TESTED: Peugeot 4007 - Diesel with flair

FRENCH car maker Peugeot is better known for its range of city-orientated sedans and hatchbacks than it is for building 4WD wagons. As such, owning a “Pug” probably hasn’t been high on the wish list of many anglers. Let’s face it, we’re all keen to get off the beaten track and a “city car” just doesn’t cut the mustard. However, the Peugeot 4007 – a mid-sized soft-roader which combines European flair with the performance and economy of a high-tech diesel engine – has given this Gallic brand a healthy serve of offroad cred.

At first glance, the 4007 looks a lot like the Mitsubishi Outlander. This is no surprise. Peugeot built the 4007 as a joint venture with the Japanese car giant, and the vehicle features pretty much the same body and interior as the popular Outlander. The French designers added their own touch with a distinctive grill and a bit of extra chrome work, plus the famous “lion” logo. While the styling between the two cars is very similar, it’s in the engine bay where the 4007 cements its own unique identity. Outlanders are available in a couple of petrol variants but the Peugeot comes only as a diesel.

Those of you interested in automobile history will know that Peugeot led the way with diesel-powered cars in its home market in Europe early last century. Since then it has continually refined and developed the oil burning powerplant. This diesel specialisation is more than evident in the 4007 as its 2.2 litre turbo charged donk is a thing of singular beauty. Matched to an innovative six-speed DCS (dual clutch) automatic gearbox, this toey little engine provides awesome responsiveness with a very frugal thirst. The engine develops 115kW at 4000rpm and 380Nm of torque at 2000rpm. Torque is basically pulling power and modern diesels are very good at producing loads of grunt from relatively small capacity engines.

Peugeot claims combined cycle fuel use of 7.2 litres per 100kms. I drove the test car several times from my home base on the NSW South Coast up to Sydney, plus indulged in a fair bit of rural and urban driving, and noted average fuel use of around 7.6 litres per 100kms. Based on these figures, the 4007’s standard 60-litre tank should provide more than 800kms before needing to be refilled.

My time driving the 4007 revealed it has pleasant road manners. My personal ride is a 2011 Nissan Navara. The Peugeot is obviously more refined than my trusty ute, although modern SUVs are surprisingly car-like to drive. That said, the Navara is a “real” 4WD while the 4007 is very definitely in the soft-roader class. The vehicle is equipped with an easy-to-operate 4WD select system which allows you to change from front wheel to all wheel drive via a knob located in front of the gear selector stick.

The 4007 doesn’t have the clearance to allow for any sort of serious off-road work but it’s certainly better equipped for some rough stuff than, say, a Holden Commodore or Ford Falcon. I’d have no issue driving the 4007 along fairly ordinary dirt tracks and similar but I wouldn’t be taking it on soft sandy beaches or anywhere where you need to crawl over rocks or stumps.

It boasts a 2000 kilo braked tow capacity – which means it’s suitable for towing alloy and fibreglass boats up to about 5m in length. The test vehicle wasn’t equipped with a tow bar but my time driving it around leads me to surmise that the low-down torque of the 2.2l diesel would make it a fairly efficient tow vehicle.

The model I tested was the base – it came equipped with everything you could want including Bluetooth, climate control air con, leather trim, rain sensing wipers, headlamps that turn on automatically, a sophisticated trip computer and a decent sound system. The top-of-the-line model adds more leather, seven seats and extra electronic controls.

Apart from the efficiency of the diesel engine and the pleasurable driving experience, one of the other good things about the 4007 was that it boasts a really sizeable boot. This appealed to me because it would make loading tackle and accessories easy; my wife, on the other hand, was impressed with how much shopping it could hold ...

The family fisho with a smallish boat to tow and no real need to get out into any sort of extreme off-road conditions would doubtless find the Peugeot 4007 to be an appealing and versatile vehicle. The impressive diesel engine helps set it apart from the pack in this tightly contested mid-range soft-roader market – and its understated French flair doesn’t hurt either!

Check out peugeot.com.au for more details. The driveaway price for the car as tested at the time of writing was $41,585, although various deals on offer saw that price reduced by about $1500.

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