Peugeot 207 1.4 16v 5dr S
14 June 2006
Category: Supermini Price: £8995-£15,345
Delivery: 2-4 weeks Key rival: Renault Clio
Superminis are growing up, and the Peugeot 207 is the latest in a line of new models breaking the four-metre barrier, making these previously urban-centric models more practical as an 'only car' than ever before.
The sector's also the most active and competitive this year, with the new Renault Clio, Fiat Grande Punto and Toyota Yaris already with us, as well as the facelifted Ford Fiesta, and fleet's most popular supermini - Vauxhall's Corsa - being replaced by an all-new model this October.
So the new Peugeot 207 has got its work cut out to grab attention. The 206 was a huge retail favourite, crowned biggest-selling retail car of the year three times since its launch back in 1998, and also sold consistently to fleet, though sales dropped off last year and the car only just made the top 20.
The 207 is 200mm longer, 65mm wider and 56mm taller than its predecessor, and it shows the moment you sit inside, at least in the front seats where the extra space is telling. The pedal box is slightly wider, the 206's close pedals were a bugbear, but there's more space for larger feet in the new model. The standard reach-adjustable steering wheel is a welcome addition, while cabin trim is improved, especially across the top of the dashboard where it's obvious money has been spent. All the controls are straight from the Peugeot-Citroen parts bin that feeds across both model ranges, so nothing new to report there, but they're logically laid out and nicely finished.
On the downside, there's not a great amount of rear space, and transporting four adults any distance will be something of an endurance exercise. And though the boot is bigger than before, and around the class average, it will still be a struggle to get four people's weekend bags in.
That extra size has obviously meant an increase in weight, so some of the smaller engines in the range struggle a little. The 1.4 petrol driven here is expected to be far and away the biggest seller, and it needs a little bit of hard work to see any significant performance, though it's adequate given the urban lifestyle of these sorts of cars. But if you're a fan of any kind of brisk acceleration, the top-spec 110PS 1.6 diesel is the only real option, other than waiting until the turn of the year when two new 1.6 petrol engines arrive, developed with BMW and also set for the new Mini.
On the road, the Peugeot isn't quite on the pace of the class best, it doesn't ride particularly well Britain's poorer roads. The chassis is more impressive though as you head into twistier turns, and the steering is direct, though the electric assistance takes away a lot of the feel.
The 207 is a credible option in what is an increasingly competitive arena with no stand-out class-leader. But it doesn't move the game on from the new Punto, Clio or Yaris. The costs are also middling, which just about sums up the car. It will be interesting to see if the new Corsa manages to shake things up.