I'm a miserable old git.
I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
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206 SW - Reasonable enough, but lacking power
Value for Money
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We recently went on holiday to Cornwall, and rather than face the 12 hour drive from Edinburgh, decided to fly to Exeter, and hire a car.
We ended up with a 206 SW 1.4 - which was a little smaller than what we'd originally ordered, but were reasonably happy with it as basic transport.
Unlike the photo (I hope to add some of the car I got, shortly) this is a five door model.
The car we got had a 1.4 litre fuel injection engine, with power steering and air cnditioning, it wasn't a top priority, but when the temperature climbed to the 30s - that's 90s in old money!, we were more than grateful!
The car itself was described as an 'estate' - I think that was perhaps overstating it - my preference would be to describe it as a 'squareback' - having a 'boxy' back end.
First impressions were that it was reasonably well equipped, the driver's seat had plenty of adjustments - you'd have to be some sort of anatomical freak not to be able to get a comfortable driving position, although the foot well was a little cramped - I have size 9 feet, which aren't massive, but anyone with bigger ones would probably find it a bit difficult at first.
The controls were reasonably well laid out - everything was pretty much where you'd expect.
Something I noticed was the passenger airbag could be disabled by means of a key-switch - airbags are designed to provide protection for fifteen stone adults, - were you to place an infant in a baby seat, and be unfortunate enough for the bags to go off, the resultant impact would be roughly equivalent to throwing them face down on a concrete floor from about twenty feet, so being able to turn it off is a welcome feature!
The interior is sufficiently roomy for a family of 4, although there was rather more plastic compartments/ mouldings for my personal tastes - these tend to encroach on your space - yes they cut the road noise down, and offer a degree of protection, but I just feel it can get a little claustrophobic at times.
The boot was very important to us.
We managed to get a large suitcase, holdall, and several pieces of hand luggage in with reasonable ease. We also got 48 hours provisions on top, although this restricted the view out of the rear window.
On the subject of the rear window -
Most estate cars have a single hinge at the top - and this car was no exception.
The locking mechanism is all-electric, so there's no keys to scratch the tailgate (and is operated either by a switch, or the wireless central locking)
There's an added bonus, however.
The 206 SW has an additional hinge in the rear window - this allows you to get into the boot even if you're parked right up against something.
The only trouble was - one of the gas-supports had broken, and the lid had a tendency to come down on your head!
Closer inspection revealed a slight misalignment of the window, and I wasn't entirely convinced the window seal was entirely up to the job - this may have accounted for the distinct damp smell when we opened the car up every morning (I didn't mention it to the hire company in case I got the blame!)
The boot itself had a flat deck - the spare tyre is slung under the car, rather than sitting in a well - so that limited the quantity if stuff you could stuff into corners, but elasticated luggage nets above the wheel arches were handy for storing small items when the boot was otherwise empty.
Petrol consumption was reasonably frugal, I filled up only a couple of times, and that was over a two week period, driving in excess of 1,000 miles - a tank cost me about £30, but I can't remember quite how much petrol that is, but you work it out!
The downside was, the rolling Cornish Hillside, with steep valley sides meant at times the engine was toiling - and I had to change gear quite often.
On some of the notoriously narrow lanes, I even had to go down to first on a few occasions!
On one especially hot day, the engine was in danger of overheating (too many windy narrow lanes in low gear) and the car started to flash warning lights and bleep at me, but I suppose that was marginally preferable to boiling the coolant!
The CD-radio was adequate, and easy enough to programme - it even had a control stalk on the steering column - one thing I did notice, however, was that after about twenty minutes it went into 'eco mode' and turned off if the engine wasn't running - there's probably some way of disabling this, but I didn't have an instruction book, and the only way to overcome this was to turn the engine over (hardly ecological!)
On balance, I think I'd prefer the 1.6, 1400ccs just wasn't enough, although fuel economy would doubtless suffer.
Build quality was exactly what you'd expect from a European car - nothing rattled, nothing appeared broken, although some of the fittings in the boot looked a little flimsy.
For a cheap to run midrange family car, it would seem reasonable value for money (at around £11,000 for a basic model) but I doubt I'd buy one myself.