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Peugeot 207 5-dr OXYGO+ 1.6 HDi 92

Click to view picture gallery“Peugeots 207 is a supersized
  supermini that offers the best
 
of both worlds plenty of interior
  space wrapped in a stylishly
  compact hatchback shell
...”

NOT ONLY DOES IT provide grown-up accommodation, but the 207 range now fields OXYGO models offering the lowest environmentally-friendly CO2 emissions just 98g/km. In monetary terms, low is high in benefits: no road tax and no London Congestion charge.

Fuel consumption is also pound-stretchingly good with an official 65.6mpg on the combined cycle (61.3 urban; 85.5mpg extra-urban).

A week with our five-door 207 hatchback saw an average 59mpg. Pretty good for a 1.6-litre and with its 11-gallon fuel tank that should keep you away from garages for a safe 550-600 miles.

Admittedly it's a turbodiesel so you expect better mpg; but even so, near-60mpg for mixed driving over a wide variety of roads including plenty of town work is good whatever way you dice it. And it's no sluggard: 0-62mph comes up in 13.1 seconds and the OXYGO tops out at 115mph.

“A week with our five-
door 207 hatchback saw
an average 59mpg.
Pretty good for a 1.6-litre
and enough to keep you
away from garages for a
safe 550-600 miles
...”
The 91bhp 1,560cc unit runs smoothly and you really don't hear it inside the cabin. There's decent 'grunt', too — 161lb ft of torque at 1,750rpm. And it's pleasantly quiet at speed thanks to 70mph calling for just 2,000rpm in fifth gear.

Inside the 207's 4-metre length is space for four adults in comfy seats upholstered in a smart fabric and, with height adjustment for the seat (and good bolstering) plus a leather-rimmed wheel that adjusts for both reach and height, room for almost any driver. Seatbelts are also height adjustable. Visibility is good — an essential in edgy commuter traffic — even through the back screen and made better by rear headrests that drop down tight on the seatbacks when not in use.

The classy-looking cabin is in keeping with Peugeot's reputation for its bigger, more expensive cars, with thorough fit and finish and plenty of decent soft-touch plastics boosted by silver highlights (the centre stack's vertical side bars, air vents and door handles). Switchgear is well-sited and all three dials (from left to right: rev-counter; fuel/temp; speedometer) sport black-on-white faces framed by bold chrome bezels.

The traditional handbrake — still preferred by many — operates efficiently. Other practical items include electronic rear door child locks operated by a switch on the centre stack and a stream of hot and cold air delivered via four large vents. Plus there's enough storage bins and cubbies to keep the cabin tidy and although the glovebox is small there is an organiser and twin cupholders in the lid.

I'm 5' 11" and I had a good four inches of air between the crown of my head and the 107's headlining. Who'd'a thought it? You certainly can't complain about headroom in the front. Another plus is the ample room for the driver's knees and shins. Practical-sized outer armrests are fitted in the doors and while the driver is well catered for, so too is the front passenger, who can really stretch out.

“I’m 5’ 11” and I had
a good four inches of air
between the crown
of my head and the
107’s headlining.
You certainly
can’t complain about
the headroom in
the front
...”
The spaciousness doesn't stop at the front backrests either. Sitting in the back, our 5' 11" testers travelled in relative comfort with their heads just short of the roof and plenty of room for their feet under the front seats. Armrests in the doors and usable door pockets added to their ease, as too did the easy-sliding up/down headrests.

Deep windows let in plenty of light and three in the back does go — as it's clearly meant to; with three headrests and three 3-point belts. The back doors aren't too big to be a problem in car parks while making for easy access to the rear cabin.

Kit covers all the essentials: radio/CD with Aux-in, power-adjustable heated door mirrors, AirCon, electric front windows (one-shot operation for driver's; rears are manual wind-ups), Peugeot Connect USB with Bluetooth (for MP3-player connectivity and safe handsfree calls with access to various functions via the controls on the steering wheel column), trip computer, automatic drive-away door locking, power steering and — an unexpected but nevertheless very welcome touch — automatic activation of the rear wiper when reverse gear is engaged if the front wipers are already operating.

The OXYGO+ runs on 15-inch steel wheels spruced up with a set of 'Aero' trims (actually, you can't easily tell they're not real alloys) and an aerodynamic styling pack that includes a slick-looking roof spoiler on the tailgate. Prime safety features include a five-star Euro NCAP rating, front and side airbags, ABS with Emergency Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution and that all-important ESP.

The 270-litre boot is definitely fit for purpose and, when needed, the back seats can be folded (with no hassle or pinched fingers) for carrying larger items. Split 60:40, they fold almost flat but leave a shallow step-up from the boot floor. For extra luggage, flat-packs or garden centre trips it's fine. If you want more load-lugging capability you need to make a date with the 207 hatch's sister, the SW estate. Helpfully, the rigid luggage cover-cum-rear parcel shelf can be easily removed and stored on the boot floor. And under the boot floor you'll find that rarity; a full-size spare wheel.

“Keener drivers or
just those needing to up

the pace will enjoy a
responsive drive:
the chassis provides
plenty of grip, body roll
is well controlled,
cornering is done resolutely and the 207
holds its line well
...”
Given the UK's patchy and potholed roads, good ride comfort is understandably high on buyers' lists. Happily, the 207's well-judged suspension does a good job of smoothing out our battered British blacktop. Michelin energy-saver 185/65 profile tyres do their bit for comfort.

In town, the OXYGO's speed-related electric power-steering is light at low speeds, allowing you to effortlessly guide the 207 into tight parking spaces, but as you leave the 30mph urban zones the wheel weights up nicely.

And out on the open road, keener drivers or just those needing to up the pace will enjoy a responsive drive. The chassis provides plenty of grip, body roll is well controlled, cornering is done resolutely and the 207 holds its line well — in other words, this Peugeot always feels composed and predictable. Braking is well up to scratch whether it's a slam-'em-on emergency (when the hazard warning lights come on automatically) or repetitive halts in stop-start traffic.

Overall it's very much a no-nonsense machine — it breezes along all types of roads with no real penalty for such amazingly good mpg. Plus it's a cinch to drive in town and park without any help from parking sensors. On top of that it looks fresh and, wherever you're sitting, it's very pleasant to travel in. — MotorBar

Peugeot 207 5-dr OXYGO+ 1.6 HDi 92 | 14,695
Maximum speed: 115mph | 0-62mph: 13.1 seconds | Overall test MPG: 59mpg
Power: 91bhp | Torque: 161lb ft | CO2 98g/km