You may remember the sliding doors of old post-office vans and milk floats, but there has never been a small hatchback with sliding doors before. But that is what the new Peugeot 1007 has, and they're electrically operated too. What makes them better?
Think about parking in a supermarket car park, or any other place where your car is tight-packed against the vehicle beside it, and your struggles to exit through the gap. The space will be narrow because you can't open the door fully, and getting out will be difficult - and a real battle if you have bags in your hands. Aboard this Peugeot, though, you'll have no trouble, because the door will slide out of the way in the narrowest of spaces. And it's big enough to make getting to the 1007's rear seats pretty easy too. Brilliant. Well, almost: there are disadvantages.
The doors take five seconds to open, and six to close (it takes the door time to suck itself shut against its seal), which is a surprisingly long delay and downright annoying if it's raining. They add substantially to the cost of making the 1007 - the range starts at £10,850, which is not so cheap for a city car - and its weight, too, dulling its performance noticeably. The (pricier) 1.6 litre diesel is perkier than this 1.4, and the better buy if you'll be doing long distances.