The 207’s handling, like its cabin, is at once much better than 206 owners may expect, but a bit undistinguished in a wider class context. In town, its electric power steering system allows you to one-finger twirl the wheel into a parking space, suggesting that the same system might feel horrid at speed. In actual fact the wheel firms up nicely. And while there isn’t a lot of feel through the rim, we prefer Peugeot’s solution to electric steering markedly more than what Renault has chosen for the Clio, which feels remote and inert.
As you might expect, the 207 grips well, understeers gently and never does anything that might catch out even an over-enthusiastic teenager recently relieved of his L-plates. But nor, as you may also be suspecting, is there much in the way of fun to be had here. The chassis is poised and the steering accurate, but there’s no sense of being part of the action.
The same can even be said of the range-topping GTi. The car has an underlying dynamic competence, but lacks any lively interactivity or playfulness in its handling. Next to a Clio 197, it’s a decidedly ordinary car to drive.
At least the basic 207 rides fairly impressively; something we’re not always able to say about cars with that cheapest of suspension configurations – the front strut and rear torsion beam. The spring rates are distinctly on the soft side, but well-judged damping checks these. While the body is allowed to move quite a lot in corners and over undulating roads, those movements are well controlled. Only around town, where there’s too much pitter-patter over potholes, are the suspension’s limitations revealed.