Launch report:

Peugeot 1007 review

by Graeme Giles (1 August 2005)

According to Peugeot's arithmetic, three into one will go - the "one" being the small-car segment of the market. Carrying the French giant's colours in this division are the dinky little 107 (Citroen's C1 and the Toyota Aygo come from the same mould), the evergreen 206, and now the just-launched 1007. The double-0 moniker signals that this is a niche model in the line-up, and it certainly brings a different perspective to the supermini stage.

The most striking aspects of the car are its large, powered sliding doors, a first in this class which, claims Peugeot, give unrivalled access to the four-seater cabin. They also stops the kids from dinging the metalwork by careless opening in tight spaces. Shorter than a 206, the one-box 1007 manages to be something of a tardis of a car thanks to its high roof and deceptive width. The rear seats add to the flexibility by sliding fore and aft to maximise either legroom or luggage space, and they also tip and tumble in mini-MPV fashion.

Peugeot knows full well that small cars need distinctive personalities to succeed. So it has come up with 11 bright and breezy paint finishes for the outside, and a novel approach to the interior, which allows owners to personalise their cars. A range of 12 different coloured Cameleo kits, priced at £185 each, are available.

These consist of different-coloured air-vent surrounds, door trim panels and seat covers, which can be zipped or clipped into place in around 15 minutes, claims the manufacturer. The Cameleo-clad cabins look quite fetching, but some of the plastics and fittings look and feel a touch cheap.

Inside, you are immediately struck by the amount of space Peugeot has been able to liberate in the cabin. The sliding doors, combined with the tall roof, make getting in and out the front extremely easy, and anyone with a disability would find the 1007 a godsend. The view from the driver's seat feels more MPV than car but (and how often have we said this recently?) the screen pillars are very thick. Each car delivered in the UK will come with the blue hue as standard, plus a contrasting one of the customer's choice. Peugeot says it will be adding to the Cameleo choice to the tune of two new ones each year.

1007 is being fielded with a choice of two trim and specification levels, Dolce and Sport. Both come with impressive amounts of standard kit, including front, side and curtain airbags and CD sound systems. The Sport adds enhancements like automatic air-conditioning and alloy wheels.

Sitting on a version of the next-generation 206 platform, 1007 is a neat handler. The tall body does tend to roll a touch in hard-driven corners, but not enough to frighten the children. The engine choice includes two petrol units and a frugal turbo diesel. At entry level is a 1.4-litre 75bhp four, married to a five-speed manual gearbox. Alternatively, there is a 1.6-litre 110bhp unit, which comes only with the 2-Tronic clutchless transmission (optional with the 1.4). The turbo diesel is Peugeot-Citroen's familiar 1.4-litre HDi, which also delivers 75bhp. It's manual-gearbox only.

I've been driving Dolce 1.4 HDi and Sport 2-Tronic versions of the Peugeot 1007. The 1.6-litre car (117 mph, 0-62 mph in 12.6 seconds) is certainly the zippier of the two. The HDi may be slower (99 mph, 16.7 seconds), but it has no trouble holding its own in urban traffic and proved pleasantly refined.

But 2-Tronic - an improved version of the Sensodrive system fitted to the Citroen C2 and C3 - remains an acquired taste. Shift quality is improved, but the car still feels as though it's drawing a deep breath before changing up. That said, those customers who will use their 1007s around city streets will appreciate being able to select the fully automatic mode.

Ah yes, now getting back to those Gallic calculations. Peugeot is confident it can justify three product ranges in the small-car segment because each of them targets different age ranges. That's 18 to 24 for 107; 25 to 34 for 206 and 35 to 54 for the 1007. Certainly, the 35 to 54s are least likely to baulk at the 1007 pricing, which kicks off at a highish £10,850 on the road.

But are they the sort of folk likely to be seduced by the funky looks and quick-change interiors? Those are features more likely to appeal to young first-time buyers, but they are the ones most likely to find 1007 outwith their price range.

335stars

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