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Peugeot 4007

Peugeot's 4007 off-roader has car-like handling and a torquey, refined engine

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3.0 out of 5

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The 4007 completes the trio of off-roaders developed from Mitsubishi's Outlander platform. It has car-like handling, a torquey, refined engine and seven seats. As with its cousins, it's limited on rough terrain, but that doesn't detract from an otherwise strong package. The only blot on the Peugeot's copybook is that awkward front end. Still, if you don't like the styling, there is always the Citroen or Mitsubishi.

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Three is the magic number - at least, that's what Peugeot is hoping. Its new 4007 is the third and final product of a collaboration which has already given us the Citroen C-Crosser and Mitsubishi Outlander.

As with Citroen, this is the Lion's first attempt at an SUV, and the firm is hoping to cash in on a booming 'soft-roader' market when the model goes on sale later this month.

But the newcomer is set to plunge into an extremely competitive sector. Even if you ignore its two sister cars, the 4007 is facing up to contenders such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda CR-V and the latest Land Rover Freelander, not to mention the Vauxhall Antara.

Similarities with the Outlander and C-Crosser are immediately obvious. From the base of the windscreen back, the bodywork is identical, although Peugeot has added all-red rear light lenses. As with its cousins, however, the 4007 does get its own distinctive nose treatment - yet it's the least attractive of the trio.

The gaping grille, heavy-handed badge and long overhang provide it with an ungainly appearance. Unlike the Citroen and Mitsubishi, the Peugeot's front end looks as though it's been tacked on as an afterthought.

There are no nasty surprises waiting once you climb into the cabin, as the layout is exactly the same as in the other models. That means a commanding driving position, good build and decent materials.

Specify the optional sat-nav unit and you'll also be treated to a powerful Rockford Fosgate sound system - although the large bass speaker is mounted in the boot, and takes up valuable luggage space.

On the whole, practicality is a real strength. Unlike most offerings in the sector, the 4007 features a five-plus-two seating layout. The third row is only really suitable for occasional use, and the folding mechanism for these rearmost chairs is fiddly. Helpfully, though, once you have mastered the set-up, the seats drop flush into the floor when they're not needed.

Out on the road, the strong similarities between the Peugeot and its cousins continue. Under the skin, the car features identical chassis settings, and that translates into a polished performance. Precise steering, strong grip and a surprisingly supple ride all add up to a driving experience which is very saloon-like.

Its agility is aided by a complex four-wheel-drive system. The set-up is electronically controlled, so drivers can switch between front and all-wheel-drive modes simply by twirling a knob between the front seats.

You'll find it's best to direct power to all four corners. The 156bhp 2.2-litre HDi engine delivers a healthy 380Nm of torque at only 2,000rpm, and so torque steer is an issue when accelerating hard in two-wheel-drive mode. Otherwise, the turbodiesel com-bines decent pace with impressive smoothness and refinement.

It's reasonably green as well. With CO2 emissions of only 191g/km and fuel consumption of 39.2mpg on the combined cycle, the 4007 is one of the most environmentally friendly off-roaders you can buy.

In the UK, buyers get a choice of only two trim levels: SE and GT, costing £22,790 and £25,490 respectively. The Citroen carries an identical price, but the Mitsubishi undercuts both, and also offers a wider range.

So if you want an easy-to-drive SUV with seven-seat practicality and a refined, frugal diesel powerplant, this could be the car for you. All you have to decide is which badge you want on the bootlid.

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