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FIRST DRIVE: Peugeot 407

2004-07-28 11:20

Wilmer Muller

The 407 is a worthy successor to the 406, which is a good quality vehicle and did Peugeot's image a lot of good. But the 407 is better in every aspect!

It is chic and spacious while it offers loads of standard equipment. Furthermore there is a choice of three very competent petrol engines, while a diesel will join the line-up later this year.

Although some might like to compare it against cars such as the 3 Series, C-Class and A4, it is a actually a total different kind of vehicle.

Whereas something like the 3 Series is more a so-called "sports sedan," the 407 is a stylish family sedan which offers a lot of car for your hard-earned money.

The 407s natural rivals are the Ford Mondeo, the VW Passat, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and the Toyota Camry. But the Peugeot's distinctive design will make it stand out in a crowd.

Its most prominent design feature is the big front air intake which makes it seem as if the 407 is ready to eat all competitors for breakfast. Curvaceous body styling, gorgeously sleek lines and big glass areas compliment the car's prominent nose design. The car actually appears super expensive.


Peugeot has also given a lot of attention to the 407's build quality, and there is no doubt the company has succeeded. The interior plastics are made of high-quality material and the overall dashboard design is attractive.

Ergonomics are good, while standard on all 407s are fingertip controls for the audio system as well as cruise control.

Standard features on all 407s include climate control with dual settings, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers with rain sensors, tyre-pressure sensors and electric foldaway side mirrors.

The 2.2 and 3.0 models get electrically operated front seats and rear park distance control. High-quality cloth trim is standard on the entry-level 2-litre 407, while the 2.2 model gets a combination of leather and cloth trim. The range-topper has full leather trim.

The 407, which has scored five stars in the highly-acclaimed Euro NCAP crash tests, has a host of airbags including front driver and passenger airbags, a steering column airbag, side airbags in the seats, and side curtain airbags.

Driving it

The 407 is a showcase of good driving dynamics, offering a supple ride with sharp handling.

The suspension setup results in very high quality directional road holding under all circumstances, even on rough and deeply rutted roads, and consists of a dual wishbone front axle with drop link, and an integral multi-arm rear suspension with inclined spring and damper assemblies.

Stopping power comes from four large discs, with the front two ventilated. All three 407 models have ABS with electronic brake distribution for each wheel. In addition there are also emergency braking assistance, and ESP.

The entry-level 2-litre 407 with 100kW and 190Nm is not the sportiest kid on the block, but it offers acceptable power and makes a good cruiser. Power goes to the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.

The engine, which impressed us the most, was the 2.2-litre and it works very well in the 407. This four-cylinder develops a decent 116kW at 5 650 r/min and torque is 217 Nm, of which 92% is available at a love 2 000 r/min.

This model, which comes with a slick six-speed manual gearbox, felt much more agile than the 2-litre and its overall power delivery were smooth and refined. It is also very responsive and it is a keen performer.

The top of the range 3-litre V6 has a power output of 155 kW and torque is a hefty 290 Nm, while it comes with a new six-speed automatic gearbox. Of course it is a willing performer with load of power on hand, but it is heavier than the 2.2-litre and therefore isn't as agile.

In October, along with the 407 station wagon, Peugeot will launch a 2-litre diesel model.

Although it will be a difficult task for Peugeot (as it is for Honda, Mazda, Ford and Toyota) to convince image conscious buyers to opt for 407 instead of cars such as the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class it is a great overall package.

It is a striking vehicle and there is no doubt that the new 407 is a great buy. Peugeot can be proud of the 407 and the company can even be more proud that with the 407 it has addresses the issue of affordable motoring. With the 407 you get a premium car which doesn't carry a premium price tag.


  • 2.0 ST Comfort - R217 900
  • 2.0 ST Comfort (Auto) - R229 900

  • 2.0 ST Comfort HDi - R249 900
  • 2.0 ST Comfort HDi (Auto) - R279 900

  • 2.2 Sport - R249 900

  • 3.0 V6 Executive (Auto) - R309 900

    The 407 comes with a 3-year/100 000km factory warranty, and 5-year/100 000km full maintenance plan. Service intervals are set at 30 000km for the petrol models.

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