Test: Peugeot 307 XS
By Damien Tomlinson - 26/Apr/2006
an interesting company. Their cars have been around for ages, you
rarely hear anything negative about the range’s reliability, the
cars are reasonably priced and the quality is typically European. But
Peugeot is and always has been a niche brand, a French company
competing on the world stage, seemingly without a care for what the
others are doing, with a select few models in each segment.
hadn’t driven a Pug before, but as I’d seen more and more
of them around the place, my interest was piqued to the point where I
jumped at the chance to shoehorn my sizable frame into one for a week.
While I’m more acclimatised to the luxurious surrounds of the
top-of-the-range models of whatever I review, it was refreshing to
steer an “everyman” model for a change.
The 307 on
test, the XS, was the “Series II” version - Peugeot’s
mid-life update on a model that’s been around for several years.
The “new” 307 gains a corporate face more akin to the
gorgeous 407, bigger
headlights, front fogs as standard, dual-zone climate control, cruise
control with speed limiter and many other subtle, mainly cosmetic,
While this is not designed to be an exciting
car per se, Peugeot has done a good job on sexing up the 307 with
relatively minor modifications; it’s an attractive car. Not
Alfa-Romeo-Brera sexy, but easy on the eye, in a
not-another-Excel-or-Corolla way. The French have gone out of their way
to try and offer buyers something a little different in the small-car
segment, and I reckon it works pretty well.
detailed specs on the Peugeot 307 range.
Model: 307 XS
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Engine: 1.6-litre, inline
Safety: 6 airbags (driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags), ABS,
Peugeot's 307 SX features a rather
economic 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder engine
and has a certain stylishness to boot
The new 'do' on the 307 really brings it closer, design-wise, to the
407, and the restyled front end gives the car a basking-shark-like
appearance with its huge mouth, which splits the bumper into two pieces.
As I said, the XS is Peugeot’s entry-level model in the 307 series,
which is one category above the teeny 206, and because it’s not trying to match
it with the hot hatches on the market, I was quite surprised by the zip
factor of the little beast.
The XS produces 80kW @ 5800rpm and
147Nm of torque @ 4000rpm, translating to a 0-100km/h sprint of
10.7 seconds and a standing kilometre in the low 30s. Not outstanding
figures, but the Pug feels a lot zippier than it is, and tops out at 190km/h in fifth gear.
inner-city warrior performs its intended function with aplomb; it
happily cruises through stop-go traffic, takes on supermarket car parks
with ease and keeps a smile on your face at the same time.
there was a complaint I had with the 307’s driving performance, it
would be its transmission and clutch. The shifter wallowed around the
ratios and, due to the high-riding seating position, I found I was
reaching a long way for the shifter, and regularly had trouble finding
second gear when I was in a hurry.
I also found the clutch had a
very late take-up, and didn’t provide a lot of feel through the pedal.
This meant I found it hard to find the take-up point at first, hurting
the confidence for non-handbrake hill starts.
That said, a
friend of mine who has just shelled out for one of these reports
neither of these problems, so it may have just been a toll of the
journo abuse in my example. Nonetheless, lowering the seat height would
take care of the reaching problem, but I prefer to sit high over the
wheel, so this created some headaches for me.
Not sure about the
clutch, but by the end of the week I was a dab hand. Perhaps, like any
car, getting completely used to the clutch may take a little longer
than a week.
One of the big things that’s happening in the world
of small cars is that manufacturers are under increasing pressure from
the fossil-fuels-sensitive buying public to “entice” them into the
smaller cars by including features and options previously unseen in
entry-level cars. This is great news for buyers, because the
bog-standard 307 XS I drove had a plush (cloth) trim, a 6-speaker
Clarion sound system, a funky heads-up display (HUD) to broadcast all sorts
of important system information, date, temperature etc, one-touch power
windows and cruise control, among other gadgetry, including airbags
Safety is obviously a big deal for Peugeot. I
took great delight in showing off the car’s new plastic panels. The
impact-absorbing materials used in modern bumpers have been applied to
the car’s front-quarter panels, minimising damage in low-speed impacts.
The demonstration saw me sink a knee into a wheel well, to the horror
of the target on-looker. Great fun.
As far as accommodation
goes, the Pug is surprisingly roomy. Because of the upright seating
position, Peugeot has created a lot of room to hide the engine under
the steep and short bonnet. This, combining with a raked, large
windscreen, translates to what appears to be a huge dashboard and an
airy cabin. I had the pleasure of carting four adults to a function in
the little 307, and all remarked on the space inside. Top marks.
Engine: Peugeot 1.6-litre inline 4-cylinder
transversely mounted 1587cc L4 engine
features 4-valves per cylinder actuated by dual overhead
camshafts (DOHC). The engine block is cast-iron, the cylinder heads are
aluminium alloy and the
compression ratio is a heady 10.8:1 The 307 XS with the 1.6-litre
gasoline engine is fitted with a 60 litre fuel tank and
will accept 95 RON and higher grades offuel.
Fuel Consumption: 7.4L/100km (combined cycle)
Max Power: 80kW @ 5800rpm
Max Torque: 147Nm @ 4000rpm
0-100km/h: 10.7 seconds
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Peugeot’s reputation for
quality with a few interesting quirks held true. Here is a car that is
helping the Aussie small-car market finally push through the buzz-box
pigeonhole, showing the Toyotas, Hyundais and Nissans of the world that
small and affordable doesn’t have to mean “cheap”. It's
got a style all its own that should outlast many of
its aforementioned rivals as time wears on, and with its
impressive complement of airbags
and other touches like the HUD and Clarion stereo, the $25k Pug is a very well-equipped, well-built small car that makes a very good impression.
- Good Value
- Standard Equipment
- Surprisingly Quick
- Focus on Safety
- Mushy Transmission
- Seating Position
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