Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Peugeot 407 Range Revised

new trim level and the introduction of an excellent turbo diesel engine are the main stories in Peugeot's revision of the 407 saloon and SW line-ups. The new trim level is called Sport, and it slots in between SE and Executive to come second in what is now a four-tier range. In addition to what you already get in the SE, the Sport adds electric front seat adjustment, a 6-CD autochanger, rear parking sensors and a multi-function colour display screen. Engine options here are the 2.2-litre petrol and HDi 136 turbo diesel units.
The HDi 136 isn't the new diesel, though. That's the 205bhp 2.7-litre twin turbo HDi V6, which is already been in the 407 Coupé and is also familiar in various Jaguars, Land Rovers and so on. Peugeot is supplying the V6 only with 407s in the Executive trim levels, where it joins the HDi 136 and three-litre petrol V6.

Another new feature is a six-speed automatic gearbox to go with the HDi 136 in SE, Sport and Executive models, in addition to the existing manual versions. The 2.7 V6 gets automatic transmission as standard.


Peugeot 307 XSE

The Peugeot 307 XSE 5-speed manual is a car about which we feel ambivalent. It has some good points and it has some bad. Trouble is, often the good and bad are about the one aspect of the car.

Take interior space. With its tall body design, the 307 has a large amount of room under the hatch, in the back seat and in the front. The doors open wide and the car comes complete with a cargo net. But for the driver, that interior space is outweighed by the pedals that are offset to the left, in turn forcing the driver’s leg in that direction - and so quickly revealing the lack of room next to the clutch pedal and the intrusiveness of the centre console. (And the pedals are so close together, and so close to interior trim bits, no-one with large shoes will be able to comfortably drive.)

The door pockets front and rear are huge, but then when the front seat passenger leans forward and opens the glovebox, everyone gives a hollow laugh. The open glovebox reveals that the lid could be half the size – the space comes pre-filled with a black box. Just as well there are underseat storage trays. At a glance the 307 is a practical, roomy car – then you find the front fold-down armrests are much too short - and are not adjustable for angle - and so are awkward to use; the centre console drinks holder won’t take even a small bottle; and the driver’s seat is adjustable only for rear height – the seat pivots around a front point and so the forward part of the seat cannot be adjusted up or down. (And we wanted it down!) Hmmm. However, at least the steering is both height- and reach-adjustable.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Peugeot 1007 1.4 HDi 70 Sport

Peugeot is trying these days to occupy every nook and cranny of what's known as the B segment. By the end of 2006 it will have four models in the same class - the forthcoming 207, the continuing 206, the little 107 (which to be honest strikes me as more of an A-segment car) and, least conventional of them all, the 1007 tested here. Perhaps this wide choice is just as well, because the word from the trade is that the 1007 isn't shifting. Customers take one look at it and walk away, but at least when they do that there's a 206 sitting nearby so they don't necessarily march straight out of the showroom


Friday, March 03, 2006

Serious meets sexy in Peugeot concept

With 202kW of power, Peugeot's 207 RCup concept has some serious mumbo to match its sexy, sporty exterior.
The RCup will be one of two Peugeots on display at the Geneva Motor Show next week. Peugeot says the RCup could be the design blueprint for a future European one-make racing series.
Powered by a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre 16V petrol engine, the RCup has a six-speed sequential gearbox. The Super Pug has just 10cm of ground clearance and sits on four 18-inch wheels with 235/40R18 tyres.
The front air dam has air extraction ducts forward of the front wheels and the rear roof spoiler delivers increased down force

The diesel engine is a 1.6-litre HDi FAP (DV6TED4) with 80kW of power combined with a 2.5kW Stop and Start system (STT) (2.5kW), which allows the car to run fully electric below 60km/h. The electric motor is capable of up to 31kW and 180Nm.
The electric motor works on its own at low speed and when decelerating. The thermal engine operates on its own at constant speed on open roads and motorways. The battery pack takes the place of the spare wheel.

Peugeot's 207, Clean 307

Peugeot's presence at the Geneva Show, starting on February 28, will naturally focus on the new 207 range, which goes on sale in the UK from the middle of the year. As with many small Peugeots in recent years, the 207 looks likely to be the basis of a competition programme, since the Geneva stand will feature a very special RCup version of the new car.


