Quite the pack­age

Com­pact out­side and spa­cious in­side, the Peu­geot had the an­gles cov­ered for en­gine op­tions and body styles

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR - with Gra­ham Smith

NEW

Thanks to its long-dis­tance ral­ly­ing suc­cesses in the 1950s Peu­geot once en­joyed a great rep­u­ta­tion in this land, then it dropped off the radar of all but rusted-on Fran­cophiles.

The brand doesn’t rank high on most Aus­tralian shop­ping lists de­spite some de­cent mod­els in the past few years, among them the small 207.

Larger than the model it re­placed, the pretty 207 had a sur­pris­ingly roomy cabin for its com­pact ex­ter­nal di­men­sions. Its boot was also of a de­cent size, and it could be made even larger by fold­ing the rear seats down.

There was quite a choice of body styles in the range, in­clud­ing a three-door hatch, a five-door hatch and a wagon. There were also a cou­ple of hot hatches, and a con­vert­ible and a CC coupe/con­vert­ible, but the hatches and the wagon as the most pop­u­lar mod­els are the fo­cus here.

The model range at launch kicked off with the XR and climbed through the XT and XE. A later up­date brought the Spor­tium hatch and Out­door wagon vari­ants.

As might be ex­pected from Peu­geot, the 207 had petrol and turbo diesel en­gine op­tions, with a choice of out­puts to suit econ­omy or per­for­mance.

Two 1.4-litre petrol fours pro­duced 55kW (tuned to­wards econ­omy) and 65kW (for more zip). There was also a 1.6-litre four with 88kW that pow­ered the hatches and wag­ons.

The pop­u­lar turbo diesel op­tion was a 1.6-litre four, which was high on torque for a smooth driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It be­gan with 80kW/240 Nm but was up­dated to 82kW/270Nm.

The trans­mis­sion choices in the front-drive 207 were five and six-speed man­u­als and four-speed auto.

Typ­i­cally, given its French an­tecedents, the 207 was a com­fort­able and re­fined car to ride in, the cabin was roomy enough for two adults to travel in com­fort­able seats with space to spare and the sus­pen­sion suf­fi­ciently soaked up bumps to make the trip a pleas­ant one. It was per­haps not quite the same for those in the rear, which was re­ally best suited to kids.

NOW

The 207, be­ing gen­er­ally well built, gives lit­tle trou­ble. There are no ma­jor prob­lems to be con­cerned about and sec­ond­hand buy­ers can ap­proach it with rea­son­able con­fi­dence of get­ting a de­cent run out of their pur­chase.

A cou­ple of the own­ers we spoke to re­ported is­sues with the man­ual gear­box. One said the shift was notchy and not as smooth as some other 207s they’d driven.

More con­cern­ing is the other owner’s re­port­ing that the gear­box reg­u­larly jumped out of gear while driv­ing along. It hap­pened of­ten, and more wor­ry­ing, the dealer didn’t ap­pear able to fix it, and they sim­ply took it as a fact of their driv­ing life. That’s un­ac­cept­able.

With that knowl­edge it’s im­por­tant to closely watch the op­er­a­tion of the gear­box in the hope of detecting any­thing that might seem a prob­lem. A notchy shift could mean a worn clutch.

The four-speed au­to­matic is a reg­u­lar torque con­verter job and not a po­ten­tially trou­ble­some dual-clutch ’box.

All own­ers are unan­i­mous in praise of the 207’s econ­omy, whether petrol or turbo diesel.

A reg­u­lar com­plaint, how­ever, is the cost of ser­vic­ing. It’s the same with all Euro­pean brands and over­all it’s best to find a me­chanic who spe­cialises in the brand. These me­chan­ics can be worth their weight in gold, as they know the brand in­ti­mately and are usu­ally able to get hold of cheaper parts, ei­ther new or used, than a dealer’s work­shop.

OWN­ERS SAY

Robert Ash­ley My wife has had a 207 for al­most four years and it has been a good car. The biggest prob­lem is that it jumps out of gear at 60-80 km/h. A mes­sage say­ing there is a prob­lem comes up when it hap­pens, we do not know what it is, and it slips back into gear OK, so you do not need to stop. The bang when it pops out of gear is fright­en­ing. We were told it’s an electrical fault and fixed, but it still acts the same al­most ev­ery time you drive it. It only hap­pens once per trip but their fix never worked. It’s out of war­ranty, so we put up with it, as the car has not done 40,000km yet. Ev­ery­thing else works well. Dis­ap­pointed they have not fixed it.

Grant I have a 207 HDi and pre­vi­ously had a 207 LeMans HDi. The fuel econ­omy is the biggest plus for the 207, I get bet­ter than 5.0L/100km on the open road. The only mi­nor com­plaint is with the gear­box in the cur­rent car, which is not nearly as smooth chang­ing as the LeMans. Re­li­a­bil­ity has never been a prob­lem.

Travis Cook I had a 207 for a cou­ple of years and only had to re­place wipers, brake pads and a few globes. There was a mi­nor oil leak is­sue but no other headaches. The main com­plaint is the cost of ser­vice, which is higher than Ja­panese brands.

Laura Jack­son I’ve had my 207

for five years and it’s been re­li­able. It per­forms well and is eco­nom­i­cal. I couldn’t be hap­pier.

Leigh Tip­pett My nine-year-old diesel has been fan­tas­tic. It’s sur­pris­ingly roomy, the econ­omy is great and it drives beau­ti­fully. The only thing I’m not so happy about is the cost of ser­vic­ing.

SMITHY SAYS

Smooth, re­fined, com­fort­able and gen­er­ally re­li­able. Wor­thy of con­sid­er­a­tion.

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