Peugeot 4007

Lion off-roader borrows heavily from Mitsubishi sister model.

French giant Peugeot doesn’t have much of a history in the 4x4 class, so it took the sensible step of teaming up with the off-road experts at Mitsubishi to produce the 4007. The model is built at the Japanese manufacturer’s NedCar plant in the Netherlands, and is effectively a reworked version of the Outlander.

On the outside this is plain to see, and the signature Peugeot grille is at odds with the rest of the conventional bodywork. The end result is something of a mismatch.

The interior is much more successful. While the trim owes more to Mitsubishi than Peugeot, the simple dashboard looks modern. Some of the plastics feel cheap, though, and the optional touchscreen sat-nav and audio system is fiddly to use. Nevertheless, if you opt for the flagship GT specification, you get plenty of equipment as standard – this includes leather upholstery and heated seats.

To go with these high-end features, the 4007 also packs a healthy degree of versatility. The middle row of seats splits 60/40, and slides back and forward by up to 80mm. It tumbles, to provide access to the occasional third row behind. But the pair of extra seats in the Peugeot is complicated to fix in place, and they have very thin cushions. Space is tight, too, so these chairs are strictly for children.

The rearmost seats fold flat into the boot floor, yet even with them stowed the Peugeot’s load area is smaller than the Honda’s. It’s a more practical shape than the Toyota’s, however, and its low loading height is a plus. It’s just a shame that, up front, the driving position is compromised by the lack of steering reach adjustment. But the leather rim provides clues to the 4007’s most important update.

Hiding behind the wheel is a pair of metal shift paddles – the same levers as you’ll find in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo saloon. They provide manual control of the new Getrag dual-clutch automated box. Allied to Peugeot’s 2.2-litre HDi engine, this gives smooth and fast shifts.

Throttle response is hesitant at low revs, and the relatively heavy 4007 can’t match the Honda and Toyota’s in-gear punch. But its weak performance in our 0-60mph test was partly down to the fact that our GT’s sporty low-profile tyres lacked bite in the snowy conditions. This compromised the effectiveness of its 4x4 system.

The transmission is controlled by a rotary knob. It features a differential lock for tricky conditions and, uniquely in this test, a front-wheel-drive mode designed to save fuel. Yet no matter how many wheels are driving, the 4007’s handling is mixed.

Turn-in is positive, but the steering has an artificial feel. And the car isn’t as at home on country roads as the nimbler RAV4 or more composed Honda. The suspension fidgets over bumpy surfaces, while sound insulation seems minimal – too much road and engine noise is allowed into the cabin.

The slick gearbox and flexible interior give the revised 4007 plenty of appeal, but at nearly £30,000 it looks too expensive.

Details

WHY: Seven-seat flexibility is blended with sporty handling and comfort in the 4007. Plus, it has a new twin-clutch box.

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