Car Test   R0337
 
May 2003
First Drive Peugeot 307 Estate
Printer Friendly Page Featured model: 1.4HDi LX
Load-lugging 307s come in two guises: there’s the SW, which is an up-to-seven-seater estate with MPV pretensions (its back seats can be removed), and there’s this one, which is a straightforward five-seater estate with conventional seat folding.
  
   Both share the same body, that’s 22cm longer than the hatchback’s and boasts a 10cm-longer wheelbase. The result, at the tradesmen’s entrance beyond the high-lifting tailgate, is a carpet-clad cavern with flat-sided wheelarches making it practically cubic. Folding the 60/40 divided backrests and unclipping the cushions (if necessary) doubles the deck length. The floor is low so loading is easy, and minimal luggage disturbance is required should you need to lower the (grubby) underslung spare wheel. Sensible plastic cladding protects the rear bumper’s paintwork, but the concertina-style luggage cover isn’t ideal.
  
   There’s a wide choice of engines for the estate; this eight-valve 1.4 turbo-diesel is the smallest and least powerful – and it shows. The words pull, skin and rice pudding come to mind as you wait for the tacho needle to reach 2000rpm. At this point, there’s a mild stirring from the boiler room and speed steadily rises, but by 4800 it’s run out of steam. It’s a good job that the slick shift makes gearchanging no hardship. Actually, though, apart from its woeful lack of lustre – particularly with a full house – it’s a delightful little engine that’s smooth and quiet; in fact, it’s almost inaudible on a motorway. But why Peugeot doesn’t offer the more powerful
16-valve/92bhp version (as fitted to the relative-by-marriage Citroen C3) is a mystery.
  
   We’ve no criticism of the estate’s nicely weighted steering or its relatively wieldy and remarkably roll-resistant cornering prowess. The ride, too, though not especially supple, is adequately compliant for much of the time, and proves less jittery than the hatchback’s, thanks most likely to the extra weight, longer wheelbase and 65-Series tyres. The brake response remains a little too light, however.
  
   Both front seats on the LX have inboard armrests and ratchet-type height adjusters, but annoyingly, the higher you sit, the less thigh support you get. Otherwise, we like the driving position. The wheel is adjustable for reach and rake and the switchgear and controls are sensibly sited, although the heater controls are rather low. Generous window space aids all-round vision and takes the guesswork out of reversing, so the optional rear parking sensors aren’t essential.
  
   There isn’t a surfeit of rear knee space or legroom, but the backrests are comfortably angled and shaped for two (although a third passenger doesn’t fare too badly), and there’s lots of foot space and plenty of headroom for all.
  
AT A GLANCE
  considering size, price and rivals
Controls/displays
Handling/steering
Comfort
Space/practicality
Safety Euro NCAP
Security, theft of
theft from
LIKES ...
  • curtain airbags standard
  • dent-resistant plastic front wings
  • rear head restraints lower well into seatbacks
  • clear central cluster of warning lights
  • lots of cubby holes, trays, drawers and pockets
and GRIPES
  • information display illegible in bright light
  • fuel guage won't register more than 3/4 full
  • unwiped strip alongside driver's screen pillar
  • no left footrest
  • speedometer calibrations inadequate
VERDICT
We’ve got a soft spot for the 307 estate; it’s sensibly sized, comfortable and practical – a good all-rounder, in fact. But 70bhp in such a sizeable cargo carrier doesn’t go far. This 1.4 diesel is a super little engine, but it’s trying to punch well above its weight in this application. If you’re not in a hurry to go places, you’ll enjoy its affable nature and delightfully quiet cruising, but if you want a decent turn of speed and indulge in serious load carrying, look to 1.6-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel power.


BRIEF SPECIFICATION
engine 1398cc, 4-cylinder turbo-diesel; 70bhp at 4000rpm, 120lb ft at 2000rpm; belt-driven single overhead camshaft, 8 valves
drive front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual; 25.9mph/1000rpm in 5th
suspension front: independent coil spring/damper struts, anti-roll bar
rear: torsion beam axle with trailing links, coil springs, anti-roll bar
wheels/tyres 6in steel with 195/65R15T tyres (Continental on test car)
brakes ventilated discs front, solid discs rear with standard brake assist/ABS and EBD
0-62mph* 16.5sec
official mpg# 49.6/67.2/60.1
maximum speed 97mph
AA overall mpg 50.0miles
CO2 emissions 124g/km
* maker's figures  # urban/extra urban/combined

THE 307 RANGE
size and type lower-medium (mid-priced) hatchback and estate   trim levels Style, LX, Rapier
engines petrol: 4 cylinder/1.4 litre/75bhp, 4/1.6/110, 4/2.0/139
diesel: 4/1.4/70, 4/2.0/90, 4/2.0/110
  drive front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual; 4-speed stepped automatic (with manual sequential option) available on 1.6 plus 2.0 petrol (hatchbacks only)


SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
  in centimetres (4-door estate car)
  outside
  length 442
  width - including mirrors 200
    - mirrors folded 179
  height (inc roof bars) 155
  load sill height (inside/outside) 2/52
  steering
  turns lock-to-lock 2.9
  turning circle (metres) 11.0
   
  easy to park/garage?
  inside
  front - legroom 83-106
    - headroom 96-105§
  rear - typical legroom 93
    - typical kneeroom 69
    - headroom 100
    - hiproom 133
  load area(all seats in use)
  load space
(litres/cu ft)
495/17.5
  load length 93/164/180~
  load length to facia 267
  load width 101-141
  load height (to blind/top of aperture) 50/89
§ no sunroof  ~ normal/rear seat folded/rear cushions removed
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