From its name I’m guessing this is a successor to the 206 SW
Exactly right. Making an estate version of a supermini might not be a popular pastime for many car companies but Peugeot obviously sees something more than just a challenge in it. The French firm prides itself on offering an estate version of every major model in its range and this is the 207’s. The production SW goes on sale in July but it’s let us put a thinly veiled concept version through its paces already.
How much does it differ from the production version then?
Not much actually. Like the model that’ll hit showrooms this is based on the regular hatchback and the only differences between this and the production car will be cosmetic. Those roof bars will make it as an option but you’ll probably have to buy them in an aluminium colour not the concept's lairy orange. The blue chrome-effect body cladding is also likely to be a casualty in the switch from concept to reality. And that’s a shame because it looks great.
Let’s put it another way then, how does it differ from the hatch?
Again the answer is it doesn’t really. It has the same wheelbase as the hatch and is identical up to the rear wheels. But Peugeot’s engineers have managed to graft-on a new rear end. It’s like a mini facsimile of the 407 SW so there’s the triangular rear window and those funny looking gill things that stretch round the sides from the back lights. The overall effect is sleek and less clumsy looking than the hatch, which looks a bit lumpy in comparison.
What about the ride height? This car seems a bit loftier than the regular 207
Well spotted. It’s actually 20mm higher off the ground, hence the Outdoor moniker. Peugeot is planning to launch a model like this but probably not until about a year or so after the regular model’s gone on sale. Changes are only cosmetic, designed to appeal to people who want to look like they go off-road rather than people who actually do it. So despite the raised ride height and extra body protection it’ll still only be two-wheel drive. A name hasn’t been decided on yet but it’ll probably be Outdoor, like the concept.
What’s it like on the road then?
It might be called a concept but this car is about as real as it comes. On the road it feels very sorted, pretty much like a regular 207. The steering doesn’t feel overly assisted and offers plenty of feel. Only the ride lets it down. This is one of the strengths of the regular car but sticking longer springs and shocks on for the Outdoor version makes it feel fidgety over poor surfaces and the raised centre of gravity increases roll round corners. Our test car was fitted with an 110bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine which is more adequate than exciting. Other engines available will follow the hatch range so there’ll be the 1.4-litre petrol, 90bhp 1.6-litre and 1.4 and 1.6 turbo diesels. The range topper will have the 150bhp 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the 207 GT.
There must be some benefits though
Well we’re always unconvinced by models that have all the disadvantages of 4x4s with none of the plus points. However Peugeot has been careful to ensure the regular 207 SW has some added value over hatch models. Not only does it have the bigger boot with a lower load lip; the engineers have also worked on the rear seat mechanism. The whole unit is spring loaded so it can be folded down single handedly. And you now get a flat load space without having to lift up the rear seat bases to achieve it.
The real SW arrives in July priced at £700 more than the usual hatch. For that buyers will get a car that’s slightly more practical but arguably better looking and undoubtedly a lot less common.