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Click for pictures“Looking for a big,
  luxurious, comfy
  saloon? Look no
  further than
  Peugeot’s 607”

IF YOU LIKE YOUR CARS to be comfortable then space is the one essential ingredient you just can't skimp on. And when it comes to the 607 saloon, space is definitely not something that Peugeot has been stingy with.

et for a big, comfortable luxury passenger saloon and not something that's primarily to impress the neighbours. Mind you, in our experience just one offer of a long-distance lift was enough to impress.

Consequently, the 607's strongest feature is its practical three-box design. Thanks to this uncompromised layout you get acres of room in the airy cabin and a cavernous luggage area to boot.

There are five models in the current 607 line-up
three petrol, ranging from a 138bhp 2.0-litre up to a 3.0-litre V6 producing 210bhp, and two diesels: a 110bhp 2.0-litre and the model tested here, the turbodiesel 2.2, which is good for 136bhp and 235lb ft of torque.

As the wide front door swings open the first thing you'll notice, and enjoy, is the large amount of room between your elbow and that of the passenger/driver seated next to you. The roominess continues around your feet, legs and head.
Even tall drivers will find plenty of headroom and obtain a good driving position, thanks to generous electric seat adjustment and a leather-trimed steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach.

And with limousine levels of legroom you'll be just as comfortable travelling in the rear. All the seats are extremely comfortable and on several longish runs both rear seat passengers nodded off without intending to, such was the smoothness and comfort of the ride.

Like the external design, the 607's modern interior is refreshingly free
of gimmicks. The full-width dash is simple and efficient and all the better for it, with a wide instrument display containing large, easy-to-read dials with chrome bezels and classic white on black graphics. Top centre of the dashboard is a multi-function display incorporating the
'black and white' satellite navigation system.

Black and white is actually something of a misnomer as the graphics are in a soothing amber/orange that's easy on the eyes. Below this in the centre console are two more dedicated control hubs: uppermost is the automatic digital air-conditioning and below that, the audio controls. All switches are large and spatially easy to use on the move. You don't have to take your eyes off the road either for in-car entertainment because the audio controls are also available on a handy secondary stalk below the indicators.

Each of the three control areas inhabits its own small island of polished wood, which also appears in small amounts on the doors around the chrome door handles and surrounds the gear lever. Velour upholstery is standard although leather is an option. The glovebox has a hidden talent: it can be ventilated by the same air from the climate control as the rest of the car. Other nice touches include smart satin finish metal sill kick-plates, puddle lights on every door, a comfortable and adjustable central front armrest with two separate compartments and a friendly female voice for the SatNav.

We tested the S Exec 2.2 HDi fitted with the latest 6-speed manual 'box, and it comes with a generous helping of kit including a very easy to use SatNav, 6-CD autochanger and fascia-integrated Clarion radio/cassette with eight speakers, 8-way electric front seats, 17-inch 6-spoke alloy wheels, power steering, ESP traction control, cruise control, electric front and rear windows with one-shot up/down on the driver's, dual-zone air conditioning (separate driver and passenger control), electrochrome electric folding door mirrors, auto headlights and wipers, motorised boot open/close facility, low tyre pressure warning system, trip computer, tinted glass and a heat deflecting screen.

Out on the road the 2.2 turbodiesel proves to be refined and punchy thanks to 235lb ft of pulling power, all of which is available from 2,000rpm. The ratios of the six-speeder are well matched to the engine, making it flexible and composed on A-roads, and the gear change is good enough that you don't actually notice it. Engine, road and wind noise are all well suppressed, and the 607's suspension irons out bumps with ease. The steering is fine, with a surprisingly good turning circle for such a big car.

Cruising the autobahn, it is refined. Helped by the fact that at 2,300rpm the 607 is wafting along at a relaxed 85mph. It also feels securely planted on its 225/50 ZR Pirellis, and there is little to give away the fact that the 607's front wheels are getting the power down onto the road as well as steering. In fact, it's all very civilised.

Top speed is 127mph with 62mph coming up from standstill in 10.6 seconds. Which is perfectly adequate in the real world, especially as the torquey HDi diesel performs smoothly, and of course there is the added bonus of exceptionally good fuel consumption. Whatever the paper figures say, the 2.2 HDi always feels perky.

Peugeot's 607 diesel is among the cleanest on the market thanks to innovative FAP technology based on exhaust filters which prevent diesel particulates escaping into the atmosphere, so you'll be doing your bit to Save The World.

Another major benefit is the potentially vast range between fill-ups. Overall we averaged 38.7mpg, just short of the 607's official combined figure of 42.8mpg. However, what is impressive is the touring figure of 52.3mpg
combined with a 17.6 gallon fuel tank, it makes for a 'continent-crushing' range of over 900 miles!

These days any self-respecting motorist expects a premium audio system and air-conditioning as standard
but they also like to know that they have adequate safety kit on board just in case. 607 occupants can relax: to protect them Peugeot has installed front, side and curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side and curtain airbags in the back. Also doing its bit to keep you out of harm's way is an electronic stability programme together with ABS and emergency brake assist. And stopping antisocial people from benefiting from all this are deadlocks, a decent alarm and internal central locking.

The boot lid is power operated and is opened either by fingertip pressure on the button forming the '0' in the '607' badge
neat or using the remote key fob. The bootlid can be stopped at any point during its opening arc (simply press the remote again) but left to itself it opens fully until it is vertical and well away from your head. Afterwards a light touch on the shut button inside the bootlid closes and locks it for you.

The long, wide carpeted boot has a low load height and loses no space at the sides to the suspension. In fact it takes space back by providing two large storage compartments, one in either rear wing. The rear seatback splits and folds forward for extra capacity and there's also a useful load-through hatch.

Beneath the boot floor lives a full size spare alloy wheel, which we find quite reassuring
not being wholly at ease with the current trend towards nothing more than a 'puncture repair kit'.

Aimed squarely at the core of the European executive car market, the 607 has sold over 100,000 since its launch three years ago, making it Europe's most widely sold saloon within its segment.

We were sorry to see the 607 go back after our week's test and feel sure that it would be an attractive long term proposition. Its forte is turning all journeys, however long and arduous, into graceful stress-free rides spent listening to your favourite music on the superb Clarion sound system, and delivering you at your destination more relaxed than when you left. If you are lucky enough to have the strength of mind to buy a car for its abilities rather than for some tricksy and usually short-lived image, then the 607 could be just the ticket.

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Peugeot 607 S Exec 2.2 HDi
| £21,720
Maximum speed: 127mph | 0-60mph: 10.6 seconds
Overall test MPG: 38.7mpg | Power: 136bhp | Torque: 235lb ft
Visit Peugeot's website Click to go there now

------------------------------------------------------------- Peugeot 607 2.2 HDi