Peugeot 407 HDi Sedan 2009 Review

Peugeot 407 HDi Sedan 2009 Review

peugeot-407-sedan-fq

Legend has it that William Tell was made to shoot an apple off the head of his son as punishment for not bowing to Hermann Gessler’s hat. Tell’s first bolt from his crossbow split the fruit.

The Peugeot 407 isn’t quite as accurate as Tell. It would have bruised the apple while simultaneously grazing the head of its unfortunate offspring. In today’s super-competitive car market, accuracy is important, and the 407 just doesn’t quite have it.

Don’t get me wrong, though; you could live with a 407, especially around town — it’s got reasonable performance, good boot space, progressive (if slightly polarising) styling, an adequate sound system, excellent fuel economy and so on. But it fails to excel in the one area it should: long distance driving.

A quick jaunt from Auckland to the ‘Naki revealed some traits that were concerning, the primary ones being lots of road noise, and slightly crashy suspension. Tyre choice is a big factor in road noise, so this may be able to be alleviated, but why should you have to buy a new set of tyres before the first set has worn out? And that might not solve the suspension issue which, while giving brilliant handling in the corners, seems unnecessarily bumpy.
After four hours in the seat, my passenger and I were faring well, if a little fatigued. The seats are fully electrically adjustable and also have a three-stage heater and adjustable lumbar support. Where the seats are comforting, the draft-proofing of the windows was not, with a constant light breeze coming from just behind the A-pillar.

Anyone who has driven through the Awakino Gorge, and onwards to Mt Messenger will have experienced the large number of corners marked between 35-55kph. The trick rear suspension comes into play here, providing a reassuring and sporty ride, but the Peugeot’s steeply raked windscreen, which gives it its signature look, proved a slight liability on these corners as it also creates a long A-pillar that produces a bit of a blind spot. This blind spot is even worse when it’s raining.

Our test car had almost 4000km on the clock, but the interior smelled like it was leaking volatile organic compounds and even made our clothing smell.

But, the biggest sin I can think of to annoy the long distance traveller is the complete omission of anywhere to put a water bottle. There is one measly cup holder, and that’ll only take a takeaway coffee cup. That really is unacceptable in a car of this era, particularly as the remainder of the in-cabin storage is scant and not particularly useful. I ended up leaving my water bottle in between my legs, and what you don’t want at the end of a long journey is groin-warmed water. One more beef: you can’t open the boot unless the key is out of the ignition.

If you’ve got this far and are currently seriously doubting your intention to purchase a 407 I’d like to point out that it’s not a rotten apple, and in fact does have some crisp and juicy bits. Parking sensors all around make manoeuvring simple, and are essential given the design of the car. The speed limiter/cruise control combo with the ability to set an exact speed to stick to is simple to use, and extremely welcome on long journeys, and the handling inspires enough confidence that you can leave it set to 100kph even around 70kph corners (and that’s in the wet!) It has that Euro styling factor that’s distinctive. And finally, the six-speed gearbox with Tiptronic and sport mode was very smooth, and when mated to the two-litre, 136hp diesel engine gives a dependable and easy surge of performance when needed.

Overall, though, I was disappointed. We’ve had two other 407 models in the past, and they both performed admirably. This latest rendition seems to have missed the mark. It was fine around town, but if you just want to eat up the miles, why wouldn’t you choose a Mazda6?

Price: $54,990

What we like

  • Frugal with the fuel (7.1l/100km)
  • Good boot space
  • Excellent handling
  • Excellent safety (8 airbags, 5-star crash rating)

What we don’t like

  • It doesn’t cut it against the competition
  • Tiring on long journeys
  • Lack of interior storage


Words:
Darren Cottingham Photos: Adam Mamo

peugeot-407-sedan-fq

Legend has it that William Tell was made to shoot an apple off the head of his son as punishment for not bowing to Hermann Gessler’s hat. Tell’s first bolt from his crossbow split the fruit.

The Peugeot 407 isn’t quite as accurate as Tell. It would have bruised the apple while simultaneously grazing the head of its unfortunate offspring. In today’s super-competitive car market, accuracy is important, and the 407 just doesn’t quite have it.

Don’t get me wrong, though; you could live with a 407, especially around town — it’s got reasonable performance, good boot space, progressive (if slightly polarising) styling, an adequate sound system, excellent fuel economy and so on. But it fails to excel in the one area it should: long distance driving.

A quick jaunt from Auckland to the ‘Naki revealed some traits that were concerning, the primary ones being lots of road noise, and slightly crashy suspension. Tyre choice is a big factor in road noise, so this may be able to be alleviated, but why should you have to buy a new set of tyres before the first set has worn out? And that might not solve the suspension issue which, while giving brilliant handling in the corners, seems unnecessarily bumpy.
After four hours in the seat, my passenger and I were faring well, if a little fatigued. The seats are fully electrically adjustable and also have a three-stage heater and adjustable lumbar support. Where the seats are comforting, the draft-proofing of the windows was not, with a constant light breeze coming from just behind the A-pillar.

Anyone who has driven through the Awakino Gorge, and onwards to Mt Messenger will have experienced the large number of corners marked between 35-55kph. The trick rear suspension comes into play here, providing a reassuring and sporty ride, but the Peugeot’s steeply raked windscreen, which gives it its signature look, proved a slight liability on these corners as it also creates a long A-pillar that produces a bit of a blind spot. This blind spot is even worse when it’s raining.

Our test car had almost 4000km on the clock, but the interior smelled like it was leaking volatile organic compounds and even made our clothing smell.

But, the biggest sin I can think of to annoy the long distance traveller is the complete omission of anywhere to put a water bottle. There is one measly cup holder, and that’ll only take a takeaway coffee cup. That really is unacceptable in a car of this era, particularly as the remainder of the in-cabin storage is scant and not particularly useful. I ended up leaving my water bottle in between my legs, and what you don’t want at the end of a long journey is groin-warmed water. One more beef: you can’t open the boot unless the key is out of the ignition.

If you’ve got this far and are currently seriously doubting your intention to purchase a 407 I’d like to point out that it’s not a rotten apple, and in fact does have some crisp and juicy bits. Parking sensors all around make manoeuvring simple, and are essential given the design of the car. The speed limiter/cruise control combo with the ability to set an exact speed to stick to is simple to use, and extremely welcome on long journeys, and the handling inspires enough confidence that you can leave it set to 100kph even around 70kph corners (and that’s in the wet!) It has that Euro styling factor that’s distinctive. And finally, the six-speed gearbox with Tiptronic and sport mode was very smooth, and when mated to the two-litre, 136hp diesel engine gives a dependable and easy surge of performance when needed.

Overall, though, I was disappointed. We’ve had two other 407 models in the past, and they both performed admirably. This latest rendition seems to have missed the mark. It was fine around town, but if you just want to eat up the miles, why wouldn’t you choose a Mazda6?

Price: $54,990

What we like

  • Frugal with the fuel (7.1l/100km)
  • Good boot space
  • Excellent handling
  • Excellent safety (8 airbags, 5-star crash rating)

What we don’t like

  • It doesn’t cut it against the competition
  • Tiring on long journeys
  • Lack of interior storage


Words:
Darren Cottingham Photos: Adam Mamo

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