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DRIVETIME: MOTORING: Peugeot offers chance to be EXCLUSIVE; ROAD TEST: PEUGEOT 807.

A MONTH ago I experienced my first drive in the new Citroen C8 MPV, a collaborative effort between PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat Auto.

Models for all three brands are produced at the Sevelnord plant near Valenciennes in northern France.

I gave the C8 a good rating, and this week it is the turn of the Peugeot version, the 807.

But, to be frank, there isn't much I can add to my previous observations on the full-size people carrier.

The front end does identify the 807 as a member of the Peugeot family with its corporate grille and headlamps. The rear is also different and looks less van-like than the outgoing 806.

Door trims and carpeting are different from the Citroen and Fiat examples but, not surprisingly, the bulk of the vehicle is the same.

It has the same airy and bright cabin which can take seven or eight people, depending on whether two individual chair or a bench seat is fitted at the rear.

The seven-seater ensures each occupant has a three-point safety belt. Each individual chair can accommodate a child's safety seat. In the second row it is possible to install Isofix child seats in the two window positions.

Rear seats are fixed on sliding bars which allow up to 150 mm of travel.

The 806 offers a windscreen which is the largest in class covering 1.95 m sq with a total glass area of 5.20 m sq if the three optional sunroofs are specified.

Automatic air conditioning with separate driver and passenger controls is also fitted, and even rear passengers get their own airflow adjuster.

On the top range model, the Exclusive, there is an optional 7in colour screen which unfolds from the roof where it can be seen by the rear passengers.

The dedicated in-car DVD player allows the rear passengers to watch movies on the move. It is also possible to link the screen to a games console, camcorder or portable computer.

The centre console follows the example of that in the 806 and contains in its base, below the fascia-mounted gearlever, a refrigerated area capable of storing three drinks cans, and above it a drawer with a can holder, a removable ashtray and a 12-volt socket.

Main instruments on the Peugeot 807 consist of three green, translucent, spherical panels with silk-screen printed glass in the centre of the fascia. It has also been designed to accommodate a multipurpose screen to display, among other things, satellite navigation linked to a GPS telephone.

Power comes from 2.0-litre or 2.2-litre versions of Peugeot's petrol and HDi common-rail turbodiesel engines. All deliver excellent performance and flexibility over a wide rev range.

Peugeot claims that 2.2 petrol version has a top speed of 122 mph, while the 2.0-litre HDi can cover 39.2 miles on a gallon of fuel on mixed running.

Later this year a four-speed automatic gearbox will be available on the 2.0-litre petrol model and 2.0-litre HDi models.

Trim levels for the 807, which is available now, are LX, GLX, Executive and Executive SE.

All models have the full complement of airbags including the world-first full-length side curtain airbags.

Other safety features include front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, emergency brake assist and in some models anti-skid protection in the form of an electronic stability programme which have won the 807 a Euro NCAP 4-Star safety rating.

So how does it drive?

Basically it has the same car-like ride and handling characteristics as its French brother, the Citroen C8.

I drove the top range Exclusive with 2.2 diesel power unit and captain's chairs.

Once again it felt a class act, with a high driving position, good visibility and a feeling of solidity.

In its best year, Peugeot sold just under 1,700 units.

This time, due to an increasing demand for big MPVs in the UK, Peugeot expects to sell around 4,000 in a full year.

When Citroen launched its rival, it offered a pounds 2,000 cashback reduction.

Peugeot has opted for a zero per cent finance deal over four years.

Prices for the range of Peugeot 807s run from pounds 18,295 for the LX 2.0 up to pounds 24,755 for the flagship Executive SE 2.2 HDi six-seater.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Feb 14, 2003
Words:722
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