Latest Jeremy Clarkson column/rant (some 407 content)
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    nJm
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    Icon10 Latest Jeremy Clarkson column/rant (some 407 content)

    I was reading through The Times today and came across Jeremy's latest rant. I thought it would provide some entertainment, it certainly helped me through my lunch break at work

    Peugeot 407 SW
    by Jeremy Clarkson of The Sunday Times
    Go on, break down in style

    So, what do you think is the most important and influential car ever to be sold in Britain? The Lamborghini Miura? The Model T Ford? Or the Volkswagen Golf GTI perhaps? You could make a fairly rock-solid case for the old Volvo 200 series, the first cars to be sold on safety. But then you could also argue it was the CitroŽn DS, or the E-type Jaguar or the Mini. The answer, however, and Iíll take no argument on this, is the Datsun Sunny.

    There are those who say the Japanese never innovate. That all they do is take western ideas and make them more cheaply, and faster. But actually, when it comes to cars, the Japanese motor industry came up with the greatest innovation of them all. Until the nondescript little Datsun arrived on our shores in 1969 there was a general consensus that cars were bound to break down every time it was too hot, too cold, too windy or too wet.

    On a chilly November morning the whole country would echo to the sound of tortured Ford starter motors and clicking Lucas solenoids hopelessly trying to breathe a little life into the nationís engines.

    Cars were made up of 15,000 parts and it was inevitable that from time to time some of those parts would stop working. But then along came the Datsun, which demonstrated that actually this neednít necessarily be so. It worked even when the weather had broken down completely. And it kept on working, faultlessly, for year after year after year.

    Of course there were many people who refused to take Japanese cars seriously, because only 25 years earlier the people who were making them had put Alec Guinness in a box. But why is there still resistance today? Why do you buy a Volkswagen or a Ford or an Alfa Romeo when you know damn well it wonít be as reliable as a Toyota or a Subaru or a Honda? Would you buy a deep freeze if you knew, with a fair degree of certainty, that it would spend its evenings turning your bread into bacteria? Would you buy a television set if every single piece of market research and every single survey had found that it kept going all fuzzy. No, of course you wouldnít.

    But, and this is the weird part, you would buy a watch and be happy with it even if it lost an hour a day and the strap kept breaking. And I know you bought a mobile phone that doesnít work every time you go behind a tree. And actually, come to think of it, I bet half of you have plasma television sets that ceased to function after a year or so.

    You knew that was going to happen. Youíd been told by newspaper reports and friends but you went ahead anyway and spent thousands on something that you knew would break about seven minutes after the guarantee ran out.

    Why? Because a plasma television set looks as cool as your snap-shut, brushed-aluminium mobile phone which in turn is as ďnowĒ as your multi-dialled but useless watch.

    This is the problem with motoring. A few years ago we emerged from the four-door saloon period when cars were tools, fridge-freezers, white goods with wheels, and into a time where cars became fashion accessories. The advent of the hot hatch and then subsequently the SUV, the MPV, and the sudden re-emergence of two-seater convertibles means that you donít simply buy a car to do a job. You buy it to make a statement.

    Take the Smart as a prime example. Itís a ghastly, asthmatic little thing with a godawful gearbox and the go of oak, but it makes you look fresh and young and on-message. Itís the same story with the Mini. By any rational standards this is a terrible car with a boring engine and no space in the back. But the signals it sends out are that youíre not wearing any knickers. Whereas the signals sent out by the Toyota driver are that theyíre big and sensible and possibly grey.

    Think about it. I used to love Ferraris when they came at you like an Italian waiter, waving their arms about and losing their temper and then, just when your food was ready, popping outside for a fag. And forgetting to come back. But now that we see the damn things marching round the worldís racetracks every other weekend, never going wrong ó ever ó theyíve become, dare I say this, a bit boring. I suspect they may even buy their underwear at Marks & Spencer.

    So actually, then, the last thing you want from a car is something reliable. Something that does well in Which? magazine surveys. Something thatíll never break down. Because then youíll be tagged as a dullard. What you really need, if you want to come across as moody and interesting, is something desperately unreliable.

