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Diesel GT previews new generation of Peugeot hot hatch. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.

Diesel GT previews new generation of Peugeot hot hatch
On paper, Peugeot's bold new 207 has all it needs to take the fight to the competition. Does the new little lion roar or whimper?

   



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#02# So far as enthusiasts are concerned, Peugeot's new 207 has the unenviable task of trying, again, to repeat the marque's success with the 205. In some ways the 205 has become something of an albatross hovering around Peugeot, as such was its popularity with enthusiasts that the failure to recapture the magic in the 20 years since has left fans disappointed, and potential sales unfulfilled. The previous two-oh-something, the 206, underwhelmed dynamically in its GTi format and left us reminiscing again of the magic of the 205. The 206 did however move the small Peugeot up in size and boasted improved packaging and refinement and of course it was (and still is) a hugely successful seller. The 207 aims to take these improvements still further, whilst injecting some of the old genetic magic back into the chassis.

Looks-wise the 207 is something of an acquired taste. The bloodline is clearly evident in various aspects of the design. The profile is typical modern Peugeot; smooth and rakish, and the rear end is a fairly soft evolution and modernisation of the 206. The front is a much more radical rework. The gaping grille and heavily sculpted nose ensure it is unmistakably a Peugeot. The corporate face may be bold and distinctive, but time will tell whether the looks age well.

The interior on the other hand is a huge improvement, particularly in this high spec. GT model we tested. The optional leather seats are comfortable and supportive and the driving position boasts a good range of adjustability. It's worth noting that the bold design does make the relatively small 207 quite difficult to manoeuvre in tight spaces. The front end is largely hidden from the driver's eyes and there is a large blind spot concealed by the raking A-pillars. This isn't something unique to the 207, but is something that should be checked out on a test drive as some may find it off-putting.

This shortcoming doesn't detract from the quality of the cabin though, which is at least a match for most rivals, if a little behind the usual VW benchmark. There are plenty of storage cubbies and space in general and the full-length glass roof is becoming something of a favourite of ours, such is the benefit in terms of cabin lighting, ambience and the impression of airiness and space it lends. Competitors will no doubt be aiming to include such a feature in their models. #p##02# On the road the 207 drives well. The steering is perhaps a little light, but the controls have the usual Peugeot feel which means the characteristically direct and swift gearchange and the over-servoed brake pedal actuation that takes a little bit of familiarisation, but soon becomes comfortable and easy to modulate.

The 1.6-litre HDi engine is the most powerful diesel engine in the range for the moment, producing 110bhp at 4000rpm and a full 180lb.ft of torque at 1750rpm. Driving through a five-speed manual gearbox this grunt translates into decent performance with good in-gear acceleration and a willingness to rev. The 0-60mph sprint in 10.1 seconds and a 120mph maximum are excellent figures for a 1.6-litre diesel, even more so considering the somewhat bulky 1244kg kerb weight.

Bearing this figure in mind the fuel economy is even more impressive. On delivery, the trip computer showed an average of 57mpg over the previous 2,000 miles. Being the cynics we are we reset the short term trip and carried about our business as usual. Lo-and-behold a tank of fuel's worth of driving later and we had achieved very nearly the same 57mpg over many hundreds of miles of mixed driving. Low CO2 emissions, leading to cheaper tax, further adds to the reasonable running costs associated with this car.

The ride and handling of the Peugeot 207 doesn't rekindle the magic of the 205, but then modern safety and consumer demands mean that such heights are unlikely to be scaled again in anything other than specialist models. The kerb weight may suggest that the car might feel heavy, but only in extremis does the nose begin to feel weighty and understeer sets in. The ride quality is good for the most part with the lower profile tyres and larger wheels of this GT model perhaps degrading it slightly compared to lesser models. We think that the looks and gain in dry-road grip are worth the sacrifice.

Cabin noise is well suppressed and particularly with the optional RT3 multi-media option including satnav and a JBL stereo, the cabin is a very comfortable place to while away the miles between infrequent refuellings. The cabin, engine and chassis match the GT moniker quite well; we'll leave it to the GTi for ultimate dynamic satisfaction and enjoyment, we hope. #p##04# Overall, the new Peugeot 207 has what it takes to worry the current class leaders. The looks may divide opinion, but the space, comfort, equipment levels and especially the economy and running costs, should satisfy the majority of buyers. As a practical family hatch it really delivers. We have yet to find out if enthusiasts will be catered for.
Peugeot 207 hatchback UK range overview

Prices below are for the three-door models. Note that the five-door versions attract a £600 premium. Models marked with a * are only available in the five-door style.

- Peugeot 207 Urban 1.4 8v: £8,995
- Peugeot 207 Urban 1.4 HDi 70: £9,895
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 8v: £9,345
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 8v a/c: £9,895
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 16v 90: £9.745
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 16v 90 a/c: £10,295
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 HDi 70: £10,245
- Peugeot 207 S 1.4 HDi 70 a/c: £10,795
- Peugeot 207 S 1.6 HDi 90 a/c: £11,395
- Peugeot 207 Sport 1.4 16v 90 a/c: £10,895
- Peugeot 207 Sport 1.6 16v a/c: £11,395
- Peugeot 207 Sport 1.6 HDi 90 a/c: £11,995
- Peugeot 207 Sport 1.6 HDi 110 FAP a/c: £12,695
- Peugeot 207 SE 1.4 16v 90 a/c: £11,695*
- Peugeot 207 SE 1.6 16v a/c: £12,195*
- Peugeot 207 SE 1.6 HDi 90 a/c: £12,795*
- Peugeot 207 SE 1.6 HDi 110 FAP a/c: £13,495*
- Peugeot 207 GT 1.6 THP 150 a/c: £14,345 (three-door only)
- Peugeot 207 Sport 1.6 HDi 110 FAP a/c: £14,745

Dave Jenkins - 9 Nov 2006



  www.peugeot.co.uk    - Peugeot road tests
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2006 Peugeot 207 specifications: (GT HDi)
Price: 14,745 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 10.1 seconds
Top speed: 120mph
Combined economy: 58.8mpg
Emissions: 126g/km
Kerb weight: 1244kg

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.



2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 

2006 Peugeot 207 GT. Image by Shane O' Donoghue.
 






 

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