Peugeot 1007 Hatchback Review: An A-Class by Peugeot

Peugeot 1007 Hatchback Review: An A-Class by Peugeot

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
29 Dec 2006

How much would you pay for an innovative and dramatic concept car? That’s the question that one should ask when evaluating Peugeot’s new 1007 hatchback. It is after all a production version of the highly acclaimed Sesame concept car that was shown at the 2002 Paris Motorshow.

French carmakers, and Peugeot in particular, have a special knack of developing small cars that are both stylish and innovative, and this is evident in the 1007. In many ways the 1007 (pronounced ten-O-seven) is to Peugeot what the original A-Class was to Mercedes-Benz – a radical design that re-evaluates almost every aspect of a compact hatchback.

Firstly, there are those power-operated sliding doors that make up one third the length of the car. Having the doors slide is clever since it allows them to be much longer than normal. Not only can the door be opened in a tight space, this design means access is easier, not for just the driver and front passenger, but also for those sitting in the rear. The fact that the mechanism is automated makes it even more useful, and fun – the doors can be opened (or closed) remotely from the key fob, and this is really useful when one’s hands are full, or when it is raining. It’s also very dramatic, and a great for making an unforgettable entrance at an event or hotel foyer – more so than arriving in a Porsche or Ferrari, even.

The switches for both doors are located near the driver, so it is possible for the driver to open the passenger or kerb-side door without stretching over.

Physically, the 1007 is quite a feat in innovative packaging. At 3731mm, the car is shorter than the 206 by over 100mm, but it is more spacious inside, both in terms of head and legroom. The impressive thing is that Peugeot has managed to do this without resorting to the A-Class’ radical sandwich chassis and canted-over engine layout. Instead, it’s the 307’s twin-cam 1.6-litre that resides underneath the 1007’s stubby bonnet. The cabin itself is completely modular – the two rear seats are individual and can slide back and forth, fold flat or tumble forward. This means the boot capacity ranges from 178 to 364 litres, and this is flexibility is easily achieved by just flipping a few levers. The front passenger seat also folds forward to become a work top desk, and there are even straps to keep things in place – clever, and thoughtful, as well.

Another clever aspect of the 1007 are the interchangeable Cameleo panels that allow owners to choose from 12 different colour schemes. Each set comprises of 18 pieces, and everything is either zipped or Velcro-ed into place. It’s great if you want the change the mood of the cabin, or be fully colour co-ordinated with one’s wardrobe.

One thing that really brightens things up for the 1007 are the glass roof panels. These panels, coupled with the 1007’s higher seating position and large glass area, really gives everyone a good view of the road and everything around, making the car seem even more spacious than it actually is.

As a driving experience, the 1007 is also pleasantly satisfying – as with all Peugeot models, the car’s suspension is beautifully sorted. It rides well for a car on such a short wheelbase, and one never feels that the car is top heavy or unconventionally designed. The steering also feels well-weighed, and it certainly self-centres nicely, unlike the first generation M-B A-Class.

As mentioned earlier, under the bonnet sits the 1.6-litre from the 307, but instead of a conventional manual or automatic transmission, the 1007 gets a 2-Tronic 5-speed semi-automatic transmission. Like Alfa Romeo’s Selespeed, the 2-Tronic is a normal gearbox but with an automated clutch. In default mode, the transmission shifts by itself, and is impressively smooth. The gearchanges are seamless, unlike some other semi-autos, but it is probably better to change down manually for over taking maneuvers. There are also nifty paddles at the steering column to change up and down without taking one’s hands off the steering wheel. In fact, almost everything can be accessed from the steering wheel – using the trip computer and the adjusting the hi-fi are all within fingertip access for the driver.

With a car as radical as the 1007, its difficult to identify its immediate competition. As a concept, the parallels between it and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class are really very similar. Mercedes-Benz has dropped the entry-level A150 from its price-list, so the 1007 is considerably more affordable than the A170. As a trend-setting, life-style statement, it is comparable to the Mini and VW Beetle, and the 1007 is more affordable than either of them. On the other hand, if it is compared to mini-MPVs like the Opel Meriva and Fiat Idea, the French car is a bit pricier.

The thing about the 1007, like the 206 CC, proves that style and drama need not necessarily come with size or price. It is refreshingly innovative in so many areas, yet it is also impressively practical in a daily basis, and it’s got a wonderfully well-sorted nature that Peugeots are famous for.

So how much would you pay for a car that is as radical and innovative as the Peugeot 1007? If you’re considering an Mercedes-Benz A-Class or new Mini, then the 1007 is within your budget.

Credits: Justin Lee

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