Peugeot 207 is a small-medium French car from the world’s oldest automotive nameplate. It’s substantially larger than the 206 it replaced when launched in Australia in February 2007. It goes without saying that French flair is a major feature of the 207’s body and interior.

Though it’s the smallest Peugeot model sold in Australia it’s large enough to cope with a family with preteen children. Boot space is pretty good for this class and can be expanded by double-folding the back seats. Peugeot designers are very clever at producing interiors that appear to be more spacious than they really are so there’s no feeling you’re travelling in a small car.

Ride comfort is excellent in the French manner and handling is reasonably precise and responsive. Peugeot 207 was initially sold as three- and five-door hatchbacks. A 207CC cabriolet joined the range a few months later, with a Touring station wagon being introduced in October 2007.

The Peugeot 207CC's roof is fully automatic and can be opened and closed at speeds of up to 10 km/h. It has good space in the front seats but the back seats are strictly for emergencies. Only small children can be carried, and even then the front occupants will have to move their seats forwards, perhaps to the point of being cramped.

Power for the Peugeot 207 range comes from a variety of petrol and diesel engines. There are 1.4-litre petrol units in two different formats, one a full-on economy unit with 55 kW, the other producing 65 kW. A 1.6-litre petrol engine is sold with or without a turbocharger, power and torque outputs are 88 kW / 160 Nm, and 110 kW / 240 Nm respectively. Peak torque on the turbo-petrol engine begins at an impressively low 1400 rpm, then continues all the way to 3500 rpm.

The Peugeot 207 turbo-diesel HDi is a 1.6-litre 80 with a strong 240 Newton metres under normal conditions, and an additional 20 Nm for a few seconds under hard acceleration to make for safer overtaking.

The GTI’s power comes from a turbocharged variant of the 1.6-litre engine and peaks at 128 kW. Better still is the impressive torque graph. It reaches 240 Nm at a very low 1600 rpm and continues at that high level to around 5000 before tapering away. Thus almost all torque is available pretty well all the time. Again, there's also an over-boost function that can provide an additional 20 Newton metres for a few seconds in third, fourth and fifth gears.

Peugeot dealers aren’t that numerous, though they are generally in metro areas there are more in the country regions than you might expect. That’s due to the reputation as a tough car the Peugeot gained back in the long distance trials of the 1950s and ’60’s. Particularly the legendary 1953 event where a Peugeot 203 took out first place.

Dealers are usually strongly established and mechanics have often worked on the marque for decades. Some specialist French and/or European repairs are often highly regarded.

Insurance costs are about average for small to medium European cars, but premiums vary more than normal so it’s worth shopping around. As always, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Though hatchback models in the Peugeot 207 range were superseded by the new 208 in October 2012, the 207 wagon and CC bodies continued to be produced and sold.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Generally well built, with significantly fewer problems than suffered by some Peugeots in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Make sure all electrical items are working correctly, running through them in the owner’s manual is a good way of doing it.

Check for previous crash repairs, if there’s the slightest doubt get a professional to inspect the 207.

Engines should start quickly and idle smoothly within a few seconds of firing up.

Turbo-diesel engines aren’t the quietest but if one seems to bad there could be expensive hassles.

Manual gearboxes should be light in their changes, in any crunch when changed quickly it may indicate excessive wear. The third to second change is usually the first one to play up.

CAR BUYING TIP

Building up a longterm relationship with one insurance company may pay off in the future if there’s a claim that may be marginal.