Form and function aren’t always the best of friends; form can often get caught up with the in-crowd of flair and flamboyance. Function is solely focused on reliability and practicality leaving little time for fun. Japanese and German cars usually work well as mediators between the two sides, with functionality taking a stronger role. Italian vehicles are often unashamedly in favour of exotic form with elegant lines and dazzling bright work. French car design provides the final arena for form and function to fight for dominance. When the smoke clears and a truce is agreed what’s left is always an interesting vehicle, and the Peugeot 407 Wagon is no exception.
Locked and loaded with novel styling cues ranging from the extroverted to the subtle, it’s the 407’s unique looks that will polarize opinion. The 407’s front styling sees the Peugeot corporate face with the large Xenon headlight clusters and wide smiley air intake with a grid of chrome and black bars. Guards are packed with 18-inch rims and tasteful plastic body-trim works in with salient badging. Down the flanks the wagon has a broad shoulder-line that tapers inwards till it meets the roof, this gives a graceful aesthetic but comes at the price of some cabin space. The 407’s rear styling is refreshingly extravagant with a wrap-around rear windscreen matched up with jewelled taillights. A thick sharply angled D-pillar rounds off the look nicely, but combined with the downward slant of the roofline useful interior space is again sacrificed. While boxy is good from a purely functional viewpoint, it is the rounded sexy curves that will attract buyers to the 407 SW. Buyers who may not have considered a ‘station wagon’ before. Despite spatial compromises the 407 is still family friendly with 430 litres luggage capacity in the rear, fold down the 60:40-split rear seats and that swells to 1,365 litres. There are handy luggage hooks and nets to keep everything in order and an independently opening rear window for when full tailgate access is restricted or just to throw loose items in.
Jump inside the cabin and what’s immediately noticeable is the amount of light flooding in through a gigantic panoramic glass roof that runs three-quarters of the car’s length. Tinted and laminated roof glass prevents the 407 from becoming a total sauna, but an electric blind that moves to various stages of closure is useful. The 407’s centre control stack looks great finished in a piano black gloss plastic, a high-mounted display screen provides useful info, but the large quantity of buttons underneath can be bewildering at first. The instrument cluster is easy to read and has a classical look to it that is pleasant but slightly inconsistent with the modern detailing throughout the rest of the dashboard. The top-spec V6 model is fitted out with full leather, the front seats are supportive, heated and have electronic adjustment and memory. The specification list goes much further than the seats with automatic lights and wipers, rear-parking aid, auto dimming rear-view mirror, tyre pressure monitor, electronically adjustable steering wheel, dual zone climate control and cruise control with a speed limiter. Overall the 407 SW interior is very practical with a solid fit and finish using class materials. Five adults can fit without major drama, but the cabin isn’t as spacious as the panoramic roof makes it look particularly in regard to headroom for taller passengers and the driver.
Throbbing under the bonnet is Peugeot’s 2.7-litre HDi common-rail V6 diesel with twin-turbochargers. It’s a high-tech unit that puts out 150kW of power and an epic 440Nm of torque. Strong and refined, the powerplant idles quietly and offers plenty of mid-range grunt, it revs cleanly all the way to the redline and will go from standing to 100kph in an impressive 8.8 seconds. The motor was developed with Ford and its smooth power delivery and good manners make it one of the top diesel units around. My only complaint comes with the throttle response, which although better than some is still a half-second sluggish in delivering the power requested. The torquey motor is well matched to a six-speed automatic transmission which shifts smoothly on cue and like the engine remains unobtrusive to the driving experience. There is a sport button for more rapid shift times, and a tiptronic floor shift option if you want to do it yourself.
Hit the twisty roads and the 407 SW comes into its own with a competent chassis and plenty of grip thanks to advanced suspension and Pirelli P Zero tyres. Despite the 407’s long nose and driving position that is well back from the windscreen, it’s an easy vehicle to place and control even at brisk speeds. The steering, although accurate, provides little in the way of feedback for the driver. The standard of overall ride-quality especially during motorway cruising is very high with little road and engine noise intruding into the cabin and most bumps and ruts are eaten up by the clever suspension.
The 407 is all business when it comes to safety with double impact absorption structures, active head rests and a total of nine airbags waiting to perform their important function. ABS brake and a full Electronic Stability Program (ESP) are also standard.
The 407 SW is a solid choice in the medium-size wagon segment, the flamboyant aesthetics come at the cost of cabin spaciousness but aside from that it’s all about practicality. The diesel motor is quiet and classy and while the steering is a touch vacant the handling and ride is razor sharp. What the 407 SW does best is offer all the benefits of a wagon while never letting the driver feel like they’re sitting in one, and the only way to achieve that is for function and form to work in total unison.
Click through to the next page for a list of specifications
What we like:
- Unique styling
- Fantastic diesel motor
- Balanced ride and handling
What we don’t like:
- Compromised interior space
- Little steering feedback
- Dashboard ergonomics
Peugeot 407 V6 SW (2009) – Specifications
cubic capacity (cc) 2720
bore x stroke (mm) 81 x 88
max power kW @ rpm 150 @ 4000
max torque (nm @ rpm) 440 @ 1900
Induction Twin turbo diesel with computer controlled direct injection
emission standard euro Iv, particle Filter system (Fap)
emission of co2 by weight 226gm
Transmission type 6 stage auto Tiptronic system porsche
Wheels and Tyres
size 235/45 r18
capacity (l) 66
ventilated front discs. solid rear
anti-lock braking system
emergency brake assist (eba)
electronic brake Force Distribution (ebFD)
speed sensitive power assistance
suspension Double wishbone front with multi-link rear 9 setting variable electronic suspension with independent control (amvar).
maximum speed (km/h) 225
acceleration 0-100km/h (sec) 8.8
length (mm) 4763
Width (mm) without mirrors 1811
Height (mm) with roof bars 1494
Wheel base (mm) 2725
Boot capacity dm3. cover on/cover off/seats down 430/624/1365
kerb weight (kg) 1917
braked trailer towing weight (kg) 1300
unbraked trailer towing weight (kg) 750
combined l/100km 8.5
Words and Photos, Adam Mamo