Peugeot 407 facelift: test drive
08 July 2008
Author: Nick Gibbs
|Category:|| Upper medium|
|P11D:|| £18,000 (est)|
|Key rival:|| Citroen C5|
All the talk of Germanic influence on its Citroen relative hasn't informed the facelifted Peugeot 407, but that's no bad thing in one aspect. The ride is still as comfortable as a car can manage without lolloping through the corners. After jittery if sportive rides in mid-size models from BMW, Audi and Ford (essentially German now), the controlled softness of the 407 is a real pleasure.
The four-year-anniversary revamp has focused on tidying up the front and rear end, and also improving the 2.0-litre HDI diesel engine to qualify for the soon-to-be formally announced Euro5 emissions regulations. This not only ups the power to 142PS from 138 but also the economy to just past 50mpg, at the same time lowering CO2 enough to drop a band for both VED and BIK tax.
In the brain-scrambling world of Euro5, the software-tweaking needed to affect the changes also makes it slower. The timed dash to 62mph is now 11secs instead of 9.8secs, but it doesn't feel sluggish, even if the reduction in noise levels and lack of any turbo surge initially makes you wonder.
The other change worth mentioning in the 407 is a spec shift to include free satnav in three of the four trim levels. The posh navigation currently only offered in the GT is given a techie makeover of its own and is now also free in the SE spec. Traffic updates, Bluetooth handsfree, 30GB harddrive for music storage, USB connection: it's got the lot.
But a new spec dubbed SR now sits just above the S to give businesses a cost-effective built-in nav for an expected £600. With clumsy timing, this starts off being the Smartnav call-centre system with colour screen, but then shifts to a system of Peugeot's own at the beginning of next year. Still though, both include Bluetooth handsfree and offer theft-proof satellite guidance for not much more than an aftermarket unit.
The interior itself could have used a few more changes than just a switch to a 'piano-black' plastic surround on the centre console. We're definitely a generation behind here: liberal use of hard plastics, velour seat covering and well recycled ancillary controls. There's not quite enough headroom in the otherwise roomy rear too. While we're at it, the micro changes to the front and rear bumpers won't change your mind if you didn't like the nose-heavy original design (although now with front parking sensors).
The rest of the engines stay put, bar the introduction of E85 biofuel capability for the 2.0-litre petrol. So the diesels kick off with the likeable and budget-priced 1.6 HDI with a tax-friendly CO2 reading of just 140g/km. The 2.2-litre diesel with 170PS is the power-hungry choice, because you're worth it, while the 2.7 V6 HDI strays too far into BMW pricing zones for its undoubted charms to be truly appreciated.
Both the saloon and the better looking estate-cum-hatch are still a decent business choice; they just need a bit of sweet-talking to overcome the iffy residuals. But cheap in-dash satnav and the improved refinement might just do it.