Getting a handle on Peugeot’s 1007.
“Peugeot plants seeds for the future,” wrote Car magazine in November 2002. The accompanying CAD image they used shared its colour with today’s hard copy. The CAD model in Car’s article posed as a concept car and bore the name Sesame. The vehicle appeared on sale two years later bearing a striking resemblance to the thing billed as a concept car. What Peugeot did was to more or less send out fairly resolved CAD models and hope the press would print some free publicity. The images in Car magazine have that fragile look of a semi-finished CAD model (mostly due to the absence of the fussy radii on panel gaps, evidence of material thickness and things like wheel-arch liners).
Much like the Opel Signum from around the same time, this sliding-door-on-a-small car concept is one of those ideas that didn’t catch on. Ford borrowed the idea for the 2012 B-Max, a Fiesta-derived vehicle which also lasted just 5 years. I tried to think of other small cars with sliding doors and couldn’t. Am I forgetting one? It seems like a nice idea but nobody seems to go for it in practice, not at this scale.
As ever, the pre-launch publicity was kind. The sliding doors were “an obvious solution, but brilliantly executed – the slide rails blend into the overall funkiness of the shape thanks to some neat silver colour coding of the roof bars, door handles and wing mirrors.”
At the time the only thing I noticed about the car was how the handles of the doors seemed so alarmingly un-integrated into the door surface. I still think they are much cruder than they need have been. I think Peugeot wanted to do a good design deed and make a vehicle with some Inclusive Design credentials. The car is well-suited for people of reduced mobility. However, they didn’t take the critical step of avoiding that objective.
The crude door-handles probably are ergonomically good. But alas they have the engineered-look of assistive technology. People with any kind of a capability loss hate one thing as much the general trickiness of getting things done – that’s being patronised. I like the fun-look of the car as a whole but I can’t get past the laziness of those door handles.