Clarkson on the 307CC
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  1. #1
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    Default Clarkson on the 307CC

    **Lifted this from 306GTi6.com. This is how a review should be written...**




    Peugeot 307CC
    by Jeremy Clarkson of The Sunday Times


    My plan to start writing about cars for a living was, though I say so myself, a stroke of genius. I’d write one review, which I would syndicate to local newspapers all over Britain. Then I’d spend the rest of the week in the pub.
    What’s more, I’d actually have to drive the cars I was writing about so I’d be going to and from the pub in a Ferrari one day and a Lamborghini the next. Brilliant.

    Unfortunately, only two local newspapers thought it was a good idea, which meant I had to live on forty quid a week, and neither thought their readers, or advertisers more like, would be very interested in whether the Countach could outdrag a Boxer 512BB. What they wanted was stuff about Yugos and Maestros and Ladas. They could never get enough on Ladas.

    Still, it wasn’t the end of the world because they would allow me to write about Peugeots, and back then in the middle of the 1980s Peugeot was the coronation chicken in a wedding buffet of awfulness and dross.

    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.

    I never found out who he was but I do know this. He doesn’t work there any more. Today, Peugeots are sensible and practical, which makes them large and lumpen and lead-footed. The zing and the pizzazz have gone. Drive a 307, for instance and it’s like running into an old girlfriend who, since you last saw her, has had three children, cut her hair, eaten all the pies and given up.

    Its predecessor, the 309, wasn’t the prettiest car ever made but it was always up for a party. The 307, you just know, is always thinking about the babysitter and having to get up at seven to make the children’s breakfast.

    Partly, this is our fault, because when a market-research woman with a clipboard stops us in the street and asks if we’d like a bigger car we think “yes” in the same way that we’d like a bigger house and a bigger penis.

    Actually, though, the last thing we want is a bigger car because it will be harder to park, slower, less fun to drive and less economical. But because we said yes, Peugeot has responded by making the 307 absolutely enormous.

    Then there’s the problem with equipment. Back in the days of the 205 you had to wind your own windows down and you needed arms like giant redwoods to turn the steering wheel. Now, though, you expect not just power assistance but satellite navigation and cruise control and parking sensors too.

    So the price is going up as well. Then we get to the question of safety. Because you expect to be able to hit a tree at 40 and walk away, our cars now have a latticework of cross-members like RSJs under their huge bodies. Which adds weight.

    Then there’s the roof. With an old convertible you got a strip of canvas, but nowadays you demand a metal top that folds away at the touch of a button. That means, oh, I don’t know, 17 electric motors, and that in turn means even more fat.

    So we end up with the Peugeot 307CC you see here, a car that weighs a fifth of a ton more than the hatchback version and which costs over 20,000 if you fit a couple of extras. And 18,300 if you don’t.

    Furthermore, even I felt lost and little in there. You sit behind a giant steering wheel and a massive dash looking out through a windscreen that you would swear they got from a coach, thinking that you have inadvertently found yourself in Gulliver’s weekend sportster.
    Except it’s not even remotely sporty. Because of the sheer size and the monstrous 1 ton bulk, the poor old 2 litre twin-cam engine is completely out of its depth. Nought to 60, for instance takes more than 10 seconds and that makes it slower than a 1.8 litre Kia Shuma. Which in turn is slower than an asthmatic pensioner running across a ploughed field in muddy wellies.

    It’s not just the speed that suffers either. Moving so much extra weight around needs fuel, a lot of fuel. So don’t expect much more than 25mpg.

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    And as a little bit of glaze on the cherry on top of the already pretty horrid cake, no car that is the size and weight of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is going to c*ck a rear wheel in the bends and bring a little sunshine to your trudge to work. In short, it’s going to handle like a dead dog.

    Now I should make it plain, at this point, that all cars have become too heavy and too thirsty and too big in recent years. But Peugeot’s descent into middle age is sadder than all the others because its cars used to be so good.

    No matter. Accepting that all the cars in this class are as vast and as unwieldy as a City Hoppa bus, let’s stick to the here and now and decide whether the 307CC is worth your money.

    Well, first of all the cabin is extremely well trimmed, especially if you go for pale grey leather seats and a black carpet. Couple this effect with the splashes of aluminium that are to be found on the centre console and on the steering wheel and it’s a bit like being in David Sullivan’s bathroom. Only the car’s bigger.

    Then there’s the ride, which is as comfortable as spending the evening on a marshmallow bed with Vanessa Feltz. There is no pothole yet conceived by even the wettest dream of a council’s transport department, no ridge and no speed bump capable of unsettling the Pug’s featherbed progress.

    So, two really good things then. The cabin is a nice place to sit and the comfort is truly excellent. And that, I’m afraid, is that. We’re at the top of the rollercoaster’s uphill climb, perched at the point where all is quiet and you wish you’d never got on the damn thing in the first place. But you did and now it’s a terrifying downhill blast all the way to the end.

    Yes, you can fold the Mercedes-style roof away at up to 6mph, but what good’s that? When are you ever going 6mph? And when it’s there you can’t get anything in the boot, and when it’s not you have terrible wind noise on the motorway. And getting it there takes 30 seconds.

    Then there’s the space in the back. Or rather there isn’t. For such a massive car the legroom is pitiful, and apropos of nothing in particular you need a PhD to operate all the features on the key.

    Worst of all, though, is the styling. From the front it just looks big, but from all other angles it really doesn’t work at all. On balance, I think Peugeot should go back to using Pininfarina to style its cars and ditch Ray Charles. The back end really is grotesque, as snappy and as zingy as a melted hot water bottle.

    And on top of all this the performance remains woeful even when you’re past 60mph, the handling is dreary, there’s a cheapness to most of the fixtures and fittings, and Peugeots rarely do well in surveys about reliability. I don’t think there’s any point going on, really. The coffin lid is firmly nailed down. This is not a good car.

    Happily, Renault has a similar hard soft top coming onto the market next week. I’m expecting it to be better.

    VITAL STATISTICS

    Model: Peugeot 307CC
    Engine type: Four-cylinder, 1994cc
    Power: 138bhp at 6000rpm
    Torque: 143 lb ft at 4100rpm
    Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
    Suspension: (front) reversed Macpherson struts with anti-roll bar (rear) deformable crossmember, hydraulic dampers
    Tyres: 205/55 R16
    Fuel: 34.4mpg (combined) CO2 194g/km
    Acceleration: 0 to 62mph: 10.3sec
    Top speed: 129mph
    Price: 18,300
    Verdict: Overweight, oversized and without the personality to compensate
    Rating: * - - - -
    The AWARD WINNING 1998 Blaze Yellow 306 GTi6


    ......and a Series 3 205GTi on the side.



    "I enjoy telling people what to do, because I am an arrogant rock star. That's what I do. That's my job." Gene Simmons, ROCK SCHOOL.

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts Stone Free's Avatar
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    Default

    Mind you, he doesn't rate the car at all.
    The AWARD WINNING 1998 Blaze Yellow 306 GTi6


    ......and a Series 3 205GTi on the side.



    "I enjoy telling people what to do, because I am an arrogant rock star. That's what I do. That's my job." Gene Simmons, ROCK SCHOOL.

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