Peugeot 207 SW (2007) review

With a strong engine range and capable driving experience, the Peugeot SW is a decent addition to the 207 range

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The SW is a decent addition to the 207 range. It has more space for passengers and luggage than the five-door, and neat standard features such as the panoramic glass roof make it a stylish load-lugger. The driving experience is capable and the engine range strong - particularly the punchy diesels. If you want a small estate, it's your only choice for now. But with rivals from Skoda and Renault on the way, buyers may prefer to hang fire.

In the land of the supermini estate, the Peugeot 207 SW is king. That's because when it goes on sale next month, it will be the only small load-lugger available in the UK.

But that won't be the case for long. Skoda will launch a new Fabia Estate early in 2008, and Renault is poised to do the same with the Clio, in the shape of a model based on the striking Grand Tour concept seen at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

And with a host of brilliant supermini MPVs on sale - think Nissan's Note and Honda's Jazz - there's a great deal of choice for buyers looking for a diminutive but flexible car.

So how does the SW shape up? Completing the 207 line-up - which comprises three and five-door hatchbacks, the folding hard-top CC and range-topping GTi - predictably, the newcomer offers the most space for both passengers and luggage.

It sits on the same wheelbase as the five-door, but is 119mm longer and 38mm taller - all of which has been added at the rear. The adoption of an inverted C-pillar - similar to that on the 407 SW - looks good, and means rear passengers have great visibility.

They actually sit 15mm further back and 20mm higher than in the hatchback, too, and get a great deal more legroom as a result. What's more, the standard-fit panoramic glass roof improves life on board. It allows lots more light to enter the car, giving a bright and airy feel front and rear.

The major improvements are found in the boot, though, where there's an extra 118 litres of luggage space over the five-door, taking volume to 428 litres. It's easy to access, too, thanks to the estate's split-opening tailgate, and if you fold the rear seats, there's a flat load area of 1,433 litres.

The boot cover is also sturdy, plus there are plenty of storage cubbies, metal rings for a luggage net, as well as a hook for shopping bags.

Under the bonnet, there are three petrol engines to choose from - the veteran 75bhp 1.4-litre and two new units co-developed with BMW, in the form of a 95bhp 1.4-litre and 120bhp 1.6-litre. As for diesel options, the 1.6 HDi comes with either 90 or 110bhp.

Next year, the 207 GTi's 175bhp 1.6-litre turbo is set to join the line-up. It will power an Outdoor model, similar to the Geneva show concept of the same name. This gets higher ground clearance, as well as protective body mouldings. Think of it as a mini Audi Allroad - although bosses have yet to decide whether it will come here.

The top-spec Sport model we drove had the 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol unit, which provides decent performance, with 0-62mph taking a little under 11 seconds. Thanks to variable valve timing, it's punchy at high revs, but lacks the torque of the diesels - particularly the gutsy 110bhp 1.6 HDi, which is clearly the pick of the range.

The petrol car's 44.1mpg economy can't match the 54.3mpg return of the diesel, either - although all engines are inevitably let down by Peugeot's imprecise five-speed manual gearbox.

Considering that there have been no changes made to the suspension, the 207 SW feels virtually identical to the hatchback to drive. Still, it's competent enough, with accurate steering, decent agility and a fairly compliant ride. Standard equipment is generous, too, with the Sport model getting alloy wheels, figure-hugging front seats and air-con. Peugeot will also offer a better-specified S variant.

Priced at £880 more than the five-door, the SW represents decent value for money. However, with rivals such as the Note offering similar levels of space and greater flexibility for less money, buyers should consider their options carefully.

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