A week driving in Portugal - daveyjp
We have just returned from a week in the Algarve. Before going I read a bit about Portuguese driving and it was all doom and gloom, dangerous, locals are nutters etc. These drivers must have been away! 600km in a week and the most traffic we saw was on the way back to the airport at 9am, but even then no traffic jams.

We saw an accident in the shopping centre underground car park 10 minutes after we arrived and a poor Dutch couple were rear ended at a set of lights - it was right outside a Pug dealer so their 307 didn?t have far to go. Our car received a dented door in a car park too, but hire company didn?t seem too concerned when I called and nothing was made of it when I dropped the car off.

Other than events which could happen in a any country, mile after mile of very quiet roads and a motorway where most drivers were sensible, just as the UK those driving the German marques appeared to use the motorway for speed trials!

Well signposted, well maintained and new roads everywhere. The directions to our apartment were wrong as a new roundabout and dual carriageway had been completed since May, which was the last time the owners had visited and checked the route.

No speed cameras per se, but in some villages in rural locations they have random sets of traffic lights. Exceed 50km/h and they turn red for about 15 seconds! Not only do you get annoyed but you also p off anyone following you, keep in limit and they stay green.

Our chariot for the week was a Pug 207 1.6HDi. Knowing we would be doing some lengthy driving I wanted something economical and with a bit of room and at £100 for the week this fitted the bill.

Economy was excellent - computer calculated it at 5 l/100km (56 mpg) with an average speed of 58 km/h.

Other than that there was nothing else I could rave about. The car had done 21,000km since May 2006 and it was developing faults. They clever ?flip key? didn?t flip anymore and was a fiddle to get in the ignition and the remote locking sometimes wouldn't work. I couldn't get the seat right - whenever I was in the driving seat and geeling right so i could see all around and all the instruments I couldn't get out without hitting my leg on the steering wheel. There are no less than 11 warning lights for sear belts. A red and a green one for every seat belted fitted and an additional one on the instrument panel, this one failed to go out every time and sometimes chimed that a seat belt wasn?t fastened when it was. The car had warning chimes for everything, I still don?t know what some of them were for.

The steering felt very woolly and at speed any slight movement induced serious body roll. The engine was very refined and quiet until around 2,000 rpm, after this the noise gathered until at 3,000 revs it became very intrusive, unfortunately in 5th 3,000 revs equals 120 km/h, the limit on Portuguese motorways, so I kept to 100-110 km/h to keep the revs and accompanying noise down, a 6th gear would have been welcomed. On urban 90km/h roads the car was probably in it?s best environment - 5th gear 2,000 revs and acceleration on tap when required, but even then if you came across a vehicle which could be overtaken it had to be planned very carefully as there is no way this car would take off quickly and once 3,000 revs was reached there was nothing left. Gar changes mid overtake were always required.

It did lose speed on uphill motorway sections when in 5th, but I just had to live with it as changing to 4th resulted in serious noise, but no acceleration as the torque band had been breached. In essence a small turbo diesel engine in a larger car such as this is a no no. They may be good at getting reduced emissions, but this comes at a serious reduction in performance.

Portugal is recommended for a late summer/ early autumn driving hoilday though.
A week driving in Portugal - BobbyG
No speed cameras per se, but in some villages in rural locations they have random sets of traffic lights. Exceed 50km/h and they turn red for about 15 seconds! Not only do you get annoyed but you also p off anyone following you, keep in limit and they stay green.


What a fantastic idea. Speed and your journey will take longer!! When can we implement that? I like it, lots!

As long as folk obey the traffic lights?
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2007 Seat Altea XL 2.0 TDI (140) Stylance
2005 Skoda Fabia vrS
A week driving in Portugal - mscott
I found your post a useful review of the 207, thanks. I have bought cars (or not) on the strength of driving a loan or hire car for a few days. You learn so much more than from just a "test drive". (And I agree with your comments about driving in Portugal too).
A week driving in Portugal - DP
Nice review of both the car and Portuguese roads.

I'm another one that's bought a car off the back of an enjoyable hire. I drove a hired Grand Scenic from Amsterdam to Brussels and back, and we bought one a month later.

