The English buy more convertible cars per capita than the Spanish, which is surprising because the Spanish don’t experience drizzle on the epic, demoralising scale that the British do. The Eskimos have lots of words for snow; the Spanish probably have lots of words for sun. Probably.
So, like an unattractive, lank-haired woman might wear far too much perfume by Chanel when out on the town trying to attract a guy to capture the essence of the sultry European vixen, the British buy convertibles to capture the essence of Spain, where people don’t really buy convertibles.
And that neatly brings me to the Peugeot 207CC hard-top convertible with a peppy 1.6-litre twin-scroll turbo pushing out 150hp and 110Nm of torque. It’s a car that should definitely be driven by sultry European vixens because it is European, cute, and not really a man’s car. I spent the week with the top up trying to look like it was my girlfriend’s car. The thought crossed my mind I should have kept the beard I grew over Christmas and perhaps got some tats to reinforce my maleness, but my beard is ginger and that’s not good for asserting manliness.
Of course I told people I left the top up because I would be subjected to the rigours of the New Zealand sun and with my Anglo-Saxon complexion (don’t call it ginger) that would mean sunburn after just 10 minutes. That is partly true, because I totally understand where the Spanish come from. When it’s 27 degrees and your forehead is hot enough to cook paella on all you want is air conditioning and lots of it.
The 207CC does air conditioning, though not as well as many other cars, which is perhaps because Peugeot expects you to have the steel folding roof down — a procedure that takes around 25 seconds of holding a button down. This digital climate control air conditioning extends to the glovebox and contains a combined active carbon/pollen filter, which obviously doesn’t work if you have the top down.
Safety is good for a small convertible. The 207CC achieves a 4-star Euro NCAP rating from its four airbags (driver, passenger and front side airbags), ABS braking with EBFD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist).
Handling consists of very predictable understeer when pushed hard; when driven normally the light clutch and steering make around-town manoeuvring simple. The 207CC is short, too, so it fits in small gaps for parking (though it’s best to get the optional reversing sensors.) Further adding to the 207CC’s city-friendliness, the mirrors fold in automatically when the engine is turned off.
Technically the 207CC is a four seater, but I could not sit in the back seat even with the front one all the way forward. It would be for short parents with very young children only. It may have been a better option for Peugeot to forego the back seats completely and make an enormous boot, but you can use the back seat area for storage.
Storage generally in the front is minimal — the glove box is small and there’s no other lockable storage.
The driving position is better than some small Peugeots. It’s still not quite set up for a person who is tall, but not as bad as the 206GTI180 I owned. You’re presented with white-faced dials and a satisfying leather steering wheel. Cruise control and stereo controls are situated on the steering wheel and progress can be made along the roads of the nation in relative comfort.
A naturally aspirated 1.6-litre version is available with Porsche’s Tiptronic gearbox and saves you two grand. The turbo comes with a 5-speed manual.
Overall, this is a car with a distinctly feminine image. Its benign handling makes it easy to drive. For the fashion conscious woman the 207CC imparts an air of European sophistication and a serious sunburn if you’re not careful.
Price: from $43,990 (Sport Manual turbo), or $41,990 (naturally aspirated automatic)
What we like
- Good power for around town, and overtaking
- Easy to drive (clutch and steering are light)
- Boot is large when the top isn’t down
- $5k cheaper than an MX-5
What we don’t like
- Boot lid seems flimsy
- Dead pedal spacing designed for small shoes
- It’s a 3-seater at best unless all passengers are under 5’2″
- When the rear windows are open the seat belts vibrate
Words and photos Darren Cottingham
207CC Sport Manual
1.6 litre, 16 valve, turbo, 4 cylinder petrol engine
Cubic capacity (cc) 1598
Max power kW (HP) @ rpm 110 (150) @ 5800
Max torque (Nm @ rpm) 240 @ 1400
Emission control Catalytic converter
Emission standard E URO 4
Emission of CO2 by weight 171
Wheels and Tyres
Size 205/45 R17, Alloy
Front ventilated with sliding callipers
Rear solid discs with sliding callipers
Front Independent McPherson type, helical springs and hydraulic dampers, set to operating pressure of 5 bars
Rear Rear Torsion beam, helical springs and hydraulic dampers set to an operating pressure of 5 bars
Length (mm) 4037
Width (mm) with mirrors 1818
Height (mm) 1397
Weights an d Capacities
Kerb weight (kg) 1493
Braked trailer towing weight (kg) 1070
Unbraked trailer towing weight (kg) 600
City Cycle l/100km 9.6
Highway cycle l/100km 5.8
Combined l/100km 7.2
4 star Euro ENCAP rating
4 airbags – driver, passenger and front side airbags
ABS (with EBFD & EBA)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP) (with ASR & CDS)
2 x Rear 3-point seatbelts with pretensioning and load limiting front seatbelts
Load limiting rear seatbelts
Height adjustable front seatbelts and front seatbelt unfastened warning
Isofix on front passenger seat (child safety seat fixing points)
Fuel cut off inertia switch
Active rear rollover bars
Remote central locking
Alarm and deadlocking (optional)
Rolling code transponder immobiliser
Visible VIN number
Security coded in-car entertainment
Lockable glove box
Auto-lock doors/boot over 10 km (selectable)
Comfort and Convenience
Cruise control with speed limiter
Rear park aid (optional)
Internal operated central door locking
One-touch electric windows with anti-pinch front and rear windows
Electrically operated door mirrors & electric folding mirrors
Atmosphere perfumer (optional)
Style sport pack
Radio/CD Player, MP3 compatible
Steering wheel-mounted remote controls
5-Disc CD Changer in centre console (optional) with 6 speakers
Digital climate control air conditioning with air conditioned glovebox
Combined active carbon/pollen filter
Leather steering wheel
Front storage bins
12V Row 1
Athermic & acoustic windscreen
Auto and directional headlights
Front and rear fog lights & reverse lights
Steel folding roof
Electrochrome rear view mirror