Flash enough to give rivals a run for their money

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 February, 2007, 12:00am

The Peugeot 207 GT doesn't look flash, even in orange, until you put your foot down and discover one of the most exciting town cars since the Mini Cooper S.

The engine's lovely, and handling is excellent, with fine all-round visibility for quick lane changes. And parking's easy in a MacDonnell Road block, with sensors giving about a metre's grace in reverse. The five-speed manual shift is responsive, but sometimes lacks the smoothness of the Mini Cooper and Suzuki Swift's box.

Inside is sporty and airy, thanks to a glass panoramic roof that might tempt you into night drives under Hong Kong's neon. A distant door handle spoils this otherwise thoughtful interior, with racy white dials and orange LED readings that are legible in Hong Kong sunlight. The Peugeot 207 GT seems better finished than the Ford Fiesta ST and Suzuki Swift Sport and could thrill you just as much as a Mini Cooper S or Volkswagen Golf GTi in all Hong Kong traffic conditions.

The boot's enough for a day's supermarket shopping, and its impressive European safety ratings could steer families from the lumber of a seven-seater van such as the Toyota Previa that they may not fill, or gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles that might prove harder to park. The Peugeot 207 GT proved its thirstiest when wellied, at 26 litres per km, but should sell well here. It's the best proof yet that smaller cars are more fun to drive in Hong Kong.