Thursday 3 March 2011
We described the 2008 Peugeot 207 van as ‘the van that thinks it’s a sports car’ so Peugeot built us a special vehicle that really does look and feel the part.
As a journalist, I often wonder exactly how many people read and inwardly digest my writings. Well, the boys at Peugeot obviously do. In a recent issue, we featured a first road test of the new 207 van and labelled it: 'the van that thinks it's a sportscar'. Just a few weeks later, the engineers put together for our delight a van that IS a sportscar (almost), complete with go-faster stripes, alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes, front bumper extensions and a sports gearlever and knob. Wow, talk about the power of the press.
You can't actually walk into your nearest Peugeot showroom and buy a van like this, but the accessories on it are all available as paid-for extras so by forking out a wad of cash, you could create a replica. But it's hardly a fleet vehicle, I hear you say. Wrong! Just think it through. EVERYONE looks at this van and if everyone is looking at it they'll also be looking at your company decals too. It's a fine free ad.
In normal guise, the 207 is the best looking van in its sector in my opinion but with its jaunty red stripes and menacing lion's head logo on the sides, it looks simply stunning and gained admiring looks from all directions during my test week.
Three engine variants are available - 1.4-litre petrol and 14 and 1.6 litre diesels. Our model had the highest-powered diesel offering 90bhp and 161lb-ft of torque at 1,750prm. Such a lot of torque in such a small vehicle at such low revs makes this van fairly fly along and power steering is weighted just on the heavy side, like it should be for a sporty vehicle. It means the driver gets lots of 'feel' for what's going on between steering wheel and road. And the 207 will stick to corners like glue, making for a very enjoyable high-speed experience. And despite quite a bit of sporty driving during my test week, this van still managed to return a fuel economy figure in the low-50 mpgs.
I'm always a little nervous of testing small vehicles because at a leggy 6ft 4in there is a fear that I might not actually fit in. No such problems here. The 207 has bags of legroom - so much so that I began wondering just how the designers had managed to fit so much into such a small space. The seats are nice and big too with plenty of support under the thighs right down to the back of the knees, along with excellent lumbar and side support which will keep the occupants in place on fast bends.
In the business end, the rear hatch opens to reveal a good square load bay with six load-lashing eyes and a half-height bulkhead, although there is a sizeable lip at the rear which means loads can't simply be slid in and out. However, there's a wipe-clean floor and we'd recommend that full-length load cover to stop prying eyes looking in at your valuable cargo
A great little van that will delight any driver. The 207 van manages to combine sporting style with practicality admirably.
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