    At this point I should draw your attention to the recently published BBC Top Gear Magazine customer satisfaction survey. This is the largest independent motoring survey of them all, and my God there are some boring cars at the top.


    If we exclude the Honda S2000 that won it, and the Jaguar XJ, which came second, we find the upper reaches of the chart are peppered with Skodas, Toyotas, Hyundais, Lexi and even, heaven help us, the Mazda 323 ó an avocado bathroom suite in a Barratt home if ever I saw one. Interestingly, the Mercedes M-class came last, chiefly because the dealer network is so appalling but also because itís made in Alabama, where the locals are good at picking cotton, singing mournful songs and listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd but not so good at attaching complicated pieces of machinery to one another.

    However, if youíre trying to convey a devil-may-care attitude with your next car, donít bother with Mercedes. Or Fiat, or even Renault. Because the marque that came last in the overall survey of 53,000 motorists is Peugeot.


    I wasnít taken by the 407 saloon mainly because of the gutless 2 litre diesel engine that was in my test car. The smaller 1.6 they sent in the 407SW (the estate) was much better, quieter and less likely to run out of oomph when you need it most. Whatís more, while the saloon is handsome in a boy-next-door sort of way, the estate really does have the looks of a square-jawed matinee idol. Sadly, it still has a fairly crummy driving position, but I must say I loved the glass roof and the tailgate that opens in two parts. If you only want to throw a pair of wellies in there, you just open the back window.

    It gets better. This is an extremely comfortable car, gliding over bumps and ridges that would have any German rival shaking with the effort, and, for a large estate costing less than £18,000, itís very well equipped. The door mirrors, for instance, fold themselves away when you lock it.

    This then is a car that offers the style-conscious motorist just about everything. We can see, as you slide by, that you must have a family but that you havenít bought an MPV, which would mark you down as technically dead, or an SUV, which would identify you as being Wayne Rooney.

    We can also see youíve bought a French car, which means youíre anti-Bush, anti-war and possibly that you have a place near Pau. These are all good things, too.

    Best of all, though, we can see youíve bought a car that you knew full well would go wrong all the time. This is good, too. Sit at the side of the road with the bonnet up reading Victorian poetry and I can pretty much guarantee that every girl who drives by will want to sleep with you.

    Vital statistics Model Peugeot 407SW SE HDi
    Engine type Four-cylinder, 1560cc turbo-diesel
    Power 110bhp @ 4000rpm
    Torque 180 lb ft @ 1750rpm
    Transmission Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
    Fuel/CO2 50.4mpg (combined) 148g/km
    Tyres 215/55 R17
    Insurance Group 8
    Performance 0-62mph: 12.1sec
    Top speed 117mph
    Price £17,900
    Verdict The perfect car for the style-conscious motorist
    Rating 3/5
    What do you think about the image that your car conveys to others? Did you buy it at least partially because of the image associated with your pug/renault/citroen?

    Advertisement
    Nick
    1983 Peugeot 505 GR


    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

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    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    Peugeot is last on the BBC Survey, not good Peugeot! 307 got a whipping in last year's review. Shame it has continued to slide.

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    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    FYI, this is the surveyJeremy is talking about: http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/survey/

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    XTC
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    " I can pretty much guarantee that every girl who drives by will want to sleep with you. "

    Pretty bold statement ... I can see certain AF'ers running out now to get one .. hahahahaha (and no I'm not with them)

    - XTC -
    You're not fooling everyone, or did you forget? .......




    '02 Peugeot 206 GTi / '07 VW Golf GTI
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    Why not?

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    Cub
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    I think there is a lot of truth in that statement though, I mean everyone on AF is pretty accustomed to their beloved Pug playing up
    ... however we all put up with it & call it character...we love it to bits because of the S-curves and traffic light victories over un-suspecting try-hards...
    ... its also deeply cool because Pugs arent the first cars on the list for Latte-drinking posers... so I suppose sitting on the side of the road with the bonnet up does mean something then ...now where are all the gals!?
    CUB

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    Dunno..I reckon it's viewed very differently in the UK than here. Over there, Pugs, Renos etc are as common as Corollas. Here the average joe thinks a pug is a prestige car. Most people ask me how I could afford one....
    Take the long way home....