Cheers
DP
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04 Grand Scenic 1.9 dCi Dynamique
00 Mondeo 1.8TD LX
A week driving in Portugal - helicopter
Davey - Keep it quiet.......Don't let them know or they'll all go there.

SWMBO and I returned from Faro on the 5th after a 9 day break. We regularly visit to go sailing I have to say that in general Portugese roads are a delight. We also drove over into Spain and it was pretty quiet on the way to Huelva.

We hired a 1200 cc Clio via Guerin to get us around and the car was OK, nothing special . The collection and return at Faro was painless with Julie a 'Geordie Lass ' on the desk. All the car hire firms are within 100 yards of the airport.

However the fun part was that we had three days of fabulous thunderstorms and the drains could not cope. To get back to our boat in the marina one evening we had to drive through probably two to three feet deep water for about a quarter mile with traffic quite heavy both ways and washes everywhere.

SWMBO was muttering 'keep going', 'keep going' and we both breathed a sigh of relief when we got through

On the motorway in a thunderstorm we saw one car which appeared to have aquaplaned and spun backwards into the central reservation. Services were all attending but no thought of road closure.

Next day it was as if they had not seen rain for a year. Brilliant sunshine and temperature 82 degrees in old money.

A week driving in Portugal - daveyjp
We arrived shortly after the last thunderclouds had left the area. Glorious sunshine then for a week. I did notice the signs on the motorway warning you to slow in heavy rain - looks like the signs were necessary. I imagine driving in rain for the locals is like us trying to drive in snow.

Didn't quite get to Spain, but drove down the river valley seperating the two Countries - great scenery and good roads. Hearing clocks in the two villages on either side of the river chime a different time was a novelty.

One thing I did enjoy was pulling up at the service station in Monchique and having someone fill the car up for me, paying just ?37 for 35 litres of fuel was also pleasing. It was even more so when I saw fuel had gone from 93.9 to 97.9 a litre in the week we were away.
A week driving in Portugal - helicopter
Yes ,beautiful country - the border River is the Guadiana ( from the Arabic meaning Duck River ) and we were moored in the marina at Vilareal de San Antonio.

The mouth is a nature reserve where you can see Cranes , Flamingoes , Hoopoes , Herons and all sorts of other rare birds. Magnificent beach around the estuary both sides at Ayamonte and Monte Gordo.

If you ever go back, try the Arroz con Marisco ( bit like seafood risotto )at the Naval Club de Guadiana at Vilareal, 24 Euros buys a huge pot of absolutely fresh cooked shellfish straight from the sea , langoustines , mussels , prawns , clams, lobster mixed with rice all in a beautiful tomato , onion , saffron and herby sauce ..Yum

( Wipes dribble off chin).....

We sailed and moored upriver to Alcoutim on the Portuguese side with Sanlucar on the Spanish side , its not such fun at 11 pm in Portugal when you are trying to sleep and the clocks chime 11 times in Portugal and 12 times in Spain.

The fuel is cheaper by about 10 cents a litre in Spain by the way.



A week driving in Portugal - gmac
We sailed and moored upriver to Alcoutim on the Portuguese side with Sanlucar on the
Spanish side its not such fun at 11 pm in Portugal when you are trying
to sleep and the clocks chime 11 times in Portugal and 12 times in Spain.

Could be worse, they could operate 24hour clock in Portugal.

Edited by gmac on 10/10/2007 at 18:05

A week driving in Portugal - rich66
An interesting review. Especially the point about the car being underpowered. I would have expected a 207 to be fine with a 1.6 HDI. Is this the same engine that's in the new focus?

I wonder what the true fuel economy was too.
A week driving in Portugal - Chas{P}
I have been running a 207GT 1.6 HDi 110 BHP for the last 6 months....

Over 9,000 miles in averaged 50mpg with the majority of that was commuting 20 miles each way to work on A roads.

The engine was a bit tight at first, as HJ found in his test on a diesel, but by 9,000 miles was just getting right with the fuel economy improving as well.

Just taken delivery of the same car again and it feels more perky as if they've tweaked the ECU software. Second car feels even better screwed together and there is an MP3 input in the glovebox that wasn't listed on the spec when I ordered it. Bonus!

BTW It is the same engine as used in the current Focus.
 

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