sport, which has proved popular with art director Darren Wilson’s family, but we actually tested a 1.6-litre HDi 110 diesel.

It’s marginally shorter than the Clio and Fabia, but the 207 is taller than both. Stylised roof rails and a large, flat tailgate emphasise its MPV looks – and it’s at the back that you’ll find one of the 207’s highlights. The rear windscreen opens separately from the tailgate, and this unique feature makes it easy to put shopping bags in when parked in tight spaces. It’s a shame, then, that the rest of the SW doesn’t feel as well put together as its rivals.

And while the upper part of the dash is smartly designed, the materials used elsewhere are low rent. The driving position is uncomfortable, too, because the footwell is cramped and the seat is positioned too high. At least there’s a decent range of reach and rake adjustment on the wheel.

In the back, the seats are mounted 20mm higher than in the hatch to increase legroom, but there isn’t as much space as the MPV looks suggest. The seat folding system is excellent, though, as the base lowers automatically as the backrest folds. This one-action movement gives you a fully flat luggage area, but the maximum load length is shorter than in both the Fabia and Clio, while the cheap parcel shelf and flimsy tie hooks are further evidence of cost cutting. The SW has the smallest boot capacity with the seats up or down, but a low load height compensates for this. Out on the road, the SW’s handling is as tidy as its hatchback stablemate’s. The steering is sharp and feedback isn’t as artificial as in the Clio, while there’s plenty of grip. The ride is composed, too, so it’s a shame the vague gearbox spoils the driving experience – especially as the 1.6-litre diesel is more civilised than the Skoda or Nissan units.

With the most power of our quartet and a 240Nm torque output, it’s a surprise that the Peugeot has the slowest in-gear responses. The answer probably lies in the relatively heavy kerbweight, but on the road the differences are not that significant.

And it’s easy to see where that extra mass comes from, because in Sport trim the 207 is well equipped, with a glass roof, curtain airbags, a full complement of rear headrests and front foglights all standard. Can they make up for the SW’s flimsy build quality?

Details

Price: £15,045
Model tested: 207 SW 1.6 HDi Sport
Chart position: 4
WHY: It’s the priciest model here, but Peugeot has stacks of family-friendly features.

Economy

It’s the most expensive car here, but the 207 SW’s servicing costs are on a par with the Renault’s and Skoda’s at £550. Thanks to CO2 emissions of 131g/km – the highest of these four – and its costly list price, the Peugeot is the most expensive company car choice. A residual prediction of 36.7 per cent is some way behind the Skoda, but closely matched to the Nissan and Renault. After three years, the 207 SW will be worth £5,522.

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