Peugeot 407 SW GT
It's never an easy task trying to keep up with the latest and best models in the ultra-competitive family car sector. But Peugeot has given its five-year-old 407 a mid-life makeover in an attempt to compete with the likes of the Ford Mondeo, new Citroen C5 and imminent Vauxhall Insignia.
The ageing 407 has struggled to make its mark in the hard-fought family sector in recent years, and sadly these revisions haven’t done enough to raise the SW above its more accomplished rivals. With dated looks, limited load capacity and a high price, it fails to make a convincing case as a versatile hold-all.
We have already driven the revised saloon, but how do the changes affect the practical SW estate version? Visually, the alterations are limited to reprofiled bumpers front and rear, while the tail-lights get the same LED-effect finish as the 407 Coupé. Inside, the tweaks include glossy piano black trim on the centre console, and there’s a greater use of chrome across the rest of the cabin. The range-topping GT driven here also gets classy leather upholstery.
Sadly, these revisions fail to disguise the Peugeot’s advancing years. Compared to the hi-tech sat-nav and audio systems of its rivals, the 407’s fiddly, multi-button layout is confusing and dated. The car isn’t even a particularly practical estate. Carrying capacity is only 430 litres, which increases to 1,365 with the rear bench folded flat. The Mondeo will hold 1,745 litres.
What’s more, the French model’s boot opening is narrow and awkwardly shaped, making the loading of large items tricky. On the plus side, the tailgate glass lifts separately, allowing you to drop items inside when parked in a tight spot.
On the road, the 407 turns in a much more impressive performance. The torquey 170bhp 2.2-litre diesel is refined and serves up punchy mid-range acceleration.
Ride comfort is excellent, with the car absorbing bumps and potholes. And, despite a lack of steering feel, the Peugeot remains poised and grippy in corners. Ultimately, though, time is catching up with the 407, and there are many more talented rivals that do a better job.