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Motors: Peugeot packs in all you need for modern life; ROAD TEST Peugeot 807 Executive 2.0.

Byline: By Bill McCarthy

IT is sometimes a problem when testing full-blown people carriers, or even smaller MPVs for that matter, to fully appreciate their versatility.

Motoring around for a week without a car full of ankle-biters and a full luggage load is hardly a test for a seven-seater like Peugeot's 807.

But just for a starter, take a week in France and add in several visits to Disneyland Paris.

Mix a car packed to the gunwales with luggage, add three adults and three young kids, a top box overflowing with baby gear, three bikes on a bike rack and stir in a cabin full of half-eaten food and discarded toys and you have the recipe for the most rigorous of road tests.

The 807 Executive is the top of the range and features such goodies as electric sliding rear doors and six removable seats to suit any combination of load carrying requirements.

For us, it necessitated the removal of one of the third row of seats to find optimum carrying space and occupant comfort and the surprise is that many sceptics who saw scoffed at the idea we could fit everything quickly changed their view when it was all stowed neatly away.

All the rear seats are on sliding bars, so are removable, but care needs to be taken when handling them because they are heavy. The plus side is that although they weigh a bit they are substantial and comfortable, critical on a long journey.

I'm not sure what the entire weight would have been given we had everything bar the kitchen sink, but it was plenty and two-litre diesel engine proved both willing and economical, returning, by my rough calculation around 32mpg against official figures of 39.7mpg.

The diesel offers 136bhp with good pulling power in all gears which makes the driving experience pleasant and stress-free. The car handles well for a vehicle of this size and was only slightly affected by crosswinds on the motorways. There is little body roll which helps occupants with travel sickness and the steering is direct and responsive.

It looks smart as well particularly at the front end where the bonnet tapers down to a smart grille dominated by neat headlights and a trademark Peugeot lion.

But the interior is the real clever bit. Everything is geared to create space, even the gearstick is mounted on the dash to create extra stowage space between the fronts seats.

There are two large flat storage compartments either side of the dash and plenty of storage space in doors and seats, with aircraftstyle drop-down trays.

All the seats fold forward, flat or are completely removable and the car can even be converted to an eight seater.

The front passenger is a captain's chair style and can swing round to face the rear.

The driver has a commanding position and all-round vision excellent thanks to acres of glass.

The dashboard layout is a bit of an enigma with slightly oldfashioned dials, mated to state of the art switchgear. Having said that, all are logically placed and easy to use.

The car offers of plenty of standard gear for the money including automatic air conditioning, the usual array of electric windows and door mirrors.

Temperature controls are also available in the rear and to keep the kids quiet, the optional DVD was a godsend.

Most importantly the 807 has a Euro NCAP five star safety rating and offers airbags for all passengers, ABS, stability control and other braking aids and Isofix fittings for child seats.

Storage is limited with all seats in place, but you can still shoehorn a fair amount in. Extra stowage can be had by adding a roofbox to the fixed roofrails.

The powered sliding doors were brilliant for three children under six years of age, who never tired of seeing the doors going backwards and forward.

They also felt the force of the safety mechanism a couple of times when getting in the way of the door closing. It gave them a shock but the door did retract with hardly any fuss from the kids.

The 807 is brilliant solution for big families on long holiday looking for comfort, economy and a great drive.

FAST FACTS

MODEL: Peugeot 807 Executive 2.0 HDI

PRICE: pounds 25,117

MECHANICAL: 136bhp, 1,997cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels rear wheels via 6-spd manual transmission

MAXIMUM SPEED: 118mph 0-62mph: 11.4 secs

COMBINED MPG: 39.7 mpg

INSURANCE GROUP: 11

CO2 EMISSIONS:188g/km

COMPANY CAR TAX RATING: 24%

WARRANTY: 3yrs/60,000 miles.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 20, 2007
Words:762
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