Peugeot claims its new 1007 is a new concept which will change the way small cars are perceived and experienced – like the introduction of the hatchback in the early 60s.

It claims the single electric sliding door on each side is unique in any segment, particularly on a B segment vehicle.

The arrangement is said to offer unparalleled access that is little short of revolutionary. A press on the remote controller slides the electric doors rearwards, providing unrestricted access, as though no barrier existed between the outside and inside.

When open, the electric doors require only a small lateral clearance, roughly equivalent to that of the door mirrors, thereby enabling the car to be parked in very narrow spaces that are inaccessible to vehicles with traditional doors.

The 1007 has class leading safety equipment including up to seven airbags (some are optional), one of which is mounted on the steering column, and, for child protection, Isofix fixtures that comply with the new three-point fixing standard.

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The 1007 is claimed to be a true four seater, but with a truly innovative flexible interior. The two independent rear seats govern the numerous ways in which the 1007 can be used and are an integral feature of the car’s innovative modularity. For example, the interior space can be adapted to seat four people, provide maximum boot space or carry long loads.

The possibility of interior personalisation on mainstream vehicles is usually limited by decisions made by the manufacturer. The Peugeot 1007 changes this by providing customers with the possibility of choosing an individual interior for their car.

The interior of the vehicle can be transformed by the availability of twelve different trim kits consisting of replacement trims for the seats, doors, rear side panels, air vents and the fascia. These kits offer striking decorative patterns and/or vivid colours. The kits are quick and easy to install and remove without the use of any tools.

With an overall length of 3,73o mm and a height of 1,610 mm the compact 1007 is said to have “great on-road versatility” as well as providing the driver and occupants with good visibility.

It will be offered with a choice of three engines, a 1.4 litre petrol engine (75 bhp), a 1.6 litre petrol engine (110 bhp) and a 1.4 litre HDi diesel engine (70 bhp).

The 1007 will also introduce a “2-Tronic” gearbox on petrol engine versions, which will see Peugeot using automated manual gearbox technology for the first time (PSA stablemate Citroen has done so since launching the C3).

The 2-Tronic gearbox offers two gear change modes: one entirely automated; the other sequential manual with gears selected either by a central lever or steering wheel control paddles.

The new car is expected to make its public debut at the Paris motor show in September – stand by for a crush of rival automakers’ engineers, digital cameras and tape measures at the ready.

UK sales start in May 2005.