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Peugeot 407 2.0 HDi 140 Sport

Click to view picture gallery“Peugeots bold-looking, family-
  oriented 407 saloon does exactly
  what it says on the label.
  But that doesn
t mean that the
  family
s designated ‘chauffeur
  can
t have a little fun sometime...”


PEUGEOT
'S 407 SALOON CAN STILL TURN HEADS. It's a pretty big family car, immediately recognizable by its long nose for some it's nose-heavy but seen in profile the front end and bonnet are not as lengthy as they appear from the front-three-quarters where the elongated, swept-back headlights visually 'stretch' the French saloon's lines. Whatever your take on its styling, the 407 undeniably stands out from the other average family saloons.

Swing open a door and slip inside and the cabin, while smart and well finished, is more conservative than you may have been expecting. This is actually good news as 'flavour of the month' designs tend to look dated after only a very short time. Not so the 407's cabin, which will continue to look current for at least as long as its owner keeps it.

First impressions are of good build quality and a 'busy' centre stack. Patterned aluminium inserts add a well-judged touch of modishness and there are smart chrome kick-plates. Actually, while the piano black centre stack is well-packed with switchgear, familiarisation doesn't take long because each level is for a different set of functions such as audio, A/C, etc. More importantly, the five-dial instrument pack (rev-counter, speedometer, fuel, water and oil temperature) dead ahead of the driver features smart black-on-white faces with crisp graphics and good legibility — at night they change to an easy-on-the-eyes orange-on-dark grey.

The optional SatNav fitted to our test car was foolproof in use and had the added advantage of adding visual imagery to the audible warnings from the front and rear parking sensors. If you've previously only driven cars fitted with traditional windscreen wipers (i.e. both blades working in parallel) then you'll welcome the extra wet weather visibility provided by the 407's wipers — they sweep outwards in opposite directions at the same time.

The French know
a thing or two
about comfort and
travelling anywhere
in the 407 is
a very civilised affair;
cabin insulation
is good with wind, road
and engine noise
impressively subdued
...”
Above all, the 407 saloon is a comfortable car to sit in: drivers will quickly set a good driving position thanks to generous reach and rake steering column adjustment, powered seat height and manually adjustable lumbar support.

In the front you'll find good head and legroom and the lidded centre armrest adjusts for height — and all of our front passengers were quick to commandeer it for their sole use!

Worth a special mention are the front headrests: these not only glide up and down with minimal effort (unlike most, they're not stepped) but also swivel horizontally to provide the best head/neck angles.

Neither are those sitting in the rear cabin hard done by — they get 'individual' shaped seats with good backrest angles although those taller than six-feet will find headroom limited. The up-side is that there's decent leg and knee room and a wide central armrest (a narrow load-through hatch can be found behind this) with a lidded storage tray and built-in cup-holders. Three can be accommodated in the back but the piggy-in-the-middle (unless a child) will forever want to upgrade to one of the outer seats.

And when it comes to luggage the 407's boot offers a usable 407 litres. The seats split 60:40 and can be folded although the extended boot floor this creates is not entirely flat but it still adds a useful degree of flexibility for load carrying. Tie-down rings and an elasticated luggage net come in useful, with extra storage provided by two large bins sited in the rear corners of the boot.

There's a fair amount of kit on the 22,045 Sport trim version including half-leather upholstery, 8-way powered front seats, front and rear parking sensors, electrically-folding door mirrors (on demand and automatically on locking and leaving), auto-dim rear view mirror that can be turned off, auto lights and wipers, automatic 'drive-away' central locking, dual-zone climate control, chilled glovebox, four one-shot auto up/down electric windows, leather-wrapped steering wheel, radio/CD player with MP3 playback, cruise control with speed limiter, trip computer and alloy wheels.

Safety is underscored by a five-star Euro NCAP rating plus there's also ABS, EBFD, EBA and ESP along with lots of airbags (front, front-side and front and rear curtain) and height-adjustable front seat belts.

The 407 rides flat
and level, turn-in is sharp
and there’s more than
enough grip — the 215/55
Michelin Pilot tyres
enhance grip as much
as comfort — to allow
some fun tackling
twisty roads
...
Power for our Sport HDi 140 test model came from Peugeot's 140bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel. It's an especially smooth unit and its 240lb ft of torque delivers solid low-end and mid-range urge, whisking the 407 to 62mph from standstill in 9.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 129mph.

At the same time it's also pleasantly refined and clean revving, ticking over discreetly enough to make you double-check which pump you're filling up at. Use the gears (there's six) and your right foot resolutely — not a problem because the gear change action is easy, delivering up smooth changes through a close gate — and the 407 bowls along with gusto.

And it's a slow drinker; one capable of making a gallon last for sixty miles on the extra-urban cycle. Officially it can return 37.6mpg on the urban cycle and an impressive and pound-stretching 49.5mpg on the combined cycle. Our week-long test drive saw an overall average of 42mpg — not at all bad for a big family saloon.

Family members will like being ferried around in the 407 — given its default role as family transport, the ride/handling balance is well considered. On the one hand passengers will appreciate the 407's comfort on traffic-worn urban blacktop and on the other hand, drivers who appreciate some driving pleasure are also indulged.

On the open road the 407's chassis is a reassuring partner with good body control and responsive handling and reasonably enthusiastic reactions; keen drivers will doubtless prefer more feedback from the three-spoke leather-clad steering wheel, but then it's ideal for 'family' duties.

That said, the 407 rides flat and level, turn-in is sharp and there's more than enough grip — the 215/55 Michelin Pilot tyres enhance grip as much as comfort — to permit some fun tackling twisty roads without the handling becoming ragged. In truth, given that the driver sits well back from the windscreen, the elongated nose and big family-sized footprint, the 407 is actually quite easy to place and feels 'sorted'. Brakes are discs all round, ventilated at the front, and the 407 stops hard and fast with no drama.

The French know a thing or two about comfort, and travelling anywhere in the 407 is a very civilised affair; cabin insulation is good with wind, road and engine noise all impressively subdued. Cruising motorways or undertaking long-distance 'en famile' holidays or staycations, it covers the miles at an easy, non-tiring pace. Other plus points on longer journeys are the efficient dual-zone climate control (rear passengers get their own air vents) and the supportive and relaxing chairs.

Distinctive enough to stand out from the crowd, the 407 takes the hard work out of transporting the family unit while at the same time providing some time-out driving pleasure for the alpha family members. As they say in football, that's a result then! —
MotorBar

Peugeot 407 2.0 HDi 140 Sport
| 22,045
Maximum speed: 129mph | 0-62mph: 9.8 seconds | Overall test MPG: 42mpg
Power: 140bhp | Torque: 240lb ft | CO2 150g/km