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After many happy years with the Renault Megane coupe (see previous op!) it was time to trade in and get something a bit newer.
After looking at many, many cars, we finally chose the Peugeot 206 1.4 LX (although Ciao call it a 1.3?) okay, it's a 1360cc engined car. Let's not split hairs eh?
We opted for a 2000 W reg automatic 3 door in metallic blue, and picked one up from our local Peugeot dealership for a bargain £6,495, with 26,000 miles on the odometer (wow, what a great word!). True, you can pick them up a little cheaper, but finding an automatic can be difficult at the best of times, unless you're buying a Jaguar of course, and finding one in as good a condition as ours is even trickier. We did play off the local car supermarket with the Peugeot main dealer to get a better trade-in price on the Megane, and would strongly recommend doing this to get the right car for the right money. There's plenty of rivalry between the car supermarkets and dealers, so take your time and be a bit bold!
Anyway, on with the op...
*** Exterior ***
Aesthetically pleasing little car, curvaceous yet somehow slim, prim and proper, it does look the part. No alloys as standard, but the wheeltrims aren't at all tacky. We do intend on swapping them for a set of alloys, as soon as Ciao have coughed up enough cash! The bonnet louvres give it a sportier appearance than the likes of the Focus, and those big bug-eye headlamps set the front end off nicely. There's plenty of after-market styling accessories if you're that way inclined, including various bodykits and spoilers, but we'll keep our's the way the manufacturer intended. Please be warned, this is an extremely popular car, so don't be surprised if you see a dozen or more of them on your way to the shops! Score: 8/10.
*** Interior ***
Just the usual plastic moulded dashboard that dominates the front of the car, neither particularly pleasing nor otherwise, has a kind of snakeskin pattern which is a little bizarre, but perfectly formed and functional. The standard radio/cassette player and two front speakers/tweeters are fine, but we quickly replaced these with a Sony head unit and some 17cm Pioneer speakers (available from Halfords £44.95). Okay, why is he going on about speakers? Well, it's unusual to get after-market speakers that fit perfectly in a car; many cars will only take custom-fit speakers. So it was a nice surprise that you can easily upgrade the front speakers without shelling out too much dough.
The centre console is full of dips and holes to store things in, although none seem to be the right size to fit anything useful, bit strange really. There's a kind of L shaped thing going on around the handbrake too, but again I'm not sure why.
The seats are smart enough in a nice black colour with flex of red and green, and should sustain the odd spillage quite well. So far they seem durable enough for me (and believe me that's pretty durable!) although, of course, if you intend on eating a Cadbury's Twirl you will get those chocolate smudges on the seat. Score: 6/10.
Rear legroom is surprisingly good, being over six foot tall I could quite easily get comfortable in the back, so long as the driver/passenger seats aren't fully back.
*** Comfort ***
The driver's seat has a number of supports and can go forwards/backwards as well as up/down and reclined, which is quite impressive for a relatively basic car. Electric front windows are standard, as is air conditioning. No sunroof, which is fairly usual these days for cars fitted with air con. The cabin does feel very 'airy' and, as I said before, being quite tall I don't feel at all cramped. There's acres of headroom, so I don't leave gel residue on the roof lining. Score: 7/10.
*** Security ***
Factory fit immobiliser as standard, but no alarm. Peugeot dealerships can fit standard alarms for around £120, but I'd recommend going to an alarm specialist who could provide a better alarm (Clifford for example) for a little more. Driver's side airbag as standard, but passenger side optional extra. There is remote central locking, but unusually there's no button inside the cabin to lock the doors. You can do it by depressing the lock on the drivers door, but I would have expected Peugeot to have followed suit with just about every other manufacturer and provided a button close to hand to secure the car. Front and rear crumble zones and side impact bars as usual. Score 4/10.
*** Running Costs ***
Being a group 4 insurance, you'll find this car is nice and easy on your wallet, at the time of writing this review I surfed over to Elephant (www.elephant.co.uk) for a quote, and it looks a little like this:
27 year old married female, 5 years NCD, doing 12,000 miles a year: £330 fully comprehensive.
Not bad eh?
Fuel economy is not brilliant, as this car is an automatic, but it's still good for 42-50mpg depending on how it's driven, of course.
As it's under 1500cc, you'll only get stung £110 for 12 months road tax, so there's another small blessing!
Servicing is where it comes into it's own. Intervals are 2 years or 20,000 miles, and the average cost of servicing from a Peugeot main dealer is around £175! Bargain. You can also have the car checked for free after 10,000 miles, so make sure you demand this from your Peugeot dealer when you're buying the car.
There is also a 5 year paintwork warranty, and a 1 year parts/labour warranty that even covers your stereo, so long as the car is serviced at the correct intervals by a Peugeot main dealer. Score: 9/10.
*** Driving ***
Okay, I think I've just about covered it all now, but how does it drive? Well, I should point out here that my own car is a Saab 93 automatic, so I do have a fair bit of experience with an automatic, and have something to compare it to. The gearbox is set-out in a left - down - left - down - right - down - right - down - left kind of fashion. I may have lost many people now, so I'll attempt to explain that a little better: With many auto's, you go straight down from Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, 3, 2, 1. With the Peugeot instead of going straight down the gears, you have to move the 'gear stick' across each time to and then go down to select the gear. Hope this makes sense!
It's acceleration is acceptable for a 1.4, but not as quick as many of it's rivals, however the kickdown (fully depressing the accelerator) does give it some oomph. When you're deccelerating you do feel the engine slowing the car down more than you do with some other autos, and this can be quite scary. I found I had to brake quite hard at times, then the car will suddenly slow it's self down and you end up lurching a little. This may just be lack of experience with this car, and hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon!
Engine and road noise is quite apparent in the cabin, but not off-putting, although I'd imagine the diesel derivative could be quite tractor like. The ride is soft and comfortable, even on longer journeys, but at the same time the cornering is excellent, a perfect balance.
All the controls are easily to hand, so you won't find yourself groping for the windscreen wiper controls, but the electric window buttons are situated somewhere down that centre console I spoke about earlier, and you do have to fumble around to find them. It would have been alot easier if Peugeot had put these on the door where they belong! Also the wing mirrors, whilst heated, are not electric, and if you need to adjust the passenger side mirror you'll need to stretch right over to do it - not good if you're on the M25!
Overall, it's a satisfactory drive, but nothing to write home about. Score: 5/10.
** Equipment Levels (Standard) **
Electric windows Heated wing mirrors Air conditioning Radio/cassette Driver's airbag Remote central locking Immobiliser
** Summary **
I do like this car; it's economical, fun, comfortable and safe. Although I believe it's better looking that the Ford Focus, it may not be as much of a 'driver's car'. Well put together, with no signs of interior falling apart yet, and no rattles to report. If anything changes I'll be sure to update this op!
Thanks for reading, any comments greatly appreciated.
Our neighbour has one of these, as does her son. They're really smart looking little cars I think and as we'll soon be in the market for something small that'll be handy for use around town, your review was helpful. ~Sharon
Ophelia 11.06.2003 18:06
Not bad little cars! Excellent review.
AlexW 05.06.2003 00:49
Great op and thats not bad legroom wise, on the looky for my first car and DH is 6ft5 so needs plenty of space :) Alex