Peugeot's Brazilian unit has drawn criticism for using the 207 nameplate on an updated 206 model but is optimistic about the sales prospects of the latest Escapade pseudo-offroad version.

This is an update to a model family that also includes hatch, saloon and conventional wagon versions. Wagon models with raised suspension ride height have created a popular niche segment here ever since Fiat launched the pioneering Palio Weekend Adventure in 1999.

The previous 206 Escapade was launched in 2006 and the updated 207 version was launched at the São Paulo motor show last October but sales only started recently.

The model combines the latest 207 nose styling with the older 206SW body with new, clear lens tail lamps and it comes with just one trim level. To keep the price below BRL50,000 ($US21,700; GBP15,700), ABS is now optional instead of standard.

Ground clearance is 1in (25mm) higher than before (total ground clearance is 9.4in versus 5.9in for standard models) and the tyres are suitable for mixed use, on and off-road. Performance on the latter is somewhat limited as the vehicle is front wheel drive only.

Fernando Calmon