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Click to view road test review picture gallery“The all-new 4007
  is Peugeot’s very first
  SUV. It may be built by
  Mitsubishi Motors in
  Japan, but that doesn’t
  stop the 4007 having
  its own inimitable
  French identity...”

PEUGEOT IS INTRODUCING ITS FIRST SUV at a time when 4x4s/SUVs are seemingly not politically correct — if, that is, you listen to the 'green police'. These vehicles are being tar-geted to carry higher taxation at both national and regional levels in the form of Vehicle Excise Duty and congestion and parking charges.

However, PSA brands (Peugeot and Citroen) are both entering the market with their own offerings: Peugeot with its 4007 and Citroen with the new C-Crosser. Both can be ordered now, and both will go on sale in the UK to coincide with the '57' plate change month of September.

Both vehicles are versions of Mitsubishi's relatively-new Outlander SUV, but have a 2.2-litre PSA turbodiesel engine rather than the 2.0-litre VW-sourced diesel unit. Mitsubishi has the use of the PSA engine for the Outlander later this year.

The 4007 and its Citroen counterpart are built by Mitsubishi Motors
in Japan. In total, they already build 160,000 of these vehicles a year. The Outlander is built for markets around the world, although only 20,000 of this total will be 4007s (and a further 20,000 C-Crosser models) built specifically for European customers.

Each of the main European markets (the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and so on) will get 10 per cent — or 2,000 units — of 4007 and
a similar number of C-Crosser per year.

The liaison between PSA and Mitsubishi is a good example of how major vehicle manufacturers have to link together on occasions to combat rising development and manufacturing costs. What sense does it make for PSA to design, develop and build their own SUV for just 40,000 units a year? It is imperative that both Peugeot and Citroen have such a vehicle to meet the needs of its existing business and retail cus-tomers. You do not want to lose customers to the brand simply because you cannot supply what is an important and popular model.

In the UK, sales of SUVs totalled 178,000 vehicles last year. This year registrations are down by 4 per cent for the first six months — but
the SUV sector is still the fourth largest segment of the UK new car market.

The SUV/4x4 sector is divided into three sub-categories: Premium
(or large) which takes 35 per cent of sales; volume (60 per cent) and small with 5 per cent. The Peugeot 4007 will compete for sales in the volume sector against the likes of the market leader, the Honda CR-V, as well as the Land Rover Freelander 2, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Sante Fe, Mitsubishi Outlander and, of course, the equally new Citroen

According to Peugeot, the customer profile in the SUV volume sector
is as follows: 70 per cent male buyers (although a high proportion
of these vehicles are actually driven by females); 90 per cent of the registered owners are married; their average age is approaching 50;
39 per cent have children but only 16 per cent of users do the
'school run'.

The key buying criteria for SUV owners in the volume sector are style (28 per cent), loyalty to the brand (27 per cent), perceived durability of an SUV (13 per cent) and brand reputation (12 per cent). Within
the sector, 59 per cent of sales are for diesel models and 64 per cent are retail buyers.

The new Peugeot 4007 SUV is a five-plus-two-seater vehicle with
on-demand two- or four-wheel drive. The engine is a PSA Peugeot/ Citroen/Ford Motor Company collaboration 2.2-litre, four-cylinder
HDi turbodiesel unit with a power output of 156bhp and 280lb ft of torque from 2,000rpm.

Drive to the front wheels — or all four wheels when required — is via a manual six-speed transmission. No automatic gearbox is planned in the short-term, although the demand for such an option is growing fast
in this sector. No petrol engine is planned either. Top speed is 124mph with 0-62mph taking 9.9 seconds. The official overall average fuel con-sumption is a useful 38.7mpg (my test car averaged 32-35mph on/off road) and the CO2 output is 194g/km, which gives the vehicle a Group F Vehicle Excise Duty rating costing 205 annually. The engine is also 30 per cent biodiesel-compatible without modification.

The 4007 is available in two levels of specification: Sport at 22,790 and GT at 25,490. Peugeot at this stage cannot say which specific-ation will prove the most popular, but usually in this sector the higher level is marginally more popular.

Citroen C-Crosser prices are identical to those of the Peugeot 4007. Mitsubishi Outlander prices range from 19,644 up to 24,964 but not only are their specification levels different, their model only has a
2.0-litre diesel engine.

Peugeot really couldn't have chosen a better manufacturing partner for a 4x4 than Mitsubishi Motors for their entry into the competitive SUV market. Not only are Mitsubishi experts in 4x4 technology, they are renowned for the high manufacturing quality and the durability of their vehicles. For Peugeot it is a win-win situation.

