2009 Peugeot 407 | road test

Posted on Apr 19, 2009 by

The 407 has been around for five years now, but has had a makeover for the 2009 model year.
Not that you’d notice, if you didn’t know what you were looking for. This is more of a hint of Botox than a full-on facelift. Compare the before and after shots and you’ll see that the latest model of this full-size saloon has a chrome finish to the front grille and a slight jazzing up of the rear. Inside, there are a few interior tweaks here and there, a new air conditioning system and a new satellite navigation system, which finally includes a Bluetooth hands-free phone system rather than the SIM-card draw that previously blighted it.

The looks tend to divide opinion, with some considering it sleek and dynamic, and other thinking it looks like a wide-mouthed fish. This correspondent feels that when Peugeot decided to no longer outsource its designs to Italian stylists Pininfarina back in the early 2000s, its cars’ looks suffered.

It’s nice inside though – roomy, stylish in a Gallic, mildly interesting level of flamboyance-kinda way. And the GPS system is a work of art in terms of the way the map glides about on the screen as you drive. It’s just a shame that, as with almost all such systems in these parts, the map was considerably out of date. Such is the price of progress.

The Premium model that we tested is the top-level version of the 407 saloon. It comes well appointed, with tinted windows, an electric sliding sunroof and a socket for plugging in your mp3 player or USB stick. Cruise control is standard, as is a speed limiter, which can be particularly useful on roads chock full of speed cameras.

The 407 is very comfortable when it comes to cruising the highways. Peugeot has always been good at making seats that let you sink into them without leaving your lower back sore after half an hour, and with a nice roomy interior and a decent driving position, long journeys are a thoroughly pleasant experience.

This is not particularly helped, however, by the engine, which is a bit of an asthmatic affair. The 2.2-litre unit develops 160bhp and puts it to the front wheels by way of a four-speed automatic gearbox. It’s not enough. Floor the throttle and the 407 makes a grumbling effort to move, straining away while making little progress. The gearing doesn’t really help – five speed gearboxes are really the minimum standard expected of a car of this type these days, and 160bhp from 2.2-litre is pretty poor in this day and age. We reckon you’d need a bare minimum of 185bhp to have vaguely acceptable performance. The lower trim levels come with just a 2.0-litre unit pumping out 143bhp, which we’ve not tried. And don’t really want to.

 

 

The handling is ok – the steering wheel is pleasantly chunky and although the cornering experience is rather light and airy, with most of the feel taken out, the chassis is a decent one. It’s no sports car though – you wouldn’t want to take it up Jebel Hafeet in anger.

Safety wise, the 407 has the maximum five stars in the European EuroNCAP crash test and comes with plenty of acronyms to reassure you of your survival in case of an accident – ABS, EBD, EBA and ASR are all standard, as are ESP and airbags galore.

Despite this, it’s hard to recommend this car against the opposition – the only good things going for it are its comfort and a relatively attractive price, starting at 74,000AED for the entry-level 407 Confort and its 2.0-litre engine. On the bad side, the engines available don’t match the car’s dynamic looks, and it’s a machine that’s looking old against its rivals.

A Coupe version of the 407 is also available, powered by a 211bhp 3.0-litre V6. That sounds a bit more like it.

Peugeot  407 saloon

Price: From 74,000AED

Engine size: 2.0, 2.2

Engine type: Four-cylinder

Driven wheels: Front wheel drive

Max power (bhp): 160

Max torque (Nm): 220

Trim levels: Confort, Premium

Standard safety features: ABS, ASR, EBD, Emergency Brake Assist, driver and passenger airbag, side and curtain airbags

* Prices are indicative and may vary at the time of purchase. All prices are ex-Dubai showrooms. Please check with your local dealer for current prices and offers.

 

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