Car Reviews: Peugeot 206 1.6 HDi GTi – The AA

16 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Car Reviews: Peugeot 206 1.6 HDi GTi – The AA
Peugeot 206

Car