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It's been a long time coming but I have finally got my hands on a decent car with speed!
About the car *****************
Model: Peugeot 206 GTi Engine size: 1997cc Petrol Year of registration: 03 (53 plate) Colour: Moonstone Doors: 3dr Bhp: 138bhp Insurance group: 14 0-60: 8.0 seconds Mpg: 28-30
The Look *************
I think if you are going to own a 206 it really needs to be moonstone (silver/blue), silver or black as I don't think other colours suit the car at all. You can get a burnt orange colour which stands out but I opted to go for moonstone, which is described as silver on your logbook. I have certainly not purchased a GTi to become a boy racer and this is why I am not bothered that my car doesn't have a rear spoiler. The way I see it is that the less attention is brought to your car the better and although most GTi cars come with a spoiler, mine doesn't but it still looks incredibly good. What makes the car stand out is the colour coded bumpers and side trims. As they are the same colour as the car, they blend in nicely and don't look tacky in comparison to the black plastic you get on non-colour coded Peugeots and they are also metallic. The black wing mirrors look stunning on this car, which are again metallic and not plastic. The look that I like most about newer 206s is that the headlights are more clear and transparent and look crystallised compared to the frosted glass look you get on older models. Of course a GTi wouldn't be complete without a nice set of alloy wheels and this car has some lovely 16" low profile Goodyear tyres which surround the very nice looking 9 spoke silver alloys. Having only 3 doors make the car look sporty in comparison to my old car which was a 5 door and from every angle you look at this car it looks amazing. Looking at the front of the car you will notice that the grill stands out more than a standard 206 and the circular fog lights really compliment the headlights.
The Interior ***************
My previous car had polyester seating which doesn't look the most attractive but it was easy to clean. I'm glad that this GTi comes with a half leather interior with chrome door handles and gear knob and the front doors have very nice grey suede material on them to help match the chrome and this looks really good. The front seats are more moulded to the shape of a bucket seat than a conventional 206 providing extra comfort when driving. I've certainly noticed that this has helped with my back problems when driving for long periods as I no longer get back pain so this has only benefited my own health. As for the rest of the interior such as the dashboard, this is pretty much the same as a standard 206 which looks like black plastic with goose pimples.
Some people are put off by this but I don't see a problem with it myself. Yes they could have improved the look of the dashboard but there's not a lot wrong with the way it is as its hard wearing and scratch proof. The steering wheel is another part of the interior that has leather around the outside of it where you grip the wheel which makes it more comfortable when handling as the part that you grip is thicker than the standard. It also has a moulding for your thumbs to slot nicely into them but this is only comfortable if you steer correctly, which I don't! One noticeable difference with 206 cars registered in the last few years is that the aerial has been relocated to the rear of the vehicle. It looks better in this position but I tend to get interference on Radio1 in particular. In contrary to older models that have a very large hazard warning light switch, this one is split in two with the left button activating the central locking from inside the car. Just to top it all off the door bases have a nice metal Peugeot plate which you can see when the door is open which is a nice touch. I know from past experience with other 206s that this base tends to get scuffed and scratched easily when getting in and out of your car making it look shabby so this metal plate helps protect against that as it is more robust than the standard metallic frame. Down in the driver foot well you will also notice metal clutch, brake and accelerator pedals which is another smart edition but they can be a bit slippery if you miss the rubber parts of the pedal if its been raining so wipe your shoes before driving.
Looking at the rear of the car you will notice that the brake and fog lights are red and not transparent, which I think can be improved by getting a nice set of Lexus style lights which are see-through. As the Peugeot light bulbs are coloured, i.e. red for braking and orange for indicating, you just slot these back into the Lexus lights. However, some insurance companies class this as a non-standard modification meaning you could be forced to pay an extra few quid on top for your policy. Likewise the rear fog light can be unclipped and swapped for a transparent one and it is fully road legal.
Paying particular attention to the speaker system in the car i've not known anything like it. It seems that you can turn up the volume as high as you like on CD player and your speakers will never blow. For a car that doesn't have a sub fitted to the system, the sound is excellent. You don't get that tinny sound when its on full volume and the stylish side speakers on the door pannels look great.
The Features *****************
The GTi comes complete with Air conditioning and climate control which is great for added comfort in hot weather. Climate control is new to me as this is the first car I've owned with this feature. I've noticed it does use up a bit extra fuel but this is a small amount compared to having the air conditioning on for a lengthy period. The other benefit of having climate control is not having your windows steam up ever again. Particularly in wet weather you tend to get differing temperatures inside your car which mist up your windscreen, but by having the climate control set to a specific temperature then the windscreen stays clear and you don't have the problem of having to continually adjust your heating and doing the windows down a fraction.
As you get a digital display unit you are provided with basic information on temperature (climate control and outside), air blower speed and direction, time, date, radio station, information on miles per gallon, remaining fuel levels and indicators to show when automatic wipers are activated or when fuel is low. The display also tells you when there is ice on the windscreen but this isn't really that useful as you can see this yourself when you get into your car.
The feature I love the most is the automatic lighting. When the car detects that the light isn't sufficient for normal driving conditions then your sidelights or headlights will come on automatically within seconds of turning the ignition. This is great for when you drive through tunnels where you often forget to use them. This would also be a useful feature to the many people I see driving around at night without headlights on! I can't say I've ever done this myself as its second nature to turn on your lights in the dark and fasten your seatbelt but I guess it helps. Obviously, it does not turn on your main beam headlights in complete darkness as this would be dangerous, especially for oncoming cars. This is best left for manual interaction.
Electric front windows come as standard with a GTi but the back windows, being a 3 door car are ones that you push out using a clip that only partially open.
The GTi I purchased came with a factory fitted radio/CD player with 6 disc multi-changer. The CD changer is situated in the boot in its own concealed compartment. One word of caution is that if you fit your own CD player you may need to purchase an extra adaptor to function the CD changer unit.
An Immobiliser and alarm comes as standard with the deadlock on the key fob activating them when the car is locked. Once this is set you will notice a red light flashing on the dashboard near hazard light switch.
Performance & Price **************************
You certainly don't buy a 206 GTi without loving the price/performance ratio. I paid £6000 for my car and for what you get for that price is value for money. The car is quick off the mark and has awesome acceleration and when you put your foot down it doesn't half fly. I can only imagine what the speed of a 206 GTi 180bhp is like after driving my car but this is 3 insurance groups higher!
The power steering on the GTi obviously makes it easy to handle, especially when going round corners but by having low profile tyres with alloys, the car tends to follow the road more vigorously which can sometimes pull you into uneven surfaces but this is normal. The GTi grips the road much better than my previous 206 but this could be largely down to the Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres.
One thing I would suggest when filling up with petrol is that you don't go to your local supermarket as the performance difference is very noticeable. Shifting through lower gears quickly, whilst accelerating seems to be a much tougher job. Whether this is due to it being watered down or just having a lower Octane amount I don't know but you can certainly feel the difference. This is no exaggeration, as when you fill the car with Esso, Shell or BP petrol the improvement is almost instant if you have filled up from an empty tank. I guess if you are looking to save money and get your Petrol at places like Tesco then you will still get a decent performance just not as good as it can be. To get an even better performance I would recommend using super unleaded petrol which is about 6/7p more expensive per litre. This contains a higher level of Octane which is must for performance cars, but with today's prices you may want to think twice and just keep this to the odd occasion but you do get a good deal for the extra cost as it is supposed to be better for your fuel tank as it contains a cleaning agent which gets rid of all the crap and adds a few extra horse power.
If you drive conservatively then you can easily get about 30mpg but if you race around everywhere then this feels more like 25mpg. Ultimately if you want a car to get the most out of the fuel you put in then you wouldn't be buying a GTi in the first place as you would be better off getting a Diesel car.
I've calculated that on average I probably spend an extra £240 a year on petrol and an extra £150 a year on insurance (group 14). However, the car is cheaper to tax than my 1.6 206 that I used to have as the price is calculated on C02 emissions for cars made after 2001 and not the engine size.
If you're looking for a decent priced car with a bit of speed then this is the car for you, but if you're looking to save your pennies then you might want to stay clear. I don't really think about how much extra it costs to run per year as the way I see it, if you get an increase in your annual salary then this usually goes a long way to compensating for the difference. I had been looking to get a GTi for some time before I got my hands on mine so I would certainly recommend getting one purely based on the performance and comfort benefits. However, we already know it costs more to run but it is also not a family car and if you have a child it could be very annoying having to pull down the passenger seat every time to get your child in the back.
Ah, that takes me back. My wife and I used to have 306 XSi which also had the 2 litre engine and drove superbly. It only had two doors though, so when our first baby came along we changed it for a Renault Laguna, which wasn't exactly in the same performance league but was far more practical.
martinwi 21.04.2008 14:20
A great review. Interesting that you (or your car at least) notices the difference between the local shops petrol & the national garages. Martin.