Inside, the interior stylists have created a spacious cabin with real class. Driver and passenger are separated by a main console that houses the controls for the standard climate control system, the audio controls and the optional satellite navigation/TV. There are splashes of chrome and either wood-effect or black applique finish, and the overall ambience is very impressive. This is an interior the quality of which will give Vauxhall salesmen sweaty palms. The only really unattractive item is the blandly bulging steering wheel.
The multiplex wiring system allows for a whole host of neat electronic functions to be shoehorned in, making the 607 feel resolutely up to date. The double glazed glass, the tyre pressure monitor on each wheel, the park-assistance radar system to guide you safely into the tightest of spaces, side lights that automatically illuminate in falling light, the rear view mirror that darkens when someone's on full beam behind you, the stereo volume that rises and falls in line with your speed and particularly clever rain sensitive wipers - it's all here. These can switch on and off by themselves, work faster at night and slower in a traffic jam and switch themselves off if impeded by snow and ice.
The cabin is a good place to be, the exclusivity of the car endowing the driver with a smug, breed-apart feel good factor.
The level of build quality is excellent but there have been some stories of problems with the four-cylinder petrol engine. Stalling, especially in the 2.0-litre versions, is by no means uncommon, so try to ensure you start the engine from cold on your test drive. There's also the known weakness of this engine family of engines - the timing belt. Make sure it's been changed every 30,000 miles or it may snap without warning, seizing the engine - you have been warned. It costs about £100 to replace - much cheaper than a new engine.
Otherwise make sure that the bodywork is in good condition, the wheels are free from kerbing damage and make sure the vehicle is HPI clear. Otherwise insist on a full service history and buy with confidence.
(approx based on 2001 2.0SE) A new exhaust will set you back about £385, while a replacement headlamp will be around £165. A new clutch is £155. As for front brake pads, expect to pay about £35 front and rear. A radiator will cost you around £250, an alternator around £330, and a starter motor £275.
As soft as Fern Britton's cleavage, the 607 is ideally suited to its native environment, namely belting along autoroutes at three figure speeds. Corners a little, cities maybe, but if you're after a car for the long haul not much touches the 607.
As well as the five engines there are also two transmission choices - either a slick five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Following the trend of the moment, the auto features a 'Tiptronic'-style selector which, once pushed over to the left, can be pushed up and down for 'manual' changes. More importantly, this gearbox has an auto-adaptive function that can learn your preferred driving style, judging it by 32 different criteria.
As you might expect, the electronics sense if you're feeling sporty, holding on to the revs through the gears and resisting the temptation to change up in mid-corner. But this 'box goes further than that, sensing the road conditions and the environment you're travelling in. Around town for example, the car will start off in second rather than first gear, to avoid lurching getaways.
The system is also clever enough to inhibit changes when ESP (the Electronic Stability Programme) is in operation. This works with the ASR skid control system and intervenes in extreme situations, automatically limiting the throttle or applying the brakes. These operate in conjunction with ABS and REF (a system that apportions maximum braking effort to the wheel most needing it). The anchors also incorporate brake assistance: this maintains maximum braking during emergency stops, even if your foot wavers from the pedal. At the same time, the hazard warning lights automatically illuminate to warn other road users of an impending problem ahead.
Of the engines, the HDi diesels stand out. Driven back to back with the V6 model, the 2.2 HDi feels hardly slower. Indeed, so it proves against the clock, the diesel-engined car tripping the stopwatch to 60mph in an impressive 10.6 seconds, only 0.7 seconds adrift of the flagship 3.0-litre V6. The engine has that gutsy feel that a good turbodiesel installation should have and, with Peugeot's recent suspension upgrades, rides and handles better too. Still, you are aware of a very heavy weight in the nose, and this should be borne in mind when using the brakes enthusiastically. Although there is some slight clatter on start up, the engine is nonetheless satisfyingly refined. Whilst not yet up to BMW standards of refinement, the HDi unit still falls into the category of diesels which will convert even the most ardent driver. And with a combined fuel consumption figure of 41.5mpg, it fulfils its initial diesel remit of real world fuel savings.
The 2.2-litre twin turbo HDi that came along in 2006, was more impressive still with 44mpg economy and a 9.3s sprint. The thirsty V6 option made no sense as a new buy but, if you can find one, horrific depreciation means its worth considering second hand.
The 607 has had an indifferent press and a worse public acceptance. Don't let this put you off. It's an excellent car - probably the best in its class in terms of value for money if you're a high mileage merchant. The initially steep depreciation is now working in the used buyers favour, although the stinging insurance is less easy to contend with. If you've ever wondered if there was a 'sleeper' alternative to the usual Saab/Volvo/Vauxhall axis here it is. Don't believe the hype. The 607's definitely worth a second look second time round.