The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.5
For decades Peugeot has focused on producing comfortable, well-equipped, affordable family transport, and nowhere is this more evident than with the 407.
Reasons to buy
- Comfortable ride
- Economical diesel engines
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
After the purity of the 406, the Peugeot 407 is somewhat brutal, but it’s far from ugly. The car’s silhouette works well whatever the body style, with the coupé looking especially good. If there’s one point that jars in the eyes of many, it’s the gaping grille, but other than this there’s nothing controversial about the 407’s design.
What's the interior like?
Your heart is unlikely to skip a beat when you climb into the 407’s cabin, but it’s not a bad place to spend hour after hour thanks to the amount of standard equipment, the space and also the decent ergonomics. The seats are comfortable and supportive with reasonable amounts of leg room front and rear – and nobody should find the head room lacking either. The design is pretty good too; gone are the days when family motoring was synonymous with humdrum. Peugeot’s design team has introduced a host of ways to brighten up the 407’s interior, with plenty of bright trim, a large multimedia screen at the top of the centre console and clear instrumentation that’s easy to read at a glance.
How practical is it?
It’s a shame that Peugeot doesn’t offer the 407 in hatchback form, because this is the body style of choice for most Brits. However, the saloon offers reasonable practicality with 407 litres of luggage space. This is some way behind rivals including the Ford Mondeo, which has a 535-litre boot.
What's it like to drive?
While Peugeots have always been biased towards an ultra-cossetting ride at the expense of some handling sharpness, the 407 shifts the balance a little. It’s still more comfortable than many rivals, but there’s an edge to the ride which the 407’s predecessors didn’t have. This is no bad thing though, because the car still rides very well on the UK’s badly scarred roads, yet it handles decently too. It’s not sharp enough to scare the Mondeo, but that car doesn’t enjoy the suppleness of the Peugeot – so if comfort is top priority, this could be just the car.
How powerful is it?
There are plenty of engines to choose from. As tested here, the 2.2HDi is the best all-round unit if you want strong performance with manageable running costs. The twin-turbo engine, developed in conjunction with Ford, offers significantly more power and torque (168bhp and 277lb ft respectively) than the 2-litre HDi (138bhp and 250lb ft), with much greater flexibility and hardly any fuel consumption penalty (45.5mpg against 47mpg).
How much will it cost me?
As with most volume cars, the biggest cost of running a 407 is the massive depreciation; let someone else take the hit and you’re laughing. Get your 407 at the right price and the rest of the running costs shouldn’t prove too steep. The 1.6-litre HDi is the engine to go for if economy is your key priority; it’s also a sweet unit that revs happily but predictably doesn’t offer especially stirring performance. This engine will officially return just over 50mpg, which isn’t much more than the 2-litre HDi or the 2.2-litre HDi. Other running costs are also reasonably manageable, with servicing required every two years or 20,000 miles, apart from the 1.6-litre HDi, in which case the latter figure is every 12,500 miles.
How reliable is it?
You don’t have to spend much money to buy a family car that’s got a good reputation for reliability – which can be a bit of a problem for Peugeot because most of its recent cars can suffer from all sorts of niggling faults. Unfortunately, that includes the 407 in its various guises. For example, diesel 407s with a six-speed automatic gearbox can cut out for no apparent reason; it’s down to a faulty electronic control unit. Also, warnings of ABS and ESP faults can be down to faulty sensors or genuine problems, but it can also be because a wheelbearing needs replacing. Clutches tend to be short-lived because the release bearing isn’t up to the job, while clonks from the front usually indicate excessive wear in the front suspension ball joints. The central dash display can also fail, and the electrical management system can play up, leading to constant warnings about faulty bulbs, malfunctioning ABS, incorrect tyre pressures and more.
How safe is it?
This is a strong card for the 407, thanks to a raft of standard-fit safety kit plus a strong bodyshell that’s enabled a five-star EuroNCAP crash test score to be notched up. Not only is ESP standard on all 407s, but so too are driver, passenger, side, curtain and steering column airbags.
How much equipment do I get?
This is another area in which the 407 scores highly – and especially since its 2009 model year facelift. There was already a lot of standard equipment for all 407s, but the mid-life refresh increased the kit count further. All 407s get remote central locking, powered windows all round, climate control and an ultrasonic alarm as standard, but we’d suggest you jump to the high-value SE models for much more standard equipment such as alloy wheels, a multimedia system with sat-nav, parking sensors all round and dual-zone climate control.
As an overall package, the 407 is very enticing, despite the spectre of iffy reliability. Comfort, safety, space and equipment comes as standard with all 407s. It would be daft not to at least consider a 407.