Being a late-comer to an established sector, Peugeot have a little bit of catching up to do in customer and media awareness now that they have an SUV model on the market.

To launch the 4007 to the motoring media this week, Peugeot said they wanted a 'memorable' event. Well, they've certainly done just that. Invitations to drive the vehicle to an unknown destination were received but no hotel and overnight accommodation details were forth-coming. The motoring press were advised to bring warm clothes and strong shoes. What followed on the day was a mysterious driving route, both on and off road, in unseasonable weather. The event itself was shaping up to become even more intriguing than the new vehicle.

Eventually, from a starting point near Winchester, we ended up visiting the Lions of Longleat — fitting, as the trademark for Peugeot is, of course, a lion. The overnight stay turned out to be a camping extrava-ganza in the grounds of Longleat House. Following a drive through their wildlife park we eventually arrived at a collection of Tepees for our overnight stay. Forgetting the very wet weather, it proved to be an innovative event. I'm pleased to report that the vehicle and the Peugeot PR staff survived, as did I and, as far as I know, all of my 'hack' colleagues — despite this being the wettest summer on record.
I heard no shouts of "I'm a Journalist — get me out of here" although
I understand one of our number said he didn't 'do' camping — only hotels. His loss. So yes, I'll remember the 4007 and my night in a tepee. And of course, grateful thanks to whoever it was that made sure the lions were well fed before our arrival!

Back, appropriately, to the Mitsubishi Outlander, the parent vehicle for the 4007. It is a very accomplished SUV, let down only by its lack-lustre 2.0-litre diesel engine. Due to the overall high final drive gearing, needed to meet today's low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions requirements, the 2.0-litre engine just does not have enough power in the right torque band to make it reasonable performer at day-to-day motoring speeds over A and B roads.

However, with the PSA 2.2-litre direct injection turbodiesel engine (fitted with a six-speed manual 'box), the driving performance both on and off road is much improved. There is more response at both low
and high speeds. The PSA engine is smoother and much less harsh under load conditions, and it is noticeably quieter, too. Peugeot has also specified their own type and rating of shock absorbers, so the ride quality is improved — less choppy; more comfortable and generally more refined.

The Mitsubishi 2WD/4WD/4WD Lock drive system used for the 4007 is superb. The driver simply uses a dial to select which mode he/she wants and the changes take place seamlessly. On the very wet roads we encountered on our way to wildest Wiltshire, 4WD was used, giving the vehicle a well balanced performance under acceleration and during cornering. The extra grip was welcome and it reduces the tendency
for the vehicle to oversteer during cornering.

Standard equipment for the 4007 includes 16-inch alloy wheels, the just-mentioned electronically-controlled 4WD, cruise control, roof bars, an electronic stability programme, automatic climate control and a good radio/CD sound system. The range-topping GT models have 18-inch alloy wheels, more body brightwork, CD autochanger, leather upholstery and electrically-operated and heated driver's seat, Xenon headlights and much needed rear parking sensors. Not needed, but fitted anyway, are the dark tinted rear windows.

Although based on a Mitsubishi product, the Peugeot 4007 has its own distinctive design. You can see it's a Peugeot straightaway: from its front face and distinctive headlights right through to the rear-end styling the 4007 could only wear a Peugeot lion. Only the aggressive front-end treatment of the huge grille, which resembles a wide open mouth with huge chrome teeth, takes some getting used.

Inside it is much like the Mitsubishi Outlander: well designed, nice surfaces and really well built.

Time for a brief recap of the good and not so good points. Not so good is the relatively expensive price and cramped rear row seating. That's it.
Good points are the build quality, engine performance and refinement, clever and fuss-free all-wheel drive system, high equipment levels and the handling and ride comfort. It will also tow 2,000kg braked.

So, with the new '57' plate just around the corner, think Peugeot 4007 if you want a mid-sized SUV that can carry seven passengers. Re-assuringly, it comes with the best of both worlds: Mitsubishi's expertise in four-wheel drive technology and build quality with PSA's expertise in designing excellent diesel engines. And the lion on the grille doesn't bite! — David Miles

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Peugeot 4007 GT 2.2 HDi 156 | 25,490
Maximum speed: 124mph | 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Overall test MPG: 32-35mpg | Power: 156bhp | Torque: 280lb ft

CO2 194g/km | Insurance group 13E
Visit Peugeot's website Click to go there now

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