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Having recently driven the 2005 Peugeot 307 XS Triptronic, I have to say I’m still quite chaffed and very impressed. As a child I distinctly remember the Peugeot 504 being the police car of choice.

Our test model is blue in colour. Not a shade too dark but not light either. It does look brilliant. It has got that classic Peugeot look that we are all familiar with, the swept back head lights, the gently inclined bonnet and the much steeper windscreen. Considering that this is a 2005 car it doesn’t look aged at all. It in fact looks modern only without the “look at me mum!” daytime running lights LEDS that every other manufacturer has on their cars.

The interior of the Peugeot 307 is very neat and well put together. The plastics immediately speak of quality and feel much more upmarket than even the outgoing Renault Clio. The front seats are sporty and have got good lumbar support and hip support also. They aren’t restrictive though so you don’t feel caged in. The seats are made of clothe and have an intricate pattern on them. The whole interior is black with inserts of polished aluminium here and there on the dash and centre console. The gear lever’s base is littered with buttons all around and one of particular interest to us that has an S printed on top. The one with the ice crystal on top isn’t very useful in South Africa especially if one resides in the Western Cape.

There is a digital display on the dash but the LED display has been worn out by years of parking under the sun so one has to strain to make much use of it. It displays all sorts of things from fuel consumption in litres/100 km to the time to what track you are currently playing on your CD.

The instrument panel is much better aesthetically in comparison to 2005 VW Polo and even the ’05 Honda Civic we just recently tested. The rev-counter is demarcated to 7000 with the red-line at about 6800 revs and the speedometer has the final speed as 210 km/h. The Peugeot 307 XS Triptronic will stop accelerating at 200kph though.

In the driver’s seat one is immediately drawn into a sense of security and absolute control. The steering wheel is reach and height adjustable so no more driving with uncomfortable steering wheel angles. There is a lever behind the steering wheel with which one uses to adjust it. This is very convenient especially if you use different cars quite often. I find that I struggle every time am in a different car to find a sweet spot. But in the Peugeot 307 I am right at ease. It feels to me like being on my favourite couch at home.

However, I feel the hand brake lever is a bit too high and the release button needing of an extra strong thumb to push in. But I’m assuming you’ll get used to that after a while. The gear lever is rather large seeing as this is a four-speed automatic. There is a provision for manual shifts with the car having a Tiptronic setting if one takes the gear lever to the M position. The shape of the gear lever is rather discouraging if one wants to use the shifter as a manual as it’s rather clunky.

As we head out the car is in auto mode all through and the shifts are imperceptible which I find encouraging. Usually with automatic transmissions there always seems to be indecision as the car tries to figure out which gear to be in. This usually results in a horrible engine whine as the car shifts gears rather unpredictably. The Peugeot engineers clearly did a good job as we have none of that here.

This is probably a good time to mention that the Peugeot 307 XS Triptronic  has a 2 litre (1997cc), 16 valve transversely mounted, in-line 4 cylinder engine. This churns out 103 kW of power at 6000 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 4000 rpm. Quite a lot for a car that has a licensing mass of 1293 kg.

There is one big problem though that I can’t quite get away from. In normal driving mode the throttle response of the Peugeot 307 XS Triptronic is rather too slow. This could possibly be the result of the maximum torque coming in at a rather high 4000rpm but I doubt. Usually for cars that are equipped with different driving modes the throttle response depends on engine mapping. With the sport mode selected the throttle response is much crisper, a bit more brutal than normal. A good case in point is the Renault Sport cars. I think the French should confer with one other on their automotive tricks because clearly Peugeot needs a few lessons from Renault on throttle response as It isn’t what it should be. I had my foot nearly all the way down but still the car wouldn’t respond immediately regardless of the urgency of my request. This bothers me especially if you want to make a quick get away. The Peugeot 307 has a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 11.1 seconds. In sport mode the throttle response is improved but still not what it should be. This is rather disappointing considering that you have a possible 200 Nm of torque at the disposal of your right foot. The intent is of course to obliterate anything this side of a Clio Gordini RS which by happenstance has just a mere 15 Nm of torque more.

What about an epic drive, is it any good? Yes it is. The Peugeot 307 XS Triptronic isn’t too big so you can drive about as unobtrusively as possible as you make your clean get away from the CBD. Because of the car’s size you are not worried about weaving in and out of traffic. The brakes I should mention are very good and under perfect driving conditions will bring the car to a standing stop from 100km/h in about 2.88 seconds. ABS comes as standard of course. The fuel type is unleaded and the consumption is ideal ranging from 6.2 l/100km to 11.8 l/100km depending on whether you are driving in town or on the free way. The music player is rather average and doesn’t have an auxiliary port and the sound quality isn’t VW yet. The car comes standard with automatic air con and climate control. The vents are ideally located to deliver cool air on a hot summer’s day to your face.

The boot has a large capacity of 341 litres which is more than enough to carry around a picnic basket and a cooler box for your amazing drive to Franschhoek and back.

Check out the photos of our mini epic drive to Sea Point from Cape town CBD via Kloof Nek.

So, there we have it, the Peugeot 307 xs Tiptronic.

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