Peugeot 807 2.2 HDi Exec.
For eight years, Ford's Galaxy has had an easy ride. As the UK's best-selling full-size MPV it had the opposition licked - despite being virtually identical, the VW Sharan was pricier and the SEAT Alhambra didn't have the right image.
The 807 and its stablemates look set to mount a serious challenge to the might of the Galaxy. All that remains to be seen is how the Peugeot fares in terms of value against the Citroen C8 and Fiat Ulysse, as this will sway most buyers.
For eight years, Ford's Galaxy has had an easy ride. As the UK's best-selling full-size MPV it had the opposition licked - despite being virtually identical, the VW Sharan was pricier and the SEAT Alhambra didn't have the right image. Competition from Japan was weak, and while France's Renault Espace was a fine machine, it was more expensive.
The only other real rivals were the Peugeot 806, Citroen Synergie and Fiat Ulysse, which offered reasonable space and spec yet couldn't match the Ford's build, value or dynamics.
But now the Galaxy has a new battle to fight, thanks to a fresh attack from the Peugeot/Citroen/Fiat trio. Their latest MPV has more identity than its predecessor, claims class-leading interior space and excellent packaging - but can it see off the best-seller?
We've already been impressed by left-hand-drive Peugeot 807s and Citroen C8s, but here's a RHD Peugeot to try on our crowded and crumbling roads. This is the 2.2 HDi 16v Executive version, which we believe gives the best engine and trim combination of the range. The £23,555 machine uses the same refined diesel powerplant that's in Peugeot's 406 and Citroen's C5, and produces 136bhp. A 110bhp 2.0-litre HDi is also available, but struggles with the MPV's weight.
Punch The 2.2 HDi hasn't as much refinement or punch as the similarly sized petrol model, but returns 9mpg more and loses little in terms of real world performance due to its torque spread.
Inside, the 807 is roomy and the driving position comfortable, if upright, while visibility is excellent all-round. Our test model's front seat had electric adjustment and could swivel 1800.
Even with all seven chairs in place, the car has a spacious load area, while thanks to the clever 'Quickfix' system, the seats can all be removed. The MPV's 58 cubbyholes and innovative electric sliding doors make the interior incredibly practical. So the 807 has the potential to be a class leader for its cabin - but how is it on the road?
In terms of ride and refinement, it gives a good account of itself. The supple suspension soaks up bumps without fuss, while the soundproofing is excellent. At motorway speeds, the cabin is a relaxing environment, while well selected ratios mean the car pulls easily, although the gearbox isn't that rewarding to use. Added to this, the steering isn't too responsive - but then that's hardly the point with a big MPV.
What the 807 does offer is a neat, easy to drive package. That makes it a contender - although the real test will come when it faces the Galaxy, C8 and new Espace next year. It looks as if the Peugeot could be a real threat.