The Verdict: Peugeot 207CC

Peugeot's 206CC was a great car - but only women thought so. The tougher, more aggressive 207CC should tempt the lads, says Sean O'Grady


Specifications

Model: Peugeot 207CC
Price: range spans £14,795 to £17,095
Engine: 1.6 petrol
Performance: 129mph, 0-62 in 8.6 sec, 39.2mpg
CO2: 171g/km
Worth considering: Nissan Micra C+C; Vauxhall Tigra

You may remember the Peugeot 206CC. It was cute, pert, stylish and a lot of them are on our roads. It was an incredibly successful car for its makers. Conceived as a narrow, niche product, it soon became Britain's bestselling convertible.

There have been a few mumblings about the reliability of the electric roof mechanism, but there are many happy 206CC owners out there. Seems there was a whole nation just waiting for a little car with four seats and a metal roof that would fold into the boot, origami-style.

The only snagette with the 206CC is that it became known as a "girl's car". Indeed, only 12 per cent of buyers were male, so the common perception of the car's image as being a bit effeminate seems to be borne out by the facts. Peugeot must have enjoyed the "Nicole effect" of being the default fun car of choice for thirtysomething British women, but the company will also be wondering how many sales to chaps they've been missing out on. Hence the 207CC: the Peugeot 206CC after a sex change.

This is a rather tougher looking piece of machinery, and better balanced as well. The boot line is much shorter and the coupé roof line more swooping and aggressive, sort of. The 207CC wears Peugeot's new Ferrari-esque " face" which is also, I think, supposed to look all purposeful and manly but just renders the car a bit too fish-faced for most tastes. On balance, the 206CC was probably prettier, but there again how many hairy-arsed guys are looking for that these days?

The 207CC should also be a better car in other ways. There are some new 1.6 petrol engines, shared with the newest versions of the Mini and developed with BMW, and very punchy they are too. Convertibles such as this 207 often suffer quite a weight penalty thanks to the extra bracing they need to compensate for the loss of the roof's strength and all those electric motors to fold the roof down quickly and efficiently. The 150hp available in the version our readers' panel tried was more than up to compensating for this disadvantage. Our 207CC was brisk enough and displayed admirably tenacious roadholding. As a pseudo-sports car and competitor to the leading " proper" roadster, the Mazda MX-5, the 207CC acquits itself well.

My main problem with the car was the warning lights about rear passengers' seatbelts that never seemed to go off. I also wonder whether its doors, which are extremely wide and heavy, will be able to take the strain in the long run? Let me know in summer 2017, if I'm still here.

Gussy Alamein, 32, media relations officer, Edinburgh

OTHER CAR: FIAT SEICENTO

This convertible has a long list of appealing qualities. Its sexy styling with masculine overtones means it's not just a car for girls. The solid, well-built interior is generously equipped and helps make for a supremely comfortable ride. The top opened and closed at the touch of a button. The car behaved extremely well . However, there were a few niggles. The car is obviously designed with the smaller driver in mind and, as I'm 6ft 3in, my head was right against the roof when the top was on. The two back seats would just about cope with two limbless dwarves. Overall, this was a great driving experience. It would make a fine weekend or summer car.

Roy Alexander, 40, chartered surveyor, Clarkston, Glasgow

OTHER CAR: RENAULT CLIO

If looks are anything to go by, this car should be a winner. It took me no time at all to find a very comfortable driving position and get going. Visibility is excellent, and everything is where you would expect it to be, including a great sound system. The car is quick off the mark, handles well, and sits effortlessly on the motorway with power to spare. Inclement weather meant that I only had the roof down for a short spell, but it was worth it as this car is fun. I had two minor niggles: the lack of space around the back seats and the boot; and the lack of receptiveness of the brake pedal, which seemed to require a lot of effort. Otherwise, it's a great car.

Andrew Allan, 40, police officer, Bonnyrigg, Lothian

OTHER CAR: MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS

Twenty years ago, learning to drive in my brother's Peugeot 205 GTi was a fun introduction to motoring. The 207 CC brought back fond memories. However, this was my first experience of a convertible, and the folding roof was as simple as an electric window. The headroom was also a pleasant surprise. At 6ft 3in, I wasn't sure I would fit in with the roof on, but, thanks to height-adjustable seats, there was no problem. There was no room behind me, but the passenger side took both my wife and my 10-year-old-son. But, while this is a nicely finished, solid-feeling, fun car, for me, suspension this firm no longer feels as enjoyable as it used to.

THE VERDICT

If you would like to take part, e-mail motoring@independent.co.uk or write to: The Verdict, Features Department, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, giving your address, phone number and details of the car, if any, you drive. For most cars, participants must be over 26 and have a clean licence.

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