Peugeot 207 review
The 207 isn't a class leader. While the driving experience is a plus, the engine and gearbox disappoint, and the design hasn't changed much.
Driving: The 207 is, at launch, saddled with a petrol engine range that's far from fresh. Best is the 1.4-litre 16v unit, but other engines are mediocre at best. Much better are the HDi turbodiesels, and the petrol situation will be improved in time with a new range of motors jointly developed with BMW. Hopefully they'll have a better gearbox than the vague, woolly and obstructive 'box of launch cars. Brakes are also less than impressive in terms of stopping distances, even if they do offer good feel. However, engineers have obviously worked hard on the chassis and suspension. The set-up is firmer than, say, the 207's arch-rival, Renault's Clio. It's busier on the road and less settled at high speed. However, it rides far better than a Fiat Punto and is very well mannered. And Peugeot hasn't lost its touch with the handling. Body roll is minimal, there is lots of grip and good balance. It's not electrifying in bends, yet is capable and composed, with well weighted steering. In other words, the 207 is a mature car to drive.
Marketplace: The 207 is, from launch, offered in both three- and five-door guise, with a wide range of five engines and six trim levels. Interestingly, three-door models are expected to outsell five-doors. Proving that the supermini sector is growing, the 207 is longer, taller and wider than the old 306 family hatchback! As for looks, bosses obviously believed there was no point tinkering too much with a winning formula, so the new model's proportions and styling cues are very similar to the 206's, but have been exaggerated to hide the size gains. It undoubtedly appears more grown up, but isn't as cute as before. Rivals, naturally, include the Clio, Fiat Punto, Ford Fiesta, Honda Jazz and Vauxhall Corsa.
Owning: Interior quality and ergonomics have taken a giant leap forward. This was the 206's biggest failing, but with its vastly superior seats and driving position, plus high-quality dash top plastics, the 207 is immediately welcoming and comfortable. It's far from flawless though. Some interior colour schemes are too dark, stowage isn't that well planned, the heating controls are dated and there's little individuality. Things don't improve in the rear, as adults will find headroom and legroom cramped, while the windows are small. The 270-litre boot also trails the class best. Prices undercut the equivalent Clio but it isn't the cheapest in the class. It does promise good retained values though, while fuel economy appears good and insurance ratings are reasonable. Service intervals are long too, while the Euro-NCAP result is an excellent five stars, with good results for pedestrian safety too.