    - 306 gti6

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    Fellow Frogger! mmm...CORNERS's Avatar
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    I think that whole article is quite truthfull, in a round about sort of way. I'm not sure on the assesment of the 407 as Ive never driven one, and the reliability thing, well, my 306 has NEVER broken down...(only when Ive been mucking around with wires in the dash have I had trouble)
    It is an insight into our mentality when it comes to cars though. Sure a camry will give you reliability but it will also bore you to death.
    I bought my pug because of the driveablity and belive it or not, I find it completly practical, efficient AND fun. Image only played a part because i wanted something other than a civic/barina/corrolla.
    I do find it amusing though when people ask "what do you drive" when you say Peugeot they think "ohh, european, must be expensive/yuppie/unreliable" I love stereotypes

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    Cub
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    Quote Originally Posted by jastanis
    Dunno..I reckon it's viewed very differently in the UK than here. Over there, Pugs, Renos etc are as common as Corollas. Here the average joe thinks a pug is a prestige car. Most people ask me how I could afford one....
    Completely agree with you on that one, the way i see it, Pugs are just Euro Nissans or something... in no way is a Pug a "presitge" car, however it is different.

    ..but notice a majority of cars at the bottom were french?!
    CUB

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    Fellow Frogger! GavinS's Avatar
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    Default Renaults reliability solution

    Seems the only way to improve the ratings for renault is playing out in Korea.

    French carmaker Renault plans to invest 600 billion won (US$573.1 million) in South Korea over the next three years, its chairman said on Tuesday.

    Louis Schweitzer, who is in Seoul to celebrate Renault Samsung's launch of its first large sedan, the SM7, also told reporters that the European car maker would build an engine plant in the South Korean port city of Pusan for global supplies.

    Renault Samsung Motors Inc., South Korea's smallest automaker, had offered only two passenger car models, mostly sold domestically. The French auto maker in 2000 took a 70 percent stake in the former automotive unit of the Samsung Group

    Schweitzer also said he did not expect any production disruption due to steel shortages in the wake of problems at Japan's Nissan Motor Co.

    Nissan, held 44 percent by Renault, said last week it would stop production at some domestic plants for five days in a rare move that could spill over to its rivals as steel makers struggle to meet burgeoning demand.

    Design in France build in asia = win win , may even improve the price to boot.
    Korea build ugly better and more reliably than most until the euro designers came on board
    Cheers- GavinS 25 GTX 1987 build 2165cc auto - TBR. Renault is properly pronounced "Rhen-oh."
    .......................................Nissan Skyline (daily driver)
    Seek the blindspot and unknown of The Johari Window.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XTC206
    " I can pretty much guarantee that every girl who drives by will want to sleep with you. "

    Pretty bold statement ... I can see certain AF'ers running out now to get one .. hahahahaha (and no I'm not with them)

    - XTC -
    Does it have to be the Diesel one though?

    Image wasn't very important when I went to buy my car. In my case, I had a (relatively) fixed amount of cash to spend, only needed a relatively small car, with neither the passenger nor the luggage demands for a station wagon or large sedan, and how well it drove was the determining factor. Besides being able to actually support the maintenance requirements, brand or origin really weren't even on the radar.

    I think I am missing Jeremy Clarkson's point in the article. To be ultimately pragmatic, in many cases the cost of owining your own car works out higher than using public transport (excpet places like Sydney where there isn't any).

    Then to draw a conclusion on reliability based on a customer satification survey... talking about unreliability, He even points out in the article... "Mercedes M-class came last, chiefly because the dealer network is so appalling" (my emphasis) - nothing about the reliability of the car itself.

    For lots of people, owning a car does indeed mean more than just getting from A to B. Style, image, personal satisifaction play a part in it too. And for me, like I would think many others on Aussiefrogs, the driving experience is as much a factor as the ownership experience.

    Anyway, a while back I saw a story on Clarkson's personal garage
    Methinks the man protesteth too much...
    "You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles... Radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat." - Albert Einstein

    Xantia Activa CT - Chock full of upsy-downsy goodness!

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