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Car reviews - Peugeot - 207 - GT hatch

Launch Story

Peugeot logo27 Feb 2007

By CHRIS HARRIS

PEUGEOT is confidently pitching its bigger and better-equipped 207 across both the ultra-competitive light and small car segments.

It will offer 14 different variants, double the number of the old 206 as it tackles both the price-driven light car and equipment-driven small car segments.

Boasting newly developed 1.6-litre VVT four-cylinder petrol and turbo-diesel HDi engines co-jointly developed with BMW and shared with the Mini Cooper and Cooper S, the 207 also gains a five-star EuroNCAP crash rating and vastly improved quality over the 206.

The line-up starts with the entry $19,990 1.4-litre XR and includes a hot turbo-charged $33,490 1.6-litre GTi, along with the range-topping turbo-charged $39,990 1.6-litre 207CC, both of which arrive in June.

A normally aspirated 207CC will cost around $34,990.

However, the volume model is expected to be the 1.6-litre petrol $24,990 XT petrol with more than 10 per cent of buyers opting for the 1.6-litre $27,990 XT HDi.

A wagon version, called the Touring in Peugeot-speak, will be available in both petrol and turbo-diesel variants from October and is expected to add $1700 to the price of an equivalent XT hatch.

Dimensionally, the 207 is closer in size to the venerable 306 than the old 206.

It is 200mm longer than the 206, 65mm wider, 56mm higher and has a 97mm longer wheelbase at 2540mm – the 306’s was 2580mm.

Both the front and rear tracks have also increased by 38mm, while kerb weights have risen between 113kg and 123kg depending on the model, in part due to more equipment and better safety levels.

While the front suspension remains largely the same as the 206, with MacPherson struts, the rear independent trailing arm and torsion bar setup of the old car has been replaced by a torsion beam with vertical dampers and coil springs.

The steering is electric powered and is now height as well as reach adjustable.

The XR three-door is available with dual airbags, ABS, brake assist, front seatbelt pretensioners, remote central locking, electric front windows, manually adjustable exterior mirrors, height adjustable headlights, rear foglight, air conditioning, 15-inch steel wheels and trip computer. The five-door gains electrically adjustable mirrors and body coloured door handles.

The XR is powered by carryover engines from the 206 in 1.4-litre guise, developing 55kW at 5400rpm and 120Nm at 3300rpm in the three door and 65kW at 5250rpm and 133Nm at 3250rpm.

The XT models up the ante by adding side and curtain airbags, one-touch electric windows, heat reflective windscreen, multi-functional display, leather steering wheel, alloy look trim, 16-inch steel wheels, “sports” front styling with chrome surround front foglights, automatic windscreen wipers and headlights and sports front seats.

The XT will be available in either 1.6-litre petrol or HDi guises while the new four-speed automatic only luxury XE comes as a 1.6-litre petrol offering only.

The XE sits above the XT but below the turbocharged GT.

Both the XE and GT have electronic stability control, traction control, tyre pressure monitoring, electric folding mirrors, fragrance disfuser, rear parking sonar, carbon fibre-look trim, alloy pedals, 16-inch alloys (17-inch on the GT) and leather and cloth trim.

In both the XT and XE, the 1.6-litre four develops 88kW at 4000rpm and 240Nm at 1750rpm while the GT gains a “warmed over” turbo-charged 1.6-litre that develops 110kW at 5800rpm and 240Nm from 1400rpm. The auto is a $2200 option on the XT.

The XT offers improved fuel economy over the previous model with 8.4L/100km (city), 4.8L/100km (highway) and 6.1L/100km (combined) for the manual five-speed versus 8.7L/100km, 5.5L/100km and 6.7L/100km for the 206.

For the HDi model, it is the first time Peugeot has offered a turbo-diesel locally at this level. The XT HDi is the latest-generation 1.6-litre engine with particulate filter and variable geometry turbocharging.

It develops 80kW at 4000rpm and 240Nm from 1750rpm, with an overboost function that lifts torque briefly to 260Nm.

In June, the 206 range will be joined by a three-door GTi, powered by a hotter direct-injection 1.6-litre four cylinder that develops 128kW/240Nm and is expected to cost $33,490. The GTi hits 100km/h in 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 220km/h.

Among the options is a full-glass sunroof for $1350 and full leather interior for $2750. Curiously however, of the 14 paint colours available 11 are metallic – for an optional $680, skewing the actual retail price point as many buyers will opt for metallic. Cruise control is also a $250 option.

However, Peugeot is expected to make cruise standard later this year.

Peugeot Automobiles Australia forecasts about 8600 sales this year but sales could reach 9000, with the 207 hatch conservatively accounting for more than 250 a month.

Last year Peugeot sold 8107 vehicles, up 15.4 per cent over 2005, with the 307 hatch and wagon being the volume sellers, representing 41.5 per cent of overall sales.

As a result of the model onslaught the 207 could emerge as the brand’s most popular seller locally, even eclipsing the 307, which currently accounts for more than 40 per cent of sales.

Key rivals including the Suzuki Swift, Mini Cooper, Mitsubishi Colt, Renault Clio, VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Citroen C3 and Honda Jazz.

However, Peugeot also believes the car will appeal to buyers shopping in the small car segment against the Holden Astra, Ford Focus and VW Golf.

Over the life of the 206, Peugeot sold 11,000 models and expects many buyers to be repeat customers for the 207, as well as conquests.

The 206 will still soldier on in Europe, where it continues to be built at Peugeot’s Poissy plant near Paris, as well as in China and Iran.

The 206 was launched in Europe in 1998 and has become one of Peugeot’s best-ever selling cars, with 5.5 million built so far.

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