If you were to ask me to name my favorite compact car, the answer would be simple: the Peugeot 1007. This is not the favorite compact car of the vast majority of human beings, and probably even of Peugeot 1007 owners — but it’s my favorite, because it has something very special. And on the heels of Peugeot potentially returning to America, I figured it would be nice to mention one of their most innovative cars.
So what’s the deal with the 1007? It was a compact car made from 2005 to 2009, and it was designed for use in crowded, cramped European cities. And what’s something annoying about driving a car in crowded cities: getting in and out of tight spaces. And so, the 1007 made it easy by incorporating sliding doors.
And I don’t mean it had sliding rear doors like a minivan. I mean the 1007 had two rows of seats and one sliding door on each side with which to access them. No front doors and back doors: just a left sliding door and a right sliding door. The obvious result is brilliant: you don’t need room to swing out your door just to get inside — and you don’t have to crawl narrowly past an open door if there’s a tight gap. Just open the sliding door, which only extends a few inches off the body of the car, and you have a full-sized door hole to climb through. It’s brilliant!
Sadly, not everyone shared my opinion, and the 1007 didn’t sell well — likely because all cars with sliding doors seem like family vans, even little ones, and nobody wants one of those unless they have to get one. It was also surely more expensive than a conventional small car. But it’s a brilliant vehicle for people constantly entering and exiting their car in tight spaces — and even though other automakers are unlikely to embrace the sliding door small car, it’s a neat idea.
One interesting note: Peugeot wasn’t the only one to think of the idea. The year before the 1007 came out, Toyota released a similar sliding door small car — called the Porte, French for "door" — in Japan. However, the Porte only had one single sliding door: the door on the passenger side slid open, while the driver side door was normal.
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