Pretty nearly perfect Peugeot performs with painless power

Lerato Matebese

Lerato Matebese

I recently drove into a service station and looked for the diesel pump, but the petrol attendant guided me to the unleaded petrol instead.

I ignored him and went directly to the diesel pump I had just spotted. He came up to my window with an expression of disappointment.

I apologised and explained that the 207 we had on test was fuelled by diesel.

He involuntarily shook his head sideways in disbelief.

"Mara e thotse hore e kaba diesel" meaning the vehicle is rather refined to be running on diesel.

Peugeot is doing something right when it comes to diesel engine refinement, as is evident not only by this particular vehicle, but also by the sexy 407 2,7 V6 Hdi Coupe.

The 207 slots in between the popular 206 and 307 hatch models. Peugeot says it is an addition to the range, rather than a 206 replacement.

The front end is undoubtedly Peugeot, with the large cat-like headlights and the rampant lion badge, making the vehicle one of the sexiest small hatches on the market.

I was slightly disappointed by the look of the interior, which seemed a bit dark and empty.

But the large display screen gives the cabin a touch of soul and displays information from the onboard computer .

Beating under the bonnet is a 1,4litre turbo diesel engine making 50kW at 4000rpm and 160Nm at 2000rpm, with a top speed claimed at 166kmh. Linked to a five-speed gearbox, the result was an effortless delivery of power, particularly at about 2000rpm, where the 207 really comes into its own.

What impressed me most was the excellent cruising ability displayed by the 207 during open-road driving. It covered distance like a Comrades Marathon runner. Also worth mentioning are the low wind and engine noise levels at higher speeds.

The experience did have its shortcomings though; the gear changes are too soft and the foot pedals are too close .

Standard features are impressive and include air-conditioning, CD player with remote controls behind the steering wheel, a refrigerated cubby hole and heated electric side mirrors, to name a few.

Safety comes in ABS braking with electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, front and side airbags, auto hazard lights during emergency braking, and auto drive-away locking.

Service intervals are only every 20000km and a three-year-100000km warranty comes standard. The 207 1,4 Hdi XR costs R139 900.