Does this car make my butt look big?
- 2010 Peugeot 407 ST HDi; 2.0-litre, four cylinder, six-speed auto, turbo diesel, sedan - $46,190
- Metallic Paint $800; Satellite Navigation $3,500; Leather trim with heated electric seats $4,500
A long sloping nose and a generous size rear end are rarely features to aspire to, but in the case of the Peugeot 407, it brings a refreshingly different look to the street. The 407 gains full marks for individuality, although I can't help thinking, does this car make my butt look big?
The Peugeot 407 line-up offers a range of model variants that straddle a large price bracket, starting with the base model 2.0-litre SR HDi which costs around $40,990, through to the 2.7-litre V6 SV HDi Touring which will set you back and extra $25,000. The ST HDi automatic that we're testing comes in at the lower end of this price spectrum at around $46,190.
The Peugeot's 2.0-litre diesel produces 100Kw and 320Nm and does a great job of moving this large car that weighs in at around 1732kg. Equally important, the brakes are fast to bring this car to a stand still. The suspension is silky smooth and absorbs all the humps and bumps that even the worst of Melbourne's roads have to offer. It makes for a composed and quiet ride with excellent road holding. Even the chug of the diesel engine goes seemingly unnoticed in the cabin. There is however a bit of road noise to be heard.
The Peugeot's steering is light, precise and offers a nice level of feedback that lets you feel adequately involved in the drive experience. Parking sensors are a great help in handling the Peugeot's large dimensions. A visual and audible warning system protects front, rear and corner panels.
The six-speed automatic transmission on our vehicle performed beautifully. There is a slight delay in uptake when you put your foot to the floor, but we are talking about a large stately car, not a sports car. Once on the move, the engine purrs along nicely and transition through the gears is smooth; put your foot down and the extra power is quick to hand. You'll find your happy place at just over 2000rpm. Flipping over to the tiptronic gear select was an unexciting experience. There's little reward for this effort; I was more than happy with performance from the fully automatic transmission.
The look of the 407 may be questionable and is destined to divide opinion, but the package is great, with nice cushy touches like auto folding wing mirrors, a damped glove box hinge and retractable sun shades.
Inside the cabin, the Peugeot 407s beauty is a little more mainstream. Beautiful on the inside? The interior is plush and brings a welcome level of pomp to this car - it feels a bit special. On paper, the choice of three or more different colours and textures sounds like a recipe for disaster, but the Peugeot 407 brings it together very nicely. Leather, plastic, 'piano black' shine and splashes of chrome work together on a dash that is constructed with precision layout. Buttons, knobs and dials are dainty and create a very understated, sophisticated display.
The audio system belts out a nice sound, but it lacks modern kit, sporting a mere single CD player as standard. The digital display also has a cheap, down-market look about it.
The optional cream leather in our vehicle, while incredibly impractical, is soft and dreamy to sink into. The seats are lounge-like, perfectly stitched and very comfortable. They look and feel great. Heated seats are included in the leather option. Seat memory would be a welcome addition.
The audio and cruise control are operated via stalks to the left and right of the steering column, which are fiddly and less convenient than your normal forward facing multi-function steering wheel controls.
The cabin ergonomics are great, with good visibility and easy access to the dash and audio interface, for both driver and front passenger. Cabin storage is also good, with door pockets, centre console storage and a large glove box. A single drink holder pops out from the centre console, however some more robust drink holders would be useful.
Instrumentation is large and clear, and includes a multi-function digital display. The large front and side windows create a very bright and airy feel and gives the illusion of a much larger cabin than is the case with the 407. The large side and rear pillars however, leave you with poor rearward visibility.
Second row passengers are graced with equally comfortable seats, but the lack of leg room is a let down. Retractable sun blinds on the rear side windows and rear window are fantastic.
The boot space is great, at 407 litres, and the large opening makes loading big items easy. Split fold seats are also a standard feature, as is a through load flap in the centre.
The 407s safety credentials are impressive and includes eight airbags - front, side, curtain and side rear (ST and SV) only. On the SV model a driver's knee bag is also fitted. Electronic stability control is standard across the range, as are anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist. The 407 gains a five-star rating from ANCAP.
On a city cycle test of the 407s fuel efficiency, it returned an average consumption of around 13 litres per 100/km. The manufacturer's claim is 10 litres per 100/km for city cycle and 7.1 for a combined route.
The 407 is up against a few heavy hitters in this price bracket, think Honda Accord Euro and Ford Mondeo just to name a couple. The Peugeot does however offer up a very different aesthetic.
The Peugeot 407 is a worthy contender but it has a challenge ahead when it goes up against the competition. Sadly, refreshing different doesn't always translate into sales.
At the time of writing this review, Peugeot released the news of price reductions across a range of vehicles, including a $1,200 reduction on the 407 - read full details here.
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