Peugeot 207 gets five star safety rating

The new Peugeot 207, available in the summer, has been awarded 5 stars by Euro-NCAP for occupant protection.
It also gets a 3 star rating for pedestrian protection and 4 star rating for child protection - the highest aggregate score so far achieved by a supermini. While a five star rating is now pretty well expected for occupant safety, three stars for pedestrian safety is probably as good as a car can currently score without using a pyrotechnic bonnet (like the new Jaguar XK8), which automatically lifts on impact to cushion pedestrians from the engine. That would be very expensive indeed for a supermini.
Safety equipment includes up to six airbags, anti-submarining seats, pre-tensioning seatbelts with force limiters and, Isofix mountings for child protection on the two outer rear seats.

Peugeot 407 Coupé 3.0 GT

If you're a style-conscious buyer, what makes you sign a cheque for a coupé? Look at class sales figures over the past few years, and the answer appears simple. If it's got a sporty badge on the bonnet, or an electric folding roof, it's a dead cert.
But in such a competitive market, what chance does a newcomer with neither have? At £28,400, Peugeot's 407 Coupé costs nearly as much as a Mercedes CLK, Volvo's new C70 and BMW's imminent 3-Series Coupé.
The French maker does have an ace up its sleeve, though. With a gaping mouth and shark-like gills, the 407 Coupé certainly stands out from the crowd. Add in the sweeping roofline and chunky rear end, and the result is a distinctive and stylish two-door.
Inside, it's little different to the saloon model. Despite a lower driving position, you get no sense that you're controlling a sporty car because the A-pillars are so far away. And while build quality is better than on other 407s we have driven, the confusing centre console with its myriad of buttons remains unchanged. In the back, a lack of adults or chil-dren will be comfortable on a long trip.
But buyers seeking a fast, smooth driving experience will enjoy the Coupé. Our 211bhp 3.0-litre V6-engined GT test model had plenty of creamy power, and sprinted from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds. With seamless shifts from the six-speed automatic gearbox, it's very relaxing, yet surprisingly fast. Economy is less impres-sive - expect to average 25mpg.
Thanks to revised suspension and a bodyshell that's much stiffer than the 407 saloon's, the Coupé feels good through corners, though. While the steering isn't razor sharp, body roll is well suppressed and bumps and ruts are effectively smoothed out. As you would expect from a top-spec model, the GT comes with lots of equipment, including electric leather seats, a six-CD changer and sat-nav as standard. But for £28,400, so it should.
And despite the Peugeot's virtues, it's difficult to get away from that enormous price - especially when, unlike premium rivals, the 407 Coupé won't hold on to its value particularly well.

Testing Peugeot's 'Sesame' 1007

The world first saw the Peugeot 1007 as a concept car, the Sesame, way back in 2002, and it struck me at the time that this was a fair idea, but wouldn't make it to production, mainly because of costs. Well, Peugeot proved me wrong and brought it out as the 1007 - and it was immediately surrounded by controversy, because the owners of the James Bond copyright insisted that Peugeot couldn't describe it as a One-Double-O-Seven as they hold the copyright on "007". So you have to call it "one thousand and seven". Which is crazy. For me, "One Double O Seven" is how I think about it, and that's what I'll call it when I discuss it with friends. Message to the James Bond crowd: sue me. Justice But perhaps it's poetic justice, as my friend and fellow journalist Stuart Johnston pointed out the other day, for way back, when Porsche wanted to call their new car a "901", Peugeot stepped in and acclaimed they had copyrighted all the '01' numbers. So out of that was born the Porsche 911, and the rest is history. I wonder, when (or if) Peugeot actually uses the 901 badge, how many people will be able to recall the Peugeot 901 compared to those who instantly recognise Porsche 911! Anyway, I digress. The Peugeot 1007 - distinguishable from the 107 hatchback by the extra zero to denote it's a niche model - is essentially a small but tall hatchback with two sliding side doors. To make it a bit more interesting customers can choose a "mix and match" interior. Customers get a standard trim colour, and can get a spare set of 12 interchangeable interior parts in the colour of their choice, comprising two door and two rear storage box covers, two dashboard mats, four air-vent surrounds and eight seat covers. Cost: R 2 000 a set. Interestingly, the 1007 is as tall as the much bigger Peugeot 307 - itself a tall car in its segment - but shorter than the Peugeot 206, which is a SHORT car in its segment.