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Used car focus: Peugeot 206 – 1998-2004

Peugeot launched the 206 as a three-door and five-door hatchback range, but it just can’t stop spawning new models.

In 2001 there was the 206 CC, with a folding metal roof that turns it from tin-top to roadster. Then came the 206 SW estate, head-to-head with Fabia in the compact estate market. And summer 2003 saw an uprated GTi with 180bhp, evoking memories of the 205 GTi ‘hot hatch’.

LINE-UP

Base model L has immobiliser, airbag, radio-cassette. LX adds height adjustable driver’s seat, split/fold rear seat. Air-con is standard on GLX. Original 2.0 GTi (137bhp) has ABS, seats in leather and suede effect trim. 2.0 HDi D Turbo (90bhp) was launched in 2000 with PAS, ABS, air-con, remote central locking, elec front windows. Coupe-Cabriolet models have electric front and rear windows, ABS with EBD, PAS and sports seats. SE adds climate control, 16in alloys and side airbags. SW estates were introduced in 2002.

DRIVING PERFORMANCE

Spiritual successor to the 205? Probably not, but 206 has excellent ride and handling. Nippy performance and compact size mean it’s well suited to town, though just as happy on the motorway. Minus points are its awkwardly set pedals, unsupportive seats and light steering at speed.

COMFORT

Good use of space and generous interior room make the 206 family-friendly. The SW is a practical small estate with useful extra load space – but with few around, there are few bargains to be had. The CC is a 2+2-seater but even children can find the rear seats restricted.

ENGINES

The base 1.1 and 1.4 are frugal and fun, but the 1.1 isn’t a good choice for longer journeys. The 1.4 is a big seller, as it’s ideal for town or the open road. The 1.6 is a fine all-rounder – the 1.6 16-valve from 2000 being more sought after. The 2.0 GTi – with 137 or 180bhp is lively without being race-bred.

Diesels are a Peugeot strength; this it shows in the 206 (except in the 1.9D – an unrefined throwback). In a different class are the 1.4 and 2.0 HDi units – quick, quiet and very economical.

SAFETY

A strong bodyshell helped 206 to a four-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. There is a driver’s airbag plus standard passenger bags from mid-2000; also optional ABS on most cars (standard on sportier 1.6 and 2.0 petrol models). An immobiliser is standard, alarm is fitted on XS and GLX models upwards.

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