"Good to drive, handsome and better built than its predecessors, the Peugeot 207 is a good all-rounder."
The 207 supermini represents a big step forward from its predecessor, the 206, as the build quality is much more impressive and there's more space inside. The 207 feels secure on the road and there are loads of safety features, too. The diesel engines are cheap to run and most of them have plenty of power - there's even an Economique (later called Oxygo) model that has exceptionally low running costs and is road tax free, thanks to its low emissions. It's best to steer clear of the cheapest petrol engines though, as they're underpowered and noisy. The 207 is due to be replaced in the summer of 2012 by Peugeot's stylish new 208.
There's a vast choice of engines: three 1.4-litre and two 1.6-litre petrol options and a 1.4-litre and two 1.6-litre HDi diesel engines, so there's something for everyone. The lower powered 1.4-litre variants are capable around town but less so at speed, while the 1.6-litre petrol engines are more able but not quite as fuel efficient. The diesel engines suit the 207 best, as they're powerful and economical. The 207 is easy to drive and feels very safe on the road. The steering is light at low speeds, but it becomes heavier when you're going faster and it's very responsive. The only downside is the five-speed manual gearbox which can be difficult to put into gear.
The 207's suspension offers plenty of comfort, but the system lacks the sharpness of rivals like the Ford Fiesta. Smaller petrol engines create a bit of noise on the motorway, but that aside, the 207 is impressively hushed for such a small car – road and wind noise are almost non-existent.
The 207 scored five Euro NCAP stars for adult occupants, four for child occupants and three for pedestrians, which is among the best scores you'll find. Six airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are all standard. Remote central locking, deadlocks and automatic locking when the car reaches 6mph are also part of the package on all versions. Reliability is a weakness as the 207 finished 68th for reliability in the 2010 Driver Power survey and Peugeot ranked 24th out of 27 manufacturers in the JD Power Satisfaction survey in 2010.
The 270-litre boot is spacious, but far from the biggest you'll see in a supermini. The Ford Fiesta, by comparison, offers 295 litres of space. Leg and headroom in the back is limited, and the rear seats are only really suitable for children. It's possible to remove the base of the rear seats and fold the back down to create a large, flat load space, but this can be a laborious process. The glovebox is a reasonable size and it has handy sub compartments, one of which acts as a cool box on models with air-conditioning.
Value for money
The 207 isn't one of the best value hatchbacks around, but it's priced keenly against rivals like the Renault Clio and SEAT Ibiza. Apart from the safety features, entry-level Urban models get electric front windows, a CD stereo and power steering, so they're not exactly brimming with kit. It's best to go for an S model or higher, which adds air-conditioning, electric heated door mirrors, a trip computer, body coloured door handles and curtain airbags. Resale values are slightly lower than average, but not cripplingly so. Dealers should be offering big discounts as the 207 is due to be replaced by the new 208 in the summer of 2012.
The 1.6 Oxygo diesel models are exceptionally cheap to run - they offer 74.3mpg and emissions of 98g/km, so Road Tax is free. Meanwhile the standard diesels impress and on longer journeys will return 60mpg or more.