Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Test Drive - Peugeot 207 Rally 1.6THP 150 Review

What a brilliant way of selling the 207!
I've tested the 2009 207 rally (Portuguese edition) and I really loved it. By that time I was quite used to it's brother the 207 1.6Hdi sport, so switching to this was very refreshing and a true recognition of what I was suspecting from the other peugeot.
Where the other peugeot seemed too high and clumsy, this seems glued to the ground and very agile. The engine is another good thing, the hdi just doesn't have the punch for this chassis, but this?!this turns the car into a real rocket.

It's a fun car to have. It's so honest that it even has 4 seats (instead of the 5claimmed seats you'll find on the hdi).
It's 1.6 Petrol High Pressure Turbo with direct fuel injection is just a ball. It's the same engine from the mini and it's a clear BMW/PSA joint venture with a lot of technology very well thought out. It's elastic and very alive.
It's 150Bhp feel strong ans solid, making the car feel a lot lighter than the hdi 207.
Again, in this car you'll find a 5 speed gearbox. As expected it's high quality and very precise, but the brilliant engine and the car's dynamics will make you want to have another gear. It's easy to reach ignition cut-out in 5th and if there was a 6th gear, the car would be a lot more flexible. I wouldn't even change the 5 first gears ratios, witch are quite perfect...just add a 6th.

The chassis is very competent and (the best thing) tail happy. Lift-off over-steer on demand with a natural and composed let-go and re-grip. Even while driving hard on a bumpy road, it will grab the front and loose the rear. Clearly signed by Peugeot/Citroen and it's competitive heritage.
Unlike the standard 207, this doesn't feel like a minivan... it's much more agile and the confidence level allows you to explore further than the standard car.
It's a car you can unsettle, drift into a corner with inertia and chassis composure, and pull it out under acceleration. The thp is fast and responsive enough to allow acceleration "steering". This car reminds me of the Mk2 Honda civic Type-r with it's EP3 chassis - it's close to the minivan looks of it's brothers but still much more agile and composed.

A bad thing on this car was the original tire choice (Pzero's). I reckon that a decent set of tires would allow for a better handling in both dry and wet.

The steering is precise but could have a smaller wheel with heavier feel. It's feed back is improved from the standard 207, but the big wheel spoils things a bit.

The pedals are a bit too soft, but the gearbox operation has just the right weigh.

The driving position is good and the standard bucket seats are a wonder. Both comfortable and with excellent lateral holding and support. Probably the best off the line seat I've seen in an peugeot.

The build quality is far better than the 2007 hdi 207. It's clear that peugeot are implementing the plan-do-check-act.

Overall I give this car a very good rating. Something to buy and hold on to as it's a limited series edition. I would probably spend some money down the line fitting a quaife 6speed sequential gearbox and an LSD, but that's it, it's brilliant enough from factory.