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Peugeot 207 XT HDi 2007 review

It was a typical road trip: coffee at Coolum, pancakes at Gin Gin, crab sandwiches at Miriamvale, a steak at Gladstone, roast beef at Rockhampton.

So the little European hatchback was stopping frequently to refuel driver and co-driver. No need to fill the car up, however. This was a diesel, seemingly happy to go forever — well, count on about 1000km on a 50-litre tank of fuel.

It's compact, but doesn't seem cramped. Light, but doesn't feel flimsy. Reasonably priced (for a chic Euro design, anyway), but is well equipped and extremely comfortable.

Peugeot reckons the 207 is not the replacement for its 206 model, which has been here since 1999, and continues on sale. Rather, they say, the 207 is “an alternative” aimed at “new generation of customers”.

The 207 is longer, wider, taller, sits on a longer wheelbase, has a larger turning circle and weighs almost 10 per cent more, but is still no heavyweight.

Baby Peugeots have always been agile little jiggers. The 207 carries on that excellent tradition, while feeling a whole lot more solid than several of its predecessors.

As well as looking sharp, it can boast great seats, a supple ride and roadholding which makes it a pleasure to steer.

And its diesel engine may be small, but this one feels like a robust, healthy heart pumping away. It accelerates strongly enough, cruises in a refined fashion and happily pulls up long hills.

As in most of the latest well-bred diesels from Europe, the average person would be hard-pressed telling it's not a petrol engine. All yesteryear's clattering and chugging, the not-so-good vibes and the feeble acceleration, have been eliminated.

And it's thrifty. The fuel consumption (after a mix of highway cruising plus lots of in-town to-ing and fro-ing) averaged a thrifty 4.8 litres a 100km, the same as the official rating worked out by a complicated formula in a laboratory.

The diesel HDi version comes in XT trim, middle of the several levels of 207 which Peugeot imports, and is $3000 dearer than its similarly equipped, petrol-engined sibling (which has more power, much less torque, slightly faster 0-100km/h acceleration, and a greater thirst).

Critics of diesel cars will pounce on that $3000 gap to argue it would take years to save enough from the fuel bill to account for the higher purchase price. But diesel owners can expect to get back the initial premium when they sell.

The 207's HDi powerplant is quite a high achiever, even among its well-regarded peers. Consider that VW's 1.9 litre diesel, as fitted to the Golf, has 77kW of power and 250Nm of torque. Yet the Peugeot diesel, with only 1.6 litres capacity, manages to out-gun it in power (80kW) and nearly match it in torque (240Nm).

Peugeot's stopwatch says the HDi diesel takes 10.1 seconds to go from 0-100km/h (compared with 9.6 seconds for a 1.6 litre petrol-engined 207). Anything near 10 seconds is good going for a small car, especially since the diesel version weighs almost 100kg more.

Of course it weighs even more if you stop for pancakes and crab sandwiches on the Brisbane-Rocky run. But you must find some reason to pull up and stretch your legs, since there's no need to refuel.

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Range and Specs

CC 1.6 1.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $8,300 – 12,870 2012 Peugeot 207 2012 CC 1.6 Pricing and Specs
CC 1.6 Sportium 1.6L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,100 – 13,640 2012 Peugeot 207 2012 CC 1.6 Sportium Pricing and Specs
CC 1.6 Turbo 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $9,200 – 13,860 2012 Peugeot 207 2012 CC 1.6 Turbo Pricing and Specs
GTi 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $6,500 – 10,120 2012 Peugeot 207 2012 GTi Pricing and Specs