A few more Peugeots are starting to find there way onto
Thailand’s crowded bitumen, and the 307 is an interesting one. Priced at
around 1.9 million baht, just under its smaller brother the 206, it has started
to attract its own band of followers, with the styling being at least one reason
for this. It was the European Car of the Year and our Down-under correspondent
called it stylish, gutsy and highly appealing. Here are the Words from Weinthal.
Peugeot 307 is sold here with in Australia a choice of two body styles and three
engines. It does not take long to appreciate what the 55 journalist judges of
the Car of the Year found so appealing about this successor to the 306 - the
most successful model ever from Peugeot.
“The 307 is a distinctively styled car which, through
clever design, offers probably the largest cabin and luggage space in the medium
smaller class. There is a host of clever engineering and genuine safety features
which put the 307 right at the top of its class.
“It is one of the best equipped cars on our market almost
regardless of price. We drove a 2 litre, four cylinder 100 kW five door (this is
the XS model we get here in Thailand). There’s also an 80 kW 1600 and a very
advanced 66kW 2 litre turbo diesel engine available for just under AUD 30,000 -
an extraordinarily low price for what it offers with great fuel economy and
strong torque throughout the rev range.
“Safety is a big feature of all 307s. First there’s
accurate power-assisted rack and pinion steering, fine road holding and
anti-lock four wheel disc braking with brake force distribution between the
front and rear. The windscreen wipers sweep from the centre outwards to give
truly remarkable coverage. All of these help you avoid an accident in the first
place. In the event of a mishap there are six airbags for protection in front
and side impacts, five anti-whiplash head restraints, advanced body crumple and
side intrusion design and more.
“On top of this it’s the standard equipment list which
gives the 307 a further edge over most of its peers regardless of their
nationality. All 307s have dial-a-temperature air-con, height adjustable
passenger’s front seat, adjustable centre front arm rests, fast response up
and down power windows in all doors, remote central locking, anti-theft
immobiliser, six speaker radio and CD, on board computer and a boot net to
secure luggage. In fact the standard equipment goes on and on - cup holders and
additional power points, truly useable glove box and door bins which can hold a
2 litre bottle, split fold rear seats to give a cavernous luggage carrying
capacity, on board diagnostics and warnings and so on.
“Added to this we have a Peugeot with the expected virtues
of super supple ride with next to no road noise. The 307 is a stylish, gutsy,
and ultimately highly appealing machine.”
(Thank you John, but here the distributors have to overcome the not so highly
appealing purchase price! Dr. Iain.)
Lexus SC 430
With Toyota Thailand reported as aggressively marketing
Lexus, I wonder whether they will ever bring such exotics as the SC 430 into
this country. With the LS 430 sedan over seven and a half million baht, lordy
knows what this little gem might have on its price ticket, but I’d hazard a
guess at around 10 mill!
Down-under correspondent, John Weinthal has sampled one, calling it a
‘supertoy’, writing that “This Lexus combines the highest levels of
engineering excellence and safety with strikingly independent styling, exquisite
detailing, subtle luxurious interior design and a build quality matched by few
if any other cars. Lexus calls it the outcome of a pursuit for perfection - few
However, he continued with, “As a car it is surely a dead
loss in any conventional sense. For all practical considerations this is a
two-seater with four head restraints. That boot-looking projection behind the
cabin is simply the storage area for the folding aluminium roof. Beyond that, it
just accommodated a briefcase and a couple of cameras in a soft bag. Regardless
of these observations, please accept that the SC430 is just about as good as it
gets, provided you don’t demand anything approaching practicality from your
I wonder if we’ll ever get one here?
The Mustang is back! A real one!
The 2005 Ford Mustang was on show in Detroit a few days ago, and immediately
brought back memories of the Shelby Mustang 500 GT. It is back to the original
formula for FoMoCo and they are offering a gutsy 300 BHP V 8 in the engine
line-up, or a much more sedate V6 200 BHP unit. Remember that most original
60’s and 70’s Mustangs were sold with the cooking model in line six, rather
than the fire-breathing V8 that gave the model its clout and panache.
Has VW gone mad?
Also on show in Detroit was the Volkswagen Concept T. This thing looks like a
cross between a home made beach buggy and a praying mantis. Now VeeDub don’t
do anything just for the hell of it, so there is a production model somewhere.
The thing has a V6 in it pushing out 240 BHP and has a top speed of 230 kph and
accelerates 0-100 clicks in under seven seconds. VW say, “With the concept T,
Volkswagen is unifying the worlds of the SUV and the sports car.” That may be
so, but it sure is ugly.
The hybrid Benz gets closer
The Mercedes Vision Grand Sports Tourer concept was on show in Detroit too.
The engine is an electric/diesel hybrid that develops over 300 BHP and gives
performance figures of 0-100 clicks in under seven seconds and returns a fuel
economy of 30 mpg in the old money. DaimlerChrysler says, “By building this
vehicle, we are underlining our reputation as a trendsetter and will establish
our presence in a young and interesting market segment starting at the beginning
of 2005. This concept definitely has the potential for a new Mercedes model
family.” Translation of that auto-speak is, expect this vehicle next year.
BMW produces an elegant convertible
The BMW 6 Series Convertible (645Ci) made a big impression at the Detroit
show, and I am even getting used to the Chris Bangle rear end, as first seen on
the 7 series a couple of years ago. Not only a looker, this is a performance
vehicle that does not care about conservation of reputedly dwindling oil
resources (and I’m with BMW). Over 300 neddies up front and 0-100 in a smidgin
over six seconds and gives 15 mpg around town, and I love it. Top speed over 240
kays as well.
Last week I wrote about a very rich and titled Englishman,
who headed a very large motor corporation wanted to be a doctor. He did not have
enough money to go to university as a young man, so started a bicycle repair
business, and then went on to building cars to fund his way through medical
school. He never got there, but gave huge amounts of money to medical research
after he became successful in the auto business. I asked who was he? It was
William Morris, who became Lord Nuffield.
So to this week, and a Scottish related question, so put on
your kilts and think about this - two manufacturers used tartan fabric on the
exterior of their car bodies. What were they? Clue - one was in 1922 and the
other in 1930.
For the Automania FREE beer this week, be the first correct
answer to email automania @chiangmai-mail.com