While many car makers are trumpeting green sub-brands, Peugeot has slipped in a new super low emissions version of the 407 without the branding. Ian Robertson investigates
A cursory glance at the Peugeot 407 range, and you would be forgiven for perhaps branding it as old hat, but do so at your peril, as Peugeot’s large car has much to offer for both the family buyer and company car user chooser. While makers of up-to-the-minute metal are scratching their heads to try to come up with solutions to lessen the CO2 emissions burden, Peugeot’s new 407 model, equipped with the 1.6- litre HDi engine deals a knockout blow, producing only 129g/km of CO2. This trumps Ford’s latest Mondeo 2.0 TDCi ECOnetic (tested on page 34) by a significant 10g/km of CO2, and beats the home grown French opposition from Renault, the Laguna dCi 110, by 1g/km. The 407 also does so without the need of a fancy eco sub-brand, meaning that all HDi 110 models benefit from the changes. In practice, the modifications mean a recalibration of the engine software, Michelin Energy Saver low rolling resistance tyres and electro-hydraulic power steering.
Climb into the 407 cabin and it’s like becoming reacquainted with an old friend. It doesn’t shout up-to-the-minute design, but all of the controls are well placed and easy to decipher. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and there’s plenty of adjustment both to the steering column and seating, meaning that most drivers can gain a good comfortable position. The chrome door handles add a classy feel to the cabin, while the black finish to the centre console is a pleasing alternative to the default wood or silver trim, usually found in this class of car. The cream dials on the instrument binnacle are pleasant to behold, easy to read, and lend a classic feel to the cabin. The 407 is at its best on the motorway, where it is relaxed, refined and quiet – the suspension soaks up bumps with aplomb, too. On back roads, the large car handles adequately, though it’s a shame that Peugeot has lost its way in terms of dynamic feel – something that marked the earlier 405 models out as truly special.
The 1.6-litre HDi unit is refined and quiet, propelling the 407 along at a decent rate of knots. As you would expect from an engine this size, it can run out of puff on steep hills, but it’s more than adequate for everyday motoring. The five-speed manual gearbox is a cinch to use, with well spaced gearing, which has thankfully been left alone in this eco-special. On the combined cycle, the HDi 110 achieves fuel economy of 57.7mpg, while developing 129g/km of CO2, meaning that it falls into tax band D, costing £120 per year for the annual tax disc. In mid-range SR trim, as tested here, it is clear that this equipment level is aimed at the business user. Standard equipment includes colour satellite navigation and an easy-to-use Bluetooth mobile phone hands-free system, as well as stylish 16-inch alloy wheels. Other features include cruise control, front fog lights and a leather steering wheel. Safety gear includes ESP and a knee airbag. Electric rear windows and parking sensors are unavailable, though, despite the £20,045 asking price.
RIVALS: Renault Laguna Dynamique dCi 110 eco 2, Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion 2 2.0 TDI CR
- Engine: 1560cc, 4-cylinder, turbodiesel with particulate filter
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 110bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 180lb ft at 1,750rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 1,300kg
- Combined Consumption: 57.7mpg
- CO 2 Emissions (taxband): 129g/km (D)
- 0-62mph: 11.7secs
- Max speed: 119mph
- Bootspace: 407litres
- Insurance group: 9
Low emissions, good economy, comfortable cruiser, SatNav and Bluetooth standard
Tiny door mirrors, no electric rear windows or parking sensors as standard, ageing design