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Peugeot 4007 GT 2.2 HDi 156 DCS Auto

Click to view picture gallery“The Peugeot 4007 is not the
  cleanest or the greenest 4x4,
  and the twin-clutch auto option
  has been a long time coming.
  But it’s here now — and it has
  definitely been worth the wait
...”

AS MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE TO BE 'GREEN', real-life motoring requirements, not to mention freedom-of-choice, puts most of us into the 'red' as far as CO2 emissions and tax-based running costs are concerned.

One model not in the Peugeot 'Clean 'n' Green' stable is the 4007 — the French brand's first SUV and launched in 2007 but built by 4x4 experts Mitsubishi Motors. Peugeot's 4007 on-demand two- or four-wheel drive, seven-seat, soft off-roader comes, like Citroen's C-Crosser, from the Mitsubishi Outlander family.

There is no doubt that larger sized SUVs (or Dual Purpose vehicles), except the Lexus hybrids, are costly to run in fuel and CO2-based taxes and as a result sales fell by 22% in 2008 and have fallen another 22% for the first half of 2009. That noted, UK sales are still over 100,000 units a year so people still need and want large, capable and comfortable 4x4s. Particularly country dwellers.

And with Winter upon us guess which motorists are going to be safer and happier negotiating treacherous iced-up, snow-covered and slippery muddy roads. Even in the Summer owners find that their big 4x4 is the ideal family tool for towing the horsebox or trailer. And now more and more 'staycation' Brits have moved back to owning and towing a caravan for the holidays.

The 4007 in not a big seller in the grand scheme of things: around 1,000 units this year. But then it's competing against a lot of other brands in the upper-medium to large 4x4 sector of the market. To name names: Citroen C-Crosser, Mitsubishi Outlander, Audi Q5, Land Rover Freelander, Honda CR-V, Nissan X-Trail, Toyota RAV4, Suzuki Grand Vitara and VW Tiguan. I could also include the BMW X3 and Volvo XC60 as well before mentioning the 4x4 heavyweights such as the Range Rover, Land Rover Discovery, Volvo XC90, BMW X5, VW Touareg, Mercedes ML/GL, Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Cherokee and Audi Q7. Also in the frame and gaining in popularity are the less taxing Lexus RX 450h hybrid models.

Clearly there is no shortage of 4x4s to choose from and the price range is just as wide. Middle of the road (or more correctly, off-road) SUVs are still loved because of their image, useable size, on and off road ability, and you will find everybody from city-clickers and yummy mummies to young and old couples driving them.

Most customers opt for diesel powered models and the majority of users want an automatic transmission. Drive forward the revised Peugeot 4007 seven-seater which has just received a six-speed, twin-clutch auto 'box option to go with the vehicle's strong and responsive 156bhp 2.2-litre, four-cylinder HDi turbodiesel engine.

Motoring enthusiasts
love twin-clutch
automatic gearboxes:
they provide fast
gearchanges, maximise
performance and,
in most cases, improve
fuel economy
...”
The Mitsubishi-sourced, high-tech twin-clutch auto 'box adds 1,175 to the cost over a manual version, so prices of the latest 4007s now range from 23,636 to 27,356. There are two levels of specification — SE and GT — and both specifications are also available with a six-speed manual gearbox. All models offer electronically-operated two- and on-demand four-wheel drive operated by the turn of an easy to use switch. All models also have Electronic Stability Programme as standard.

The standard ES specification includes 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, seven seats in three rows, automatic air conditioning with climate control, Isofix child seat mountings, front, front side and curtain airbags, electrically-operated windows and folding and heated door mirrors, trip computer, radio/CD player, alarm, central locking, upper and lower section twin tailgate and front fog lights.

The GT specification adds 18-inch alloys, leather upholstery with heated front seats, electrically-operated driver's seat adjustment, tinted rear windows, rear parking sensors and Xenon headlights.

We motoring enthusiasts love twin-clutch automatic gearboxes: they provide fast gearchanges; they maximise performance; and in most cases they either improve fuel economy or at least get close to doing so. And, unlike the old design traditional auto 'boxes, there is no power lost through a heavy torque converter.

With the gutsy engine providing 285lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm, the 4007's twin-clutch gearbox shifts seamlessly and quickly between gears. There is no momentum lost during acceleration and the gear selector changes down the 'box as efficiently when slowing down or travelling downhill. Naturally there are the steering column-mounted gear-shift paddles if the driver feels a bit sporty, but the system can be left in full auto mode or, alternatively, the selector lever can be used for sequential changes. Top speed is 123mph and 0-62mph takes 12.5 seconds, so the 4007 isn't slow by any means.

Having the refined twin-clutch auto 'box option really doesn't harm fuel economy too much, unlike an old torque converter system. A 4007 manual will officially average 40.4mpg; the new twin-clutch auto 38.7mpg. My test car returned a real-life driving average of 33.1mpg. The CO2 emissions for the new auto are slightly higher than the manual at 192g/km (over 185g/km) and this means 215 in road tax instead of 175 — and both will be higher still from next April once The Chancellor has done his sums. Currently the Benefit-in Kind tax for company car drivers is 29% but that also is going to increase.

Other not so good news is the high tax costs and interior plastics that look only average quality (and not as good as the new 3008). And the third-row seats are very cramped. However, there are lots of good points: the diesel engine and six-speed twin-clutch auto 'box combination, smooth engine, seamless and fast gear changes, comfortable ride, good handling, easy to drive, well equipped and roomy for five — but will seat seven.

Now and in the future, motoring is and will be a costly business so perhaps we should just enjoy what we pay through the nose for. The Peugeot 4007 is not the cleanest or the greenest 4x4 but the new twin-clutch auto option has been a long time coming, so enjoy it now it's here. — David Miles

Peugeot 4007 GT 2.2 HDi 156 DCS Auto
| 27,356
Maximum speed: 123mph | 0-62mph: 12.5 seconds | Overall MPG: 33.1mpg
Power: 156bhp | Torque: 285lb ft | CO2 192g/km | Insurance group 13E