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Unchartered territory

PUBLISHED: 11:01 09 November 2007 | UPDATED: 14:55 20 February 2013

A 4X4 with a certain je ne sais quoi...

A 4X4 with a certain je ne sais quoi...

A 4x4 with a certain je ne sais quoi.... Pizazz? Andy Enright reports...

Hampshire Life, October 2007

Quite why it's taken the French this long to twig that building a compact 4x4 might just be a lucrative exercise is open to question. That's all changing now as a wave of French 4x4s appear on our shores, spearheaded by the Peugeot 4007, a car with a front end they'll see coming from the white cliffs of Dover without having to put 20p in the telescope.

Peugeot started the big grille thing with the 407 and has since started to smear it across most of their product range. There's certainly no mistaking it on this car and aesthetic opinion may be divided this time round. Still, there's no mistaking the fact that the 4007 has presence. It's not a car you'll overlook in a sea of lookalike 4x4s in the Waitrose car park.

Prices start at £22,790 for the SE model or you could opt to pay £25,490 for the GT flagship: both come powered by the same 2.2-litre HDi diesel engine. This unit will generate 156bhp and 280lb/ft on torque and is even capable of running on a 30 per cent mixture of diesel biofuel without resort to modification. The engine has been modified from that found in the 407 saloon range to offer additional lugging power but much of the basic architecture is the same - which is no bad thing. Optimised for on-road use, the all-wheel drive system is enough to maximise traction on slippery roads and muddy tracks, although those looking to tackle more arduous terrain would be best served looking for a vehicle with a proper low-range transfer case and a little more in the way of overall ground clearance. The 4007's 'on-demand' 4WD system enables the driver to select three modes of drive while on the move. First is 'Permanent 2WD', intended for normal tarmac use, with all power directed to the front wheels.

In 'Automatic 4WD', engine torque is delivered automatically to wheels that require the most traction at any time. Should you find yourself in a sticky situation, however, you might need to select 'Permanent 4WD'. This set-up splits torque 50:50 between front and rear wheels. The idea of all this technology is to give the 4007 what Peugeot call 'the best of both worlds', enabling it to tackle reasonably rough terrain, yet still provide acceptable on-road dynamic behaviour and competitive fuel economy.

In so many ways, having absolutely no pedigree in this market could count for quite a bit. Buy a Jeep or a Land Rover and you're a proper 4x4 customer. Buy a Peugeot and you've shifted the philosophical goalposts a small and crucial amount. It comes with no historical baggage and with its diesel particulate filter system and thrifty engine, it's got a leg up in the environmental stakes, an increasingly crucial part of this sector. As a 4x4 that's really hard to victimise, the 4007 has a lot to be said for it. Let's just say it's fashionably late to the party.

Facts at a glance:
Car: Peugeot 4007 range
Price: £22.790-£25,490 - on the road
Insurance group: 12 (estimate)
CO2 emissions: 191-194g/km
Performance: Max Speed 129mph;
0-60mph 10.5s (estimate)
Fuel consumption: (16" wheels)
(urban) 29.7mpg / (extra urban) 47.8mpg / (combined) 39.2mpg
Standard safety features: Twin front and side airbags, ABS, ESP

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