407 2.2 ST Sport
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
French roads are not the best in Europe, and French cars
generally have tough suspensions, this 407 being no
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.
Car Torque is