Car Confessional: Peugeot 1007

Car Confessional: Peugeot 1007

We all have guilty secrets. A few skeletons in the cupboard. Some embarrassing facts that are best left in the head. Nothing too sinister of course, just the kind of information that can taint an otherwise blemish-free record. 

But guilty secrets within petrolhead circles, surely not? Well if PetrolBlog is anything to go by, the automotive world is rife with naughty pleasures that are best left in the closest. But just occasionally they need to be let out into the open. Step forward the Car Confessional. A problem shared is a problem greeted with universal mocking and hilarity.

It’s been a while since the doors to PetrolBlog’s Car Confessional have been opened. Over two years ago in fact, when I admitted a love for the original Skoda Superb, Ford Probe, Proton Satria GTi and Smart Roadster. I seemed to get away with these confessions. Nobody turned up at the front door to take my petrolhead badge away and PetrolBlog wasn’t shut down for crimes against taste and common sense. But with this new confession, I fear I may be alone. Set adrift into an ocean of loneliness. Perched on an island forever, left to ponder the consequences of my outburst.

You see, I have a thing for the Peugeot 1007.

Blue Peugeot 1007

Hang on, before you click the close button, at least hear me out on this.

Yes, the Peugeot 1007 has its faults. With the exception of the 1.6 HDi, it’s painfully slow and not all that great to drive either. Superminis are meant to zip around the tight city streets with zest and verve, but the 1007 tends to mope around like a depressed teenager. What’s more, it was hideously overpriced when new, with its more conventional rivals representing much better value for money. Just two years after it went on sale, it was being discounted by as much as a third of its list price. Ouch.

Peugeot seemed to make a big thing about the fact that the 1007 was better for cyclists, as it cut down on the chances of a bike careering into the side of an open door. I’m not convinced by this, surely it just means they’ll career into a person instead? And by my reckoning, the chap in the 1007 is one step ahead of his twin brother in the Corolla as he actually looks behind him before exiting the car. It’s driver education, see. Nothing to do with the doors.

Peugeot 1007, Toyota Corrola and a cyclist

So it’s slow, heavy, not particularly good to drive and has a look which is, let’s just say, more challenging than your average city car. But you know what, none of this really matters, as I really quite fancy one.

The Peugeot 1007 represented a number of firsts in the automotive world. For example, it was the first small car in Europe to feature electric sliding doors. At the time, it also received the highest ever Euro NCAP score ever awarded to a supermini. It was also the first ever Peugeot to have two zeroes in its name. But this caused a stir in 2004, with the 1007 being the first and probably only car to upset James Bond. You see, you weren’t supposed to call it the one-double-o-seven. It had to be referred to as the one-thousand-and-seven, or ten-o-seven. Ridiculous. Do you expect me to talk? No Mr Peugeot, I expect you to settle this without the need for legal representation.

There’s just something about the 1007 I like. In bright colours, such as yellow, orange or bright green, it just looks so refreshing. Unconventional for sure, but the side profile and rear-end just seem to work. I like the way the runner for the sliding door extends around the back and cuts through the centre of the triangular lights and side windows to create an arrow effect. I also like its neat proportions and the fact that it looks unlike anything else on the road.

Yellow Peugeot 1007 with sliding doors open

Sadly it never quite looked as good as the Sésame concept unveiled at the Paris Motor Show exactly ten years ago this week. And for those of you who laugh at Peugeot for bringing such a sales flop to market, you need to remember that it received almost unanimous support when the concept was first shown. Just goes to show, the public isn’t always right.

Peugeot Sésame Concept from Paris 2002

It’s also a shame that we never got to see the 1007 RC concept unveiled a couple of years later. With a 1.6 16v DOHC engine producing 140bhp, it could have been quite an interesting production car. To my eyes, it looks rather good with the black paintwork and 18″ alloy wheels. But having been underwhelmed by the production version of the 1007, the public weren’t going to give the RC the same reception they gave to the Sésame. Once bitten, etc, etc.

Peugeot 1007 RC Concept

Today, the 1007 could be yours for as little as £2k, so the price is no longer an issue. Even the base spec cars are well equipped and if you get yourself one with the full length sunroof, the interior feels incredibly light and airy. What’s more, the 1.6 HDi version can achieve fuel economy figures of up to 60mpg, so is clearly the one to go for.

Despite the perceived failure of the 1007, there are still 7,500 on the roads of Britain, so you can afford to be choosy. If nothing else, you need to make sure the sliding doors are in full working order, as the 1007 is pretty useless if they’re stuck open or closed. That said, I quite like the idea of driving around town with both the doors open. Illegal and dangerous, much?

My fondness of the 1007 is purely irrational and it’s unlikely that I’ll ever spend my own cash on one. But this is PetrolBlog and we’ll always champion the interesting, the obscure and the mundane. The Peugeot 1007 just so happens to fit neatly into all three categories.

Three Peugeot 1007s

More Car Confessionals coming soon. If you have a guilty pleasure you want to share, remember you’re amongst friends here. Drop us a line at the usual address and we’ll feature your sordid little secret. We promise not to laugh. Honest.

In the meantime, check out these commercials for the Peugeot 1007. You may remember the ad seen in the UK, but for some reason I prefer the Italian version. No idea why.


Written by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

The chief waffler and person responsible for getting PetrolBlog off the ground in February 2010. Has a deep fascination of cars from the '80s and '90s, especially if they originate from France. Also likes tea and Hobnobs.

25 Comments

  1. Graeme Thomas

    I remember my Gran used to have one of these,the electric doors wouldnt open after a trip to the local supermarket,she left the lights on.!! but she was to weak to open the extremely heavy doors manually,all hail the mighty AA.,she refused to drive after that.!!

    1. Gavin Braithwaite-Smith

      Ha! Electric doors – great in principle, bad in the real world!

      Half of the problem for the 1007 is that it failed to attract the younger audience it so desired. Older people like your Gran tended to go for them. In fact, most of the 1007s I see today are driven by older people.

      They’d make for a good one-make race series, don’t you think. Only one rule – you have to compete with both doors open.

  2. Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

    There are very few cars in which I can see no appeal whatsoever, but the Peugeot 1007 is one such car (a few of the others are also late-90s early-00s Peugeots, coincidentally)… I suppose it gets points for not being *totally* bland thanks to those sliding doors, but other than that I think I’d prefer pretty much any other supermini ever produced!

  3. willp1987

    Gav, you are not alone on this one! Years ago when these came out I knew someone who worked for Peugeot and drove 1007 around, and I thought it was utterly ridiculous! Now, a few years on, I find it strangely appealing, it’s just such an odd little machine but ultimately I don’t think it is actually a bad looking car! For me the appeal is the rarity of it, I love cars that you just don’t see around and I very very rarely see these (except for when I was in Tesco a few weeks ago and saw two parked next to each other!).

    1. Antony Ingram (@antonyingram)

      While normally, rarity is something that appeals to me, driving around in a Peugeot 1007 would be a bit like wandering around with a “rare” disease eating the flesh from your face…

      In fact, this could be an addition to the PetrolBlog used car lingo guide. “Rare” doesn’t just refer to cars that aren’t really rare, but also genuine cars that are rare because they were so tragic when brand new that few people ever bought them ;)

      1. willp1987

        Whilst that response made me laugh quite a bit, I still reckon the 1007 could be enormous fun and I wouldn’t tire of the sliding doors! Just wait, once this one make race series that Gav is organising gets off the ground they will become ultra-desirable overnight ;)! Also, Antony, remember you were talking about odd cars to take on track, I think it could be rather amusing to try and get one of these round a track quickly without it falling over :)

  4. aldoliddell

    You’ve taken it too far this time! Been talked round before but sorry just cant see anything good about these! Will have a think and let you know my guilty car like. It take a good bit of thinking when you have a Montego!

    Meanwhile I have arranged for someone to be at your front door 9am tomorrow to take back your petrolhead badge…

  5. Simon Hingston

    Now if those doors opened with a suitable Star Trek doors noise that would be a start. Also if they opened (and even more daringly closed) really, REALLY quickly that could be fun. Final also at least it’s tall enough to allow the wearing of a nice top hat or Stetson (I know that’s really a brand not a type of hat) while you saunter around town.
    As an aside can we find out the statute that allowed those delivery vans the Royal Mail used to use (Sherpa’s then LDV’s?) to have open sliding doors then we could have street races.

  6. aldoliddell

    I remember Viz comic years ago having a feature where you had to admit the ugliest celebrity that you would… called Borderline Boilers! Maybe we should name the worst/ugliest car we would drive if needs must? Its probably the Talbot Solara for me!

  7. John Humphreys

    In January 2006 I ordered my Peugot 1007 1.6 sport. It fits neatly into my small garage (no need for much space to open car doors). Buzzes along the motorway happily at 70 mph with power to spare. Within the cabin there is climate control and the most comfortable seats we have found so no back aches after long journeys. Car parking sensors make parking easy. Gears can be changed automatically, or with a gear lever or column mounted paddles. My built in GPS guides me to my destination and provides me with local information. Three computer programmes monitor my journey (distance, fuel, etc). Radio, cd and built in telephone can all be controlled via speech recognition, and so the list goes on. I have had door problems (down to a faulty activator -changed for £120 by the main dealer). Had it continued in production for another year the problems with doors which have caused so much criticism would have been fixed. After six years people marvel at the doors and the room inside and it looks as good as when we bought it.
    I was 69 years old and my wife 73 when we bought the car and we hope to keep it for a few more years yet – there is nothing to compare with it. Don’t knock this car – it was ahead of time and given very bad press by people unable to appreciate it.

  8. desmodromic900

    Well done Gavin for being brave enough to risk the derision of those who hide behind their ridicule! I’m a petrolhead (Fiat 1500 Cabrio(look it up), 124 Sport Coupe, several X-19s, several 205GTi’s, Escort RS Turbo, Volvo T5R (tuned), XJ-R, TVR Griffith, F-150 Lightning, Discovery 3 TDV6) and to go with the Disco needed a small, used town car. I always buy with my head and chose a 1007 over a Hyundai i10, Skoda Fabia, Mazda 2, Suzuki Alto and Smart car. Why? well i’d always found the looks quite chunky & funky but it was the combination of internal space, flexibility, trim quality and value for money that clinched it – a 4yr old highly-specced base model, 4500 mile, effectively new car with main dealer warranty for under £3500…the UK reputation of being for retired and handicapped buyers, coupled with the doors’ poor reputation for reliability and an elevated price new is what killed sales. But it was a success in France where it appealed to the full range of buyers, young as well as older and sold well enough.
    Almost 3 years later I’ve not regretted the choice as the pros outweigh the cons in everyday use – the doors whilst over-sophisticated and heavy (poorer consumption than you’d hope at 35-45mpg) are very livable (just press key fob to open at distance and again to close without using hands so you can jump in quickly in the rain. ‘Only’ a 4 seater but that’s because rear seats are independent and sliding so very flexible (and all seats very comfortabke for some reason). Not only under 3.7m long but high roof (I’m 6ft) and no B posts give airy, spacious accomodation with no less than 8 airbags (hence NCAP rating). Good equipment spec even on base model. Slow to accelerate but so what nowadays? Poor gear ratios on base 1.4 model mean hilly towns can be difficult/tiresome (big torque gap between 1st and 2nd is a problem) but motorway cruising all day is not noisy/tiring. I even regularly pull a large trailer (but have to observe max towing limit of 900kgs) across northern France (tho it won’t do more than 60mph!). Finally, road tax is higher than you want for a small car due engine emissions. Lots of people comment positively on its looks – only one has said the short, high and narrow dimensions do not work. Rear view is clean and modern (transparent lenses), front is aerodynamically pleasing. Full window tinting helps the style a lot as usual. Sorry to ramble but as usual the criticisms come from those who haven’t tried for themselves. At the end of the day, it’s an overall positive – and different – experience at a bargain price.

      1. desmodromic900

        It’s not particularly different or special during a test drive as I remember, although you do certainly notice the feeling of space, and good ergonomics (inc radio on steering column stalk, window buttons on central console (not door!), and forward side windows being IMHO perfect for discreet GPS attachment) but having bought it for VFM reasons I’m surprised to find it still growing on me – this morning for instance I came out of the boulangerie with arms full, pressed the keyfob as I approached the car and just tipped the baguettes onto the passenger floor then opened the driver’s door whilst at same time closing passenger door – all remotely with the fob. It helps to be a geek to get the best out of it!

  9. Jonathan

    I don’t know what I’d do without my 1.4hdi 1007 – at 6’4″ the only alternatives are things like a Renault Kangoo and the like. Agree the colours are gorgeous. During the summer months I can easily get 80mpg on a run, but it overcools in the winter so you’re down to 43mpg in the coldest periods. As someone who in a nippier car is liable to let my temper and impatience get me into difficulty, the slowness of the thing is a positive safety feature! Doors have been problematic – you need to find a dealer with one or more ‘master engineers/technicians’ with experience on these, I’ve heard cases of people being charged for fixes which don’t fix: the expertise often isn’t there. A mate on the 1007 Facebook forum (to which you are all welcome), retired mechanical engineer Jim Butterworth has written a guide to fixing the doors on his website, which is at http://jimbutterworth.co.uk/5pugdoors.htm and which everyone owning one of these cars will eventually need to look at as the actuators in the doors (part price £40, can be fitted diy) will go every five years or so and need to be replaced.

  10. Neil

    I love my little 1007, I saw it on topgear back in 2005 and when the doors opened I thought “I’m getting me one of those”.

    The one i’d love to own is the RC version, anyone know who does own it…..I want it.

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