I rented a pugeot 207 in Lyon and drove it over 2,500km through France, Italy, and Switzerland, through blizzards and over single track mountain roads in the alps and dolomites alone and filled to exploding with passengers and luggage. It never failed and from the day I picked it up to up to the day I wistfully dropped it off; I never had even the slightest problem.
The 207 is a fast, sporty car that handles alpine roads with finesse and aplomb. I never squeaked a tire or upset it in the slightest despite making good time on roads mostly frequented by 3 wheelers and 4WD Pandas, but making far better time.
The car was quiet, had a loud, clear stereo, and a very comfortable cabin. Luggage space was compact (inevitably) but adequate and fortuitously sized to carry two large roll-aboard duffel bags. It was not sufficient for four passengers and luggage, but managed three.
It had good manners on snow and ice, even when other vehicles spun out and slid across the road, the 207 managed to pull through and when it couldn’t it was light enough to push. It was admirable on the unpaved roads in the mountains of Tuscany, though the sporting suspension limited ground clearance and thus the available roads to explore.
The configuration I rented had the lesser stereo option which did not include a line-in input. This is a major shortcoming on any modern car, but particularly manifest where radio stations come and go and offer limited selection. There is still value in traveling with an assortment of CDs – at least it could decode MP3 off redbook disks, if not accept an accessory input.
The 207 gets good mileage but has excellent pickup. On the long trek through some of the geographically undifferentiated north of Italy around Parma, the car just naturally drifted toward 200 kph. It was always comfortable at the more standard 130, climbing or descending or though 15km tunnels like Mont Blanc or the one in Switzerland between Italy and Basil.
All in all a very nice upgrade from the Panda I reserved (though Fiat Pandas have their charm too).