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Peugeot 4007 GT HDi 156 Review & Road Test

Sun, 28 Mar 2010

We review Peugeot's take on the Mitusbishi Outlander - the Peugeot 4007

The phone rang quite early this morning “Sorry, Vince, but I need you to do a review on a car – starting this morning. We’re pushed out and Claire’s taking it for the weekend, so it has to be at least today and tomorrow – and probably Monday as well”. To be honest I didn’t mind. It was a lovely day – so what better way to spend it?

The car arrived an hour later with so little fuss I didn’t hear it arrive on the drive. So I assumed it wasn’t going to be a beast that needed taming; far more likely to be something small and family-like. Or maybe something big, quiet and purring – I’m in need of a little cosseting after being dragged out of bed so early. But no such luck. It was a French SUV.

Which sounds a little unkind. It’s just you don’t really think of the French as the ‘Kings of the SUV’. The Brits with Land Rover (or should that be the Indians?), of course; the Japanese with Mitsubishi and maybe even the Germans with their enormous luxury SUVs. But not the French.

The car – it turned out – was a Peugeot 4007, which makes it a Mitsubishi Outlander under the skin. Actually, apart from the nose (which looks like a big, gaping and rather fed-up mouth) the odd badge and the engine, a Mitsubishi Outlander is exactly what it is. As is its sister car, the Citroen C Crossover – which makes the prospect of a day or two with a ‘Frenchified’ Mitsubishi an interesting one. But breakfast first, please. It’s not even 9am.

I suppose I’m expecting a very Peugeot interior and suspension on the 4007 but in fact – apart from the Peugeot badge on the steering wheel – I can’t tell the difference between this and the Mitsubishi Outlander. As the range topper this particular 4007 – the Peugeot 4007 GT HDi 156 – comes with all the toys including leather and climate, a very useful Sat Nav with a 40GB HDD music box system and reversing camera. Mind you, this is an expensive option coming in at £1660.00 and – effective though it is at its job – it’s almost impossible to see the screen in bright sunlight. All these goodies certainly help explain why this particular Peugeot 4007 costs almost £30,000.

My leaden right foot soon discovers that this mid-size SUV suffers from torque steer, which I really wasn’t expecting. The cause is the very good 2.2 litre diesel Peugeot have fitted. It’s the same PSA/Ford unit that you’ll also find in the Land Rover Freelander 2 and has a very healthy 285lb/ft of torque. It’s not a problem if you’re poodling around town, but if you want to be a bit lively it’s noticeable. But there’s an easy answer.

The 4007 comes with selectable 4WD. You can choose 2WD, which is ideal for poodling around town or cruising on a motorway with just the front wheels in play, 4WD Auto which brings in a 70/30 F/R split whenever it’s needed (such as with a leaden right foot in charge) and 4WD Lock which gives a fixed 50/50 split for proper rough stuff.

Leaving the 4007 in 4WD Auto most of the time makes this a very pleasant car to drive. Weirdly, because I know the seats and suspension set-up are the same as on the Mitsubishi, the seats feel French-Comfy and the suspension – although firm enough to stop body-roll – feels more attuned to the French ideal of comfort than the more clinical Japanese approach.

But it works, even over badly pot-holed roads left over from the winter snow. The 4007 treats the majority with disdain and aplomb, although seems to be occasionally caught out by seemingly innocuous ridges which elicit a huge crash and bang.

The engine – although very torquey and lively – can be a bit harsh at times. In fact it is almost unacceptably noisy under some circumstances. It’s not the quietest lump in the world at 80mph on the motorway and it does make its presence felt if you decide to see just how quickly the not so small 4007 can get to 60mph (under 10 seconds by my reckoning, which is far from shoddy). But the liveliness and flexibility on offer make the sometimes harsh notes just about acceptable. In fact so flexible is the 2.2 litre diesel you can even manage a no-shudder take-off from stationary in 3rd gear without clutch-slip. Which should make the 4007 more than reasonable on the juice as long as your right foot’s not as heavy as mine.

After a couple of days with the 4007 I’m in two minds. For a growing family needing supermarket or school run transport the 4007 offers a lot. Well equipped, easy to drive and reasonably economical it’s a viable alternative. You get five comfy seats and the main back seats slide, recline, split 60:40 and fold up to leave a cavernous load space.

But the seats in the boot are so small they’re of less use than a set of dicky seats used to be (except you’ll stay dry), and are suited only to either very small children or legless adults (not the inebriated sort – you’d never get them in and, if you did, you’d never get them out again). Still, there may well be a need for them at some point, and when they’re folded away they do leave a very good sized boot. And the split hatch makes loading easy and offers a good place to sit at the back at outdoor events.

I’d also opt for the recently introduced DCS ‘box which would suit the 4007 better, and if I was planning on thrashing it around or spending a lot of time on the motorway I think the noise would be a bit wearing. But for around town it works well.

Peugeot launched the 4007 when the world was swarming in to SUVs. They picked a good partner in Mitsubishi and the 4007 has real ability, although it’s not without faults. But it does drive well and feels more car-like than SUV.

But one thing’s for sure. If you love Peugeots and you want an SUV the 4007 will suit perfectly.

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By Cars UK