It’s So Very French

I recently switched cars, from a rented Vauxhall Astra to a leased brand new Peugeot 207. The former is an English brand, the latter French. There’s some confusion about it but “Peugeot” appears to be pronounced either “pah-joe” (U.K.) or “pooh-zhoe” (U.S.). Peugeot doesn’t have the best reputation but this year’s model got stellar marks on the car review web sites.
The Vauxhall is a medium-sized car, which I got used to despite its size in this country’s small lanes and parking spaces, while the Peugeot is in the somewhat smaller class called “super-mini”. The idea that the back seat of the Peugeot “seats three”, as the advertising says, might be feasible if they mean three 8-year olds. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of room behind the wheel for someone my size and the Peugeot’s a good fit.
The pictures above show the Vauxhall, left, and the Peugeot, right.
The Vauxhall was an automatic (unusual in England and primarily found on rental cars) and it was very helpful not to have to deal with shifting while getting acclimated to driving here. The Peugeot is a 5-speed manual shift and, so far, I’ve had no problems driving it now that I’m used to English traffic.
You may remember that I had hoped to lease a Mercedes A150 but, alas, they were not available for short-term leases.
My Peugeot, which is the standard (not luxury) model, does have some interesting features:
  • With an eye again to tight parking quarters, the side mirrors automatically fold in when you lock the car.
  • There’s a dial on the dash to adjust the headlight focus up or down. Imagine how that would be abused in the U.S!
  • The front doors have fancy, automatic up/down power windows; the rear doors have hand cranks.
  • The doors do not have individual door lock plungers or buttons. A button on the dash locks/unlocks all doors.
  • Tire pressures and the engine oil level are electronically-monitored and displayed on the dash.
  • The RDS (Radio Data System) digital radio is the European equivalent of XM Radio in the U.S.
  • Gas consumption averages a delightful 45 mpg. Why can’t they do that in the US?
I’ll be taking a four-hour drive up to Liverpool for The British Open in July and I’m looking forward to the road trip in the Peugeot.

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