Model/Engine size: 1.6 HDi 90
Fuel economy combined: 74.3 mpg
Green-Car-Guide rating: 7/10
The Peugeot 207 Economique is another ‘eco’ model, and with emissions of 99 g/km CO2 you’d imagine it would be class-leading, but unfortunately there are a number of competitors with emissions of 98 g/km or less; so is it still a worthy contender?
As is now familiar with low emission models, the base car has had a few tweaks in order to get the emissions under the magic 100 g/km threshold. The key question is always whether the modifications result in any drawbacks in the driving experience, bearing in mind our aim, which is for cars that are great to drive but also highly efficient.
The 207 Economique is based on the standard 1.6 HDi model, but its engine management software has been tweaked to provide better economy, and it has longer gearing to keep the revs as low as possible.
The bodywork also receives treatment to make it more aerodynamic, including a lower front bumper, a flat undertray, side sill extensions and a large rear spoiler. There are also specially designed wheel trims and low-rolling-resistance tyres. All this helps to reduce the drag coefficient from 0.30 to 0.27 – which helps in the quest to use less fuel.
The result is a combined economy figure of 74.3 mpg, which is a 10 mpg improvement over the regular 207 with the same engine. This equates to 99 g/km CO2, a saving of 18 g/km CO2.
We found that it was easy to achieve 60 mpg in real-life driving, which, although around 14 mpg short of the official figure, is actually better than many competitors. It also means that the car has a large range, likely to be up to around 800 miles.
And of course with these emissions levels, there will be no road tax to pay. Although this represents only a small saving, the psychological impact of not having to pay the government for driving a car on UK roads far outweighs the cost saving.
So are there any drawbacks to the driving experience? Good news – the answer is no. The 207 Economique is a small car with a reasonably large 1.6 turbodiesel engine. This means that performance is good in most driving situations from towns to motorways. However it’s let down slightly by the five-speed manual gearbox, which isn’t the slickest around.
The 207’s handling is perfectly acceptable, although neither the steering nor suspension are particularly sharp on the limit, and certainly no match for the dynamics of the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic. The ride is slightly firmer than some Peugeots of old, but still comfortable.
The interior is fine for this class of car, although the driver’s seat back adjustment is awkward. Although our test car was three-door, you can also get a five-door version. Interior space is as you’d expect from a car of this size; there is adequate room for front seat occupants, with space being tighter in the rear. Some rivals certainly have better packaging. In its favour is a good 5-star Euro NCAP rating for safety.
Equipment levels aren’t great, and a key issue is that the Economique does not come with air conditioning. You can get air conditioning – still with 99 g/km CO2 emissions – but you need to go for the Economique + spec for this.
A significant issue is the price. Our test car was £13,495; this is around £700 more than the model on which it’s based. The five-door Economique + costs £14,995. This price can easily rise even further with options such as metallic paint. And another factor to consider is that the resale values of 207s aren’t great. However the Economique is still cheaper than the Fiesta ECOnetic.
One problem that has historically afflicted ‘green’ cars is their visual appearance. This remains an issue with the 207 as the Economique comes with wheels that aren’t as attractive as some of the alloys available on other models in the range, and whether or not you like the ‘body kit’ is very subjective.
The result of all this is that the Peugeot 207 Economique gets a Green-Car-Guide rating of 7 out of 10. It scores well for economy and driveability, but certainly loses marks for value.
The Peugeot 207 Economique is perfectly capable in terms of its driveability, having sufficient performance on all roads including motorways. It also delivers excellent real-world fuel economy. The lack of air conditioning is an issue for modern-day drivers who have become accustomed to comfortably regulating the internal temperature of their car on a hot day.
But the main challenge for Peugeot is that the 98 g/km CO2 cars in this class steal the headlines and the ‘class-leading’ status. The SEAT Ibiza 1.4 TDI Ecomotive, Ford Fiesta ECOnetic and Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX all emit 98 g/km. The Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion emits just 91 g/km (the Ibiza will soon come down to a similar level). Even larger cars such as the SEAT Leon Ecomotive and the Golf BlueMotion are now matching the 99 g/km CO2 figure.
However if you’re not too worried by 1 g/km CO2, and not troubled by a warm cabin, then the Peugeot 207 Economique successfully combines sufficient performance with excellent economy.
Of course, the elevated purchase price may be the real barrier to ownership. You’d have to do a lot of miles up and down the UK’s roads to get a return on the extra cost, but if the maths do work out, then the 207 Economique promises to be a compact, efficient solution.
Fuel economy extra urban: 85.5 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 61.3 mpg
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Green rating: VED band A – first year £0
Weight: 1279 Kg
Company car tax liability (2010/11): 13%
Price: £13,495 (From £10,995 to £17,295)
Insurance group: 4/13E
Power: 90 bhp
Max speed: 115 mph
0-62 mph: 11.7 seconds