Road Test: Peugeot 407 SW two-litre diesel
What is the price of diesel down your way this morning, still hovering around the quid is it? Yesterday my wife, instead of wringing a dishcloth of fuel into it, filled the tank of her petrol 4x4 for ÃÂ£10 less than the last time the needle went hard to port.
When we bought it I had reservations but Class A petrol addiction is hard to crack. Even my Hilux, which is fitted with anti-insugency tyres, runs on petrol and therefore does less to the gallon than Concorde.
Yet despite the best efforts of myself and other octane obsessives diesel sales rocketed. Which is why now and possibly for ever, a litre of paraffin will be the stuff of pound shops.
Incredible. The human animal, a being advanced enough to invent wine, is incapable of spotting the obvious. We did not, for instance, see that populating the investment banking sector with people who made Lord Lucan's gambling habits look like shove ha'penny, we would put Britain on a losing streak at the lucky strike casino.
Similarly by taxing cars on their co2 emissions, putting the more efficient diesel models in lower bands, the inflationary result is that we just don't have the refining capacity to keep up with demand.
And now for the really bad news. Someone at a used car guide has worked out that if you buy a BMW 318 diesel it could take 28 years to become cost effective. Think about it. Buy one tomorrow and your unborn child could be working for Lehman's before you are in pocket. Even a Mondeo diesel takes six years to hit pay dirt. And by that time it's a Wolverhampton taxi.
Bringing us, without any hint of a sarcastic rattle, to the ÃÂ£23,545 two-litre Peugeot 407 SW HDi 170bhp. In sport trim.
It has plenty of room in an attractive non-industrial body shape which is finished inside to a much higher standard than PSA stablemate Citroen's models. Quality soft-touch plastics and tasteful inserts are supported by half-leather upholstery. Very nice.
Equipment includes electrically adjustable heated seats, automatic lights and wipers, auto folding mirrors, parking sensor and a panoramic glass roof
For ease of access the tailgate is split.
On the road this is no slouch. 62mph comes up in nine seconds and the top speed is 137mph. Heavier than predecessors, like just about all cars today, it may be but there is a pretty good chassis at work here and scope for enthusiasm backed up by ESP and a five-star NCAP score. On the motorway the 407 is like driving around in a rather polite middle-aged gentleman.
That, however, is not why you chose it. Only 165g/km of carbon puts the SW in tax band D and it is possible to hope for over 50mpg.
I may have given you the impression that I would rather run my car on glue and even though diesel emits less co2 it pumps out particulates the size of house bricks. But you are probably a convert and as such should understand that if you want a reasonably priced, quality family 'estate' the 407 fits the bill. No matter how long it takes to pay it.