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Motoring for Women
Peugoet 807 - a French invasion
Peugeot pioneered the way in the MPV sector with the launch of the 807, a full sized people carrier back in 2003. Now, under the giant French umbrella of PSA Peugeot Citroen and Fiat Autos, the 807 has had a face lift and is now the first MPV to be fitted with full length curtain airbags and the first to achieve a 5 star Euro NCAP rating in the MPV sector.
Longer, taller and wider than its predecessor, the 807 is not for the faint hearted. Its big, its bold and its brassy but it certainly does the job for those who genuinely need a seven seater. (There is an option of eight seats) Three trims are mated to three engines including two diesels and prices start from £19 320 for the S model on a 2.0 litre petrol rising to £24,730 for the top of the range Executive with a 2.2 diesel engine. Guess which one I was testing? Absolutely, well if you have all these children to ferry around, you might as well do it with comfort and style.
MPVís are not exactly renowned for their stunning looks but the 807 has made an effort with the lovely teardrop front light clusters and the broad smiley grille while the colour coded bumpers, door mirrors and body side mouldings make a striking contrast with the chrome handles and alloy wheels. The ace of the 807 has to be the sliding doors that simplify access especially in those tight parking bays and a godsend when the children are babes in arms.
The Executive model I was testing not only had electric powered doors, but they could be opened, closed or locked at the touch of a button. An electronic driver operated locking mechanism ensures the doors cannot be opened by children but are reluctant to stop if an arm gets in the way which I found out to my immense shock and pain.
The huge interior is dominated by the two-tired cockpit style front dashboard but it is very busy with all the sat nav equipment, driver information, radio / CD player which took an age to get the hang of, let alone find a decent radio station. The busy- ness continues to the height adjustable steering wheel, which sees four stalks for various operations including cruise control and remote audios, but I found them hard to operate without taking my eyes off the road, which is the idea. The dash mounted gearbox certainly frees up cabin space yet is surrounded with more controls so the moral of the story is; really get to now your 807 before embarking on any journey.
Going from sublime to ridiculous, the 807 suddenly excels in practicality with an abundance of storage solutions including very clever dash mounted boxes with integrated compartments for all those odds and pieces. Row Two has the useful door pockets with removable cup holders, picnic trays and elasticated front seat pockets while row three has a 12-volt power socket, bottle holders and side pockets.
The Executive goes onto have privacy glass and rear sun blinds for all four windows with row three having their own air flow thus keeping all the children cool and happy. Or was that down to the roof mounted DVD with four sets of headphones. Whatever, the cabin was a peaceful place to be in from the driverís point of view. Basking in seriously comfortable leather height adjustable seats with electric adjustment and memory plus electrically heated, I enjoyed the feeling of command the driverís seat gave on the 807 as I trundled along.
With all seven seats in place there was surprisingly very little room in the boot, enough for a few shopping bags, but to operate the seats you need both hands so remember where you put the keys before attempting to push and pull the seats into the required configuration.
The 2.2 litre Hdi common rail turbo diesel engine powering the 807 is rather throaty taking a sedate 12.6 to reach 62 mph but once there, does hold the speed well. The 807 achieves 36.7 mpg on a combined cycle but donít have a fit when you fill up. Itís an 80-litre tank! The 807 is a heavy car and you really must be at the correct speed for each of the six gears on the manual transmission, just as you need to brake earlier than perhaps in a smaller vehicle.
Luckily the 807 has ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Emergency Brake Assist and ESP to get you out of trouble. The power assisted rack and pinion system various in assistance depending on the speed of the vehicle but its refreshingly light at low speed aiding the parking along with parking sensors which were very welcomed. Despite the good and trusty McPherson suspension, the 807 felt the roughness of the tarmac much to my horror, when having just purchased the new KT Tunstall CD Ė well is was so quite with the children listening to the DVD, the CD jumped every time we went over a rough bit of road surface. I felt like turning off the DVD and refereeing some arguments!
So, how did the 807 mange to achieve 5 stars in the Euro NCAP? Well, with a host a safety and security features such as driver and passenger airbags, fronts side airbags, curtain airbags for all three rows, side impact reinforcement on the front and rear doors and side impact absorbent padding on three front doors. The entire seat has pre tensioners and force limiting seatbelts with Isofix location points on the outer seats. Securing the 807is a rolling code transponder, deadlocks, and an ultrasonic alarm to name but a few.
The Peugeot 807 simply does what it says on the can. Itís a full-blown people carrier that is exceptionally comfortable, extremely practical and with the Exceptive model, simply has everything you possible need on board. But like all things, you cannot have everything. The flaw of the 807 is the ride and handling, but in its defence itís not designed to be chucked around corners, its designed to be what it does best Ė a people carrier.
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Jackie Violet, motoring journalist, mother of two and qualified driving instructor reviews cars and outlines issues relevant to working mums and motoring such as safety, entertainment and most of all, comfort!