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Peugeot 206

206

Peugeot logo1 Sep 1999

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

Peugeot belatedly replaced its loved 205 model with the 206 in the late '90s, and managed to make an even bigger success of it – in part because of the superb styling inside and out.

Released locally in September ’99, three three-door and five-door models arrived – in 67kW/137Nm 1.6-litre SOHC 8V four-cylinder engined XR and better-equipped XT, as well as 102kW/194Nm 2.0-litre DOHC 16V GTI.

All bar the latter were partnered with a four-speed automatic as well as a five-speed manual gearbox.

But the GTI, after an initial flush of excitement, proved unworthy of its illustrious 205 GTI predecessor, primarily because Peugeot added extra weight, equipment and safety to a larger and more refined package.

At least it was not as hairy to drive. A flood of 206 derivatives then followed.

A sprightlier 1.6 featuring DOHC and 16V technology lifted XR and XT outputs to 82kW/147Nm from early ’01, followed by a new entry-level model from March ’02.

Featuring a new 55kW/120Nm 1.4-litre engine, it was put into the XR five-door hatch and priced under $20,000.

A small facelift featuring new trim, extra safety features (more airbags, standard ABS brakes), a Tiptronic-style shift on automatics and redesigned tail-lights, was incorporated from March ’04, while the GTI 180 supplemented the regular version.

With extensively reworked steering, suspension and 1997cc engine (now producing 130kW/202Nm), it brought sharper dynamics and more performance to the once-great variant – but Peugeot’s decision not to install lift-off oversteer infuriated purists.

Special editions of regular 206s included the well-specified XRS 1.6 (from mid-’01 and mid-’03), as well as the GTI Rallye of late ’02 – identified by a body kit and extra kit.

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