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Peugeot 407 2.2 ST Sport

Broadcast dates : 5th December 2004
9th December 2004

One of the criteria for the Wesbank Car of the Year Competition, judged by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists, is that the winner should break new ground in automotive excellence

Just one glance at the Peugeot 407 and you will realize that it meets this particular standard in the looks department.

Peugeotís brief in designing the car was that it had to stand apart from the crowd. 

And in its price and size segment, with cars like the Renault Laguna, Fordís Mondeo and Volkswagenís Passat having strong personalities in their own right, this was no easy task.

Peugeot achieved its objective by going for a dramatic front styling, and the rest of the car also cuts a mean path through the hoards of motorized clones on the roads.

Itís very similar in appearance to the three-litre V6 automatic we featured a few months ago, but quite different in overall feel.

The speedometer displays odd numbers, with the hundred-and-thirty kilometres-per-hour mark located at the top of the speedo dial. This is the speed limit in France.

Equipment-wise, the 407 is well-specced for its price bracket. It has individual climate control, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, Electric windows, electric exterior mirrors, follow-me-home headlights, a steering column adjustable for height and reach, an on-board computer and a front-loading CD player.

The seats are covered in a mix of leather and cloth with a high PVC content. They look smart, and they are nice and comfortable.

The Sport also has electric adjustment for the front seats, an electrochrome anti-dazzle rear-view mirror and rear parking sensors.

With that long nose, front parking sensors would actually make more sense.

The four-cylinder Peugeot engine produces a hundred-and-sixteen kiloWatts from its two-thousand two-hundred and thirty cc displacement.

Thatís a reasonable output on paper, but on the move it feels just a little ponderous, probably because this is a large car that weighs nearly fifteen hundred kilograms.

The gear lever is a little vague. Itís all too easy to select fourth instead of second gear when changing from first gear, as the spring loading on the gear lever is too heavily biased towards the centre position.

The 407 uses a six-speed manual transmission, driving through the front wheels, and top gear is very tall.

In city driving youíd rarely find yourself in top, but out on the open road the tall gearing pays dividends in fuel consumption.

Peugeot claims an overall figure of nine litres per hundred kilometres, which is reasonable economy.

When Car Magazine tested the car it achieved a figure of just over ten litres per hundred kilometres.

Other performance figures from Car at sea level were a ten-comma-three second nought to one hundred time and a top speed of two-hundred and seventeen kilometres per hour.

Once you get used to the very long nose, which makes placing the car on the road initially difficult, you appreciate the generally fine ride quality, apart from a slight jitteriness over bumps and ripples at slow speeds.

On dirt it acquits itself quite well, and it will be interesting to see if the 2005 Car of the Year test day incorporates a dirt road section as it has done in the past.

French roads are not the best in Europe, and French cars generally have tough suspensions, this 407 being no exception.

Incidentally, the 407 also comes equipped with tyre pressure sensors, handy for dirt road driving where punctures are more likely.

Overall we left the 407 with a feeling of fondness and a realization that driving this French car, so different, so French as the ads used to say Ė is always something of a special occasion.

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