Used buyer's guide: Peugeot 407

The Peugeot 407 looks like great value, if you can put up with the glitches

Family cars don’t come much more affordable than Peugeot’s 407: it represents a lot of car for the money. It’s got a wealth of talents, too, from excellent refinement and a superb ride to good looks and plenty of kit. However, while many drivers have enjoyed thousands of trouble-free miles, others have been less fortunate. Some frustrated owners end up selling the car on – and you need to ensure you don’t end up buying one of those ‘distress sales’.

Saloons which don’t wear a premium badge usually sell poorly in the UK, but buyers embraced the Peugeot 407 thanks to its enticing blend of economy, comfort, value and refinement. The 407 was a fleet favourite for much of its life, and is a familiar sight on British roads, with its popularity boosted by the sharp-looking and good-value SW estate.

Yet although the car is cheap to buy, it can prove frustrating to own, with some examples hit by a variety of faults – which Peugeot dealers aren’t always able to fix. However, if you hold out for a good one, this car can make a great purchase.

History

The 407 replaced Peugeot’s 406 in May 2004, in saloon form only. From September 2004 there was an SW estate, too, plus a coupe from January 2006; we’ll cover this separately in another guide.

The saloon and estate shared the same engine choices: 1.8, 2.0, 2.2 and 3.0-litre V6 petrols or 1.6 and 2.0 HDi turbodiesels. A 2.2 HDi appeared in April 2006, along with an excellent 2.7 HDi V6; at this point, the range was revised, with specifications enhanced on most models.

A more comprehensive refresh came in September 2008; this brought a revised nose, plus a new SR trim and a 2.0 HDi 140 diesel engine.

Alternatives

If you’re after a big car that offers tremendous value, the Vauxhall Vectra and Insignia and Ford Mondeo fit the bill perfectly, and they’re available in a range of bodystyles. The Ford is better to drive, but each car offers space, safety and equipment galore.

Toyota’s Avensis is also worth a look if you rate reliability above dynamics (not that it’s bad to drive), and is offered in various bodystyles. Don’t discount the Skoda Octavia, either; it’s well built, spacious, reliable and good to drive, with fine engines.

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