Peugeot is so late to the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) market that it decided to cut corners and get Mitsubishi to do all the hard engineering work for its new 4007. A Peugeot diesel engine is mounted up front. Find out why Russell Bray was quite shocked…
The bend was tighter than it looked, and, frankly, we were travelling slightly faster than was ideal. For a moment, the double thought flashed across my mind: apart from the embarrassment if I was going to go off the road and make my final bow, I would rather it was in something, well, more glamourous than Peugeot’s new 4007 sports utility vehicle (SUV). A scare was definitely coming, which was annoying, because I confess I’m not much of a 4×4 off-roader fan, and I had probably set out to confirm my prejudices about them being great lumbering beasts.
Prejudices about SUVs? Okay, let me explain some of the issues I have with them… Most SUVs are more about transport to go to a sporty event rather than being sporty to drive, and the 4007, which tips the scales at a not inconsiderable 1,825kg, didn’t anything to change my views.
SUVs to me look about as stylish as oil derricks, and there are so few places you can take a vehicle off-road in the UK… if you can’t use a vehicle’s off-road abilities, I can’t see the point in paying for all the mechanical gubbins and the extra fuel it burns up.
And too many people use SUVs in towns as bully cars to bore their way down town streets, forcing the rest of us to cower to one side. I’m not struck on the image, either.
So-called ‘soft-roaders’ like the 4007, vehicles with diluted go-anywhere ability compared to the real thing, don’t have much appeal to me… Fortunately for motor industry profits, most people don’t feel the same way as me, but you can understand that I wasn’t exactly overcome with excitement at the thought of driving Peugeot’s first entry into the SUV market.
For a start, on a bald price basis it looks pricey, starting at £22,790, compared with £16,995 for the new Jeep Patriot Sport diesel five-seater, one of the best vehicles Jeep has made in a long time.
From pictures, I thought the 4007’s toothy grille made it look suitable transport for Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races fame, but in the metal, especially in a discreet dark green or similar, it manages to appear quite elegant. It’s distinctive too; less fussy than Peugeot’s current car designs and for good reason, because the vehicle is mainly a Mitsubishi Outlander given a quick makeover by Peugeot’s styling department.
Wheels, tyres, brakes, suspension settings, and power steering settings are also different to what you find on the Outlander.
The 4007 has got more power than the Mitsubishi because it uses a modified version of Peugeot’s 2.2 litre 156bhp engine, rather than Volkswagen’s 138bhp unit, and to get back to my nasty moment approaching that bend too fast, braking very firmly for my approaching disaster revealed the 4007’s stability was better than I expected. What’s more, the messages coming back from the steering suggested there was good grip under the front tyres.
Even so, with 58 per cent of the car’s weight on the front, I made sure I was really progressive, but quick, with the steering – I wanted to load the two tyres on the outside of the bend as evenly as possible.
Because I was going to give the car a bit of a workout I had selected auto on the 4007’s transmission’s electronic control unit.
This calculates vehicle speed, steering wheel angle, acceleration or deceleration, and difference in rotational speed of front and rear wheels then works together with the stability control system. A magnetic clutch varies the power to the wheels according the traction sensed by the system. And do you know what? The 4007 sliced through the corner without drama, and even seemed to enjoy it. Phew!
Mitsubishi says the Outlander’s chassis is based on the amazing Lancer Evo performance saloons, and over the next hour or so I came to believe it. The 4007 is actually fun to drive.
You haven’t got a lot of power at your disposal, but this is an SUV that can be driven with some verve, and can actually put a smile on your face, though with the family on board you would risk the kids being sick down the back of your neck (unless you had relegated them to the child seats that fold out of the boot floor).
Interestingly, although Peugeot says the settings chosen for its suspension are firmer than those used by Mitsubishi, the car felt softer and more comfortable. The handling isn’t going to impress a Lotus owner, but everything in life is relative. For the type of vehicle it is, this tall family estate is better than I dared hope. The 4007 uses the least fuel when it is in the two-wheel drive mode, used for normal asphalt when a shortage of traction isn’t expected. Later in the day we tackled a muddy track that would have stumped the Lotus, yet the only risk to well-being was whether you would get mud on your trousers when you stepped out of the 4007 at journey’s end.
The track didn’t even require using the lock position on the transmission system to equalise power front to rear, so the 4007 has more in hand than most owners are likely to need. No doubt the loadspace and other practical stuff has been covered by my colleague Mr Hacker with the mechanically-identical Citroën C-Crosser.
Which car you prefer will depend on the styling, how you get on with your local dealer, and the part-exchange offer they make, but these are among the better SUV offerings.
If you’re not fussed about history and heritage and all that stuff that Land Rover bang on about, but want a family vehicle that shouldn’t cost much more than a big estate to run, then the Peugeot 4007 makes a better fist of things than you might expect… Even though our car averaged 28mpg not 39mpg, and is in the £205 a year road tax bracket…
On sale: Now // Price from: £22,790 //
Main Rivals: Citroën C-Crosser; Honda CR-V; Hyundai Sante Fe; Kia Sorento
- Price: £25,490
- Engine: 2,179cc, four cylinders, turbocharged
- Max Power: 156bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 285lb ft at 2,000pm
- Max towing weight: 2,000kg
- Combined Consumption:38.6mpg (manual)
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 194g/km (F)
- 0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
- Max speed: 124mph
Standard equipment includes:
‘On demand’ four-wheel drive with three driver selectable modes, electronic stability system, anti-lock brakes, cruise control.
Automatic air conditioning with climate control, pollen and dust filters; six airbags (front, side and curtain), full black leather upholstery, electrically adjusted and heated driver’s seat, 18-inch diameter alloy wheels, trip computer, front fog lamps, six-speaker radio, and six-CD autochanger with MP3 compatibility, two additional folding seats under boot floor, splitn opening rear tailgate.
Roof luggage bars, rear parking sensors, Xenon headlights, dark-tinted rear windows, extra chrome detailing, electrically folding door mirrors, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, cooled glovebox, automatic headlights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.
Ultrasonic alarm,remote control central locking with deadlocks,automatic door locking at speeds over six mph.
Metallic paint £350, satellite navigation with rear view camera £1,600, Bluetooth handsfree telephone connection £175
Feels well-built, handles very well for its size, can seat five adults and two children. And it turned out to be fun to drive…
The styling is an acquired taste, no automatic transmission option, indicators ridiculously quiet when operating, not as roughy-toughy as its looks suggest