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Peugeot 407 Coupe HDi 163 Review & Road Test (2010)

Tue, 03 Aug 2010

Peugeot 407 Coupe Review & Road Test

When Peugeot launched the predecessor to the 407 Coupe – the 406 Coupe – back in 1997, big-ish two door coupes were rather more common than they are now. Or at least they were rather more common across the board than they now are. Yes, the ‘Premium’ makers do still churn out proper sized coupes, but the rest of the car makers have given up.

Except Peugeot. No doubt buoyed by the success and critical acclaim of the Pininfarina designed 406, Peugeot stuck with the coupe when the 407 replaced the 406 in 2005, and we’ve had a Peugeot 407 Coupe ever since.

Somehow we are reluctant to predict that Peugeot will continue with the Coupe when the Peugeot 407 gets replaced by the 508, so we thought it would be good to spend a week with the 407 Coupe to review and road test and see if there is still room in the world for a sensibly priced, proper size two door coupe.

Peugeot were on a hiding to nothing with the 407 Coupe. The 406 Coupe was so admired that it really didn’t matter what Peugeot did, the 407 would be seen as a backward step. That car makers had generally fallen out of love with big coupes by 2005 didn’t help matters either.

I confess I came to the review of the 407 Coupe with a number of preconceptions. A big, baggy, old fashioned coupe with looks only a mother could love. A dinosaur, ready for retirement in a world of trendy crossovers and superminis. Guess what? Not for the first time (actually, not even for the first time this week), I’m completely wrong about a car.

The Peugeot 407 Coupe is really nice to drive. Not in a ‘Set your Hair on Fire’ way, but in a ‘Well built comfortable drive and can eat up miles with aplomb’, kind of way. I’ve also decided it’s not ugly. My prejudiced petrolhead brain said ‘Peguet Coupe. Low Rent. Not impressive’. Wrong again.

Time and time again whilst out and about in the 407 Coupe I met with the same verdict – ‘Nice car. What is it?’ from people who weren’t car people. People who just looked at it as yet another car I had to play with, but one they were rather impressed with. What’s going on? All my prejudices about the 407 Coupe under threat.

I still don’t think the 407 Coupe is drop dead gorgeous – certainly not in the way the almost Ferrari-esque 406 Coupe was – but is is very distinctive and obviously impressive. In a world obsessed with more practical cars it is unusual to see a car that sacrifices a degree of practicality for a degree of style, particularly from a car maker like Peugeot. I think that’s what touches a chord with people. The Peugeot 407 Coupe is an individual in a world of blandness and sameness.

Individual looks are no good unless the car delivers. And although the 407 Coupe doesn’t deliver an astonishing performance – certainly not in the 2.0 litre diesel we have this week – it’s no sloth either. The 163bhp on offer manages to move the far from small 407 Coupe to 60mph in around 9 seconds. Not enough to rock the world or even win the traffic light Grand Prix, but more than enough to make brisk progress when you want, and helped to feel quicker than the figures say by a healthy chunk of torque.

And it’s no soggy, boggy French feather pillow ride that falls over in corners either. No, you won’t be drifting round wide bends in  display of tail-out jollity because of the finely honed chassis, but it’s a huge amount better than expected. The 407 Coupe eats miles on motorways in a way you would expect from a far more expensive coupe despite its modest oily bits, and it also turns out to have a decent suspension setup when the roads start to wind.

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By Cars UK