Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

MOTORNET: Peugeot Twins Turn On The Charm

Peugeot twins turn on the charm


SCOOP MOTORNET with Karl Ferguson
Images by Neil Mackenzie - onlinefotos.com/neil


Click for big version

Is the 206 GTI the best looking hot hatch of all time? In brilliant cherry red, and despite being more than a little long in the tooth, the little Peugeot looks stunning. Colour coded body mouldings, neat rear spoiler, front fog lights, 17” alloys and chrome exhausts all add to the picture of a sensational looking small car.


Click for big version

Nevertheless, time has hardly stood still on the hot hatch front and the question is; are looks alone enough to ensure the venerable GTi still has a following?

For a small car, it certainly packs a punch in the engine department, sporting a 2.0 litre, 16 valve four cylinder engine that produces a healthy 130kW and 202 Nm of torque at around 4700rpm. That’s 180bhp (as the name suggests) for those who prefer to think in horsepower.

This is an engine that loves to rev and in fact delivers peak power at the 7000rpm redline. It makes a great noise getting there too, willing the driver to push on, the tachometer blurring as the pace increases. Peugeot reckon the GTi will do 0-100 km/h in 7.4 seconds, which sounds about right to me. It certainly has enough in the grunt department to ensure the driver has plenty of fun.

And fun is definitely what you can have pushing the little pocket rocket through corners. It grips the tarmac in limpet like fashion, driving through the twisty stuff like it’s on rails. Steering is typically European – a little on the heavy side for low speed maneuvers like parking, but nicely weighted for faster motoring. Driven hard, it will typically under steer with the nose going wide, but it handles neutrally for the most part.


Click for big version

The five-speed manual has a delightfully short throw which makes gear changes nigh on perfect, but things can get a little buzzy on the highway thanks to the low-gearing, which with effectively no overdrive, requires a fair few revs to trundle along at a modest 100km/h.

That’s not the only problem. The suspension – ironically, the very same set-up that helps ensure sublime ride and handling for spirited driving – is rock-hard around town jarring occupants with little reprieve. It’s hard to imagine anyone finding the GTi a suitable car for the daily commute unless they were true believers.

Fortunately, the excellent sports seats help offset the ride to some extent and do a great job of holding their occupants in one place. The downside is that they are so big, there’s virtually no room for anything else in the tiny interior! Legroom for rear passengers (assuming they can get in the back) is virtually non-existent. Only kids under ten will be comfortable.


Click for big version

Despite the interior materials being a bit on the cheap side, equipment levels are good. Electronic stability programme, six airbags, leather/alcantara trim seats, leather steering wheel, drilled alloy pedals, automatic air-con and a six-speaker stereo impress. Getting behind the wheel doesn’t come cheap though. A slice of the iconic GTi pie will set you back a fairly hefty $39,990. Of course, if you like the idea a lot, but $40k is a bit beyond your budget, never fear, Peugeot now has the more modestly priced 206 Sport on offer.

When I first stepped from the GTi to the 206 Sport, I was genuinely a little apprehensive. Past experience tells me that a 1600cc engine mated to an automatic rarely a happy marriage makes. I shouldn’t have been so quick to judge as with most things in life, there are always exceptions to the rule. In fact, the genuinely eager performance from this car is one of its most attractive qualities. It’s not especially fast mind you, but it’s such a willing trier you tend to overlook the more academic numbers.

Floor the accelerator and the little 206 will pin its ears back and go for the line, the athletic automatic holding the gear until 6000rpm, or just a fraction from the redline. It can be a little buzzy if you’re simply wanting to cruise, the low gearing effectively lacking an overdrive, but for the most part, I think Peugeot have got the mix right. Power comes from a 16 valver that produces 80kW and a healthy 147Nm of torque. NZ Autocar recorded a 0-100km/h time for the Sport of 10.8 seconds which isn’t bad at all.

The four-speed auto comes equipped with a tiptronic (pseudo manual) gearbox which is fun to use, and while it sometimes takes a while to make up its mind re-gear changes, it generally works pretty well. Punting it through corners, it’s fun to use the manual box to help keep things interesting. It handles well too, though not surprisingly, if pushed hard it tends towards under steer like most small front-drivers, but grip is good and there is good body control and turn-in.

In keeping with the theme, the ride is well, sporty. There’s a lot more travel compared with the GTi which considering local roads, is entirely welcome, but neither is it soft. It can get a little jiggly on unbroken surfaces but considering the small size of the car, it’s pretty good, and mercifully supple after the GTi experience.

It doesn’t quite have the looks of its two door sibling, but nevertheless, it is still a very attractive car. Peugeot have added to the appeal by including body moulding, 15” alloy wheels and a subtle but distinctive rear spoiler. On the inside, sports seats and some faux alloy complete the look. Equipment is bolstered too, adding climate controlled air con, leather bound steering wheel, and electric windows. Safety is catered for with dual font airbags and seatbelt pre-tentioners, and standard ABS.


Click for big version

The little 206 can’t hide its age though when it comes to interior packaging. Like the GTi, interior space is at a premium and there is only moderate rear legroom. Fit and finish is only average and frankly, some of the materials are on the plasticky side. For $29,995 the little 206 can be yours.

Despite the premium price on both the Sport and the GTi, few will be disappointed with their purchase, but with competition in the small car segment fierce, a replacement 206 must surely be in the wings. \


Click for big version


Click for big version

***** ENDS *****


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>