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Peugeot 207 CC GT 1.6 THP 150

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“Peugeots 207 CC
  is a convertible for
  every single day
  of the year.
 
And in GT guise with
  150bhp under its
  bonnet, i
ts more
  than game for
  some entertaining
  driving...


PEUGEOT'S 207 COUPE-CONVERTIBLE IS INFINITELY MORE PRACTICAL than a rag-top runabout and, thanks to a well-considered chassis underpinning its pert little body and a very willing 150bhp engine, it's also quite a hoot to drive.

Top stowed away neatly in the boot and a wide blue canopy of sky with headroom that stretches to infinity and beyond, it's easy to grasp the reasons why it feels like a proper sports car. The cabin makes you feel at one with the car the moment you buckle up: well-shaped, height-adjustable sports-style seats, a grippy, leather-rimmed steering wheel that feels good in your hands, attractive white-faced dials under a single cowl directly ahead of you and a polished aluminium gearknob that falls easily to hand. The road ahead beckons…

The cabin is accessed via long-ish doors that shut with a quality action and the trim is both of good quality and well fitted throughout. Adding to the sporty effect is a pair of chromed roll-over bars in the style of Audi's TT.

The top-spec GT THP 150 model tested here costs £18,445 — and for that you get a comprehensive amount of 'kit' including dual-zone climate control air conditioning, rear parking aid, electrically-operated heated and folding door mirrors, auto wipers and lights, aluminium pedals, directional headlamps, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, fully-electric two-part folding metal roof, drive-away automatic central locking, trip computer, one-shot down power front windows (along with a single switch to raise or lower all four frameless windows simultaneously) and 17-inch alloy wheels.

In addition there's a full set of airbags including thorax bags and one for the driver's knee, ESP stability control and ABS with EBFD and EBA. In addition the 207 CC has a five-star Euro NCAP rating. And those smart-looking chromed roll bars aren't just for show — in the highly unlikely event that the car ever flips, they fire upwards to provide significant rollover protection.

“Looks particularly chic
as a pillarless coupe —
and cool,
in more ways than one,
for summertime
cruisin
’...”
The optional (£1,065) SatNav system has a crisp 3D 'birds-eye' view colour display, Traffic Reporting, radio/CD, 6-CD autochanger, GSM 'hands-free 'phone and fragrance diffuser — it's a seriously worthwhile and easy-to-use piece of kit and, if I was buying a 207 CC, I wouldn't hesitate to tick the relevant box.

Judging by the compact external dimensions, you might expect the interior to be a tight fit. Not so. Headroom with the roof up is good and there's also ample elbow room helped by built-in armrests. And room, too, for your legs, knees and feet. Amazing what you can fit in if the packaging has been properly thought out. Adding to the comfort are the supportive front seats, upholstered in a tasteful fabric (leather is an option) that's pleasant to the touch and equally pleasant to sit on.

A three-spoke steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach ensures that a good driving position is only seconds away, and perforated leather 'work' areas make steering that bit more enjoyable. A small extra stalk mounted on the steering column provides remote audio/trip computer controls. Chrome highlights — chunky instrument bezels and door handles — add some restrained bling.

The air conditioning is efficient and remains so with the roof down and there are lots of useful cubbies, including a cooled glovebox, dotted about the likable and liveable cabin. Reversing is definitely easier if you make use of the standard-fit audible parking sensors — if you specify the SatNav you also get a helpful visual display.

This 207 CC is one of those cars that you can just walk up to, jump inside and drive away even if you've never sat in one before. One of the first things you're aware off is the absence of shakes or shudders — even top down.

And it rides comfortably, too. Peugeot's chassis engineers have built-in enough suppleness to soak up the bumps and imperfections of the UK's pitted and potholed roads while retaining more than enough sharpness and control to ensure it's up to being driven quickly.

Factor in tidy handling and some accurate steering (the 207 CC's electric power steering has been re-programmed to deliver more 'feel') that firms up through the bends and you have a car that can be punted along fluently — whether your driving style is leisurely or spirited.

Getting topless is a lazy 25-second, finger-on-the-button exercise that calls for nothing else — there's no manual latching or unlatching. The two-piece roof folds itself away into the boot; it's lid closes leaving a short tail that looks neat either alfresco or when travelling roof-up in coupe mode.

Luggage space — always a compromise on coupe-convertibles — is fairly well addressed: with the roof parked in the upper section of the boot, there's still room (187 litres) for regular cases up to 9 inches deep. Roof up, however, and the boot space is a substantial 449 litres of approximately 30 x 40 inches. And because you only get a tyre repair kit instead of a proper spare wheel, there's some more storage space under the boot floor. A stretchy luggage net and tie-down hooks add to the functionality.

And given that the rear seats are genuine token items only really suitable for children, any overspill can be carried in the rear cabin: for instance, when two adults are travelling with a lot of luggage and don't want to spend the entire journey with the roof raised. The good news is that both front seats slide forward for easy access and return to their original positions.

With 150bhp and 180lb ft of torque generated by the turbocharged direct injection 1.6-litre 16-valve engine from an impressively low 1,400rpm — a direct benefit of the twin-scroll turbocharger — the 1.6 unit is a smooth powerplant with lots of grunt (it feels more like a 2.0-litre under the bonnet) and it serves up a pretty effortless pace right across the rev range — whether you're touring or tearing along the dotted line.

Top speed is 129mph and best experienced with the top up although with the optional folding windbreak in place buffeting is virtually non-existent even at fast motorway speeds [although we didn't test it at maximum speed! — Ed]. Actually, even without the windstop the topless 207 CC is pleasantly free from draughts. Zero to 62mph is dusted off in a vigorous 8.6 seconds, so both top speed and acceleration are likely to be more than enough to satisfy most owners. Who will also be pleased with the fuel consumption: we managed a test average of 33.3mpg but a less 'testing' driving style should get closer to the official combined 39.2mpg figure.

Adding to the positive driving experience is the smooth shift action of the five-speed manual 'box (a four-speed auto with Tiptronic-style sequential control is an option) and the well-weighted clutch. Brakes — discs all round; ventilated at the front — are of the 'good because you don't even think about them' kind. Suffice to say they're progressive and effective.

While we've had the odd Indian Summer since the Millennium, the UK's default weather setting is still 'unpredictable', which makes cars like the 207 CC perfect for dealing with any unforeseen showers. The flipside of being able to let in the outside world at the touch of a button is the option of just as easily shutting it out. And with the metal hard-top in place the 207 CC is as refined as a 'proper' coupe. Plus there's the added peace of mind that comes from it being far more secure than a traditional soft-top. Drop all four windows but keep the roof up and it looks particularly chic as a pillarless coupe — and cool, in more ways than one, for summertime cruisin'.

So, Yes, while it's easy enough to come up with a few good reasons for driving a traditional rag-top sports car on a balmy summer's day, the 207 CC is a convertible for every single day of the year. The fact that is exhibits good road manners, is satisfyingly zippy and can play the long distance tourer whenever you need it to makes it a convertible for all reasons as well as the drop-top for all seasons. — MotorBar

Peugeot 207 CC GT 1.6 THP 150
| £18,445
Maximum speed: 129mph | 0-62mph: 8.6 seconds | Overall test MPG: 33.3mpg
Power: 150bhp | Torque: 180lb ft | CO2 171g/km | Insurance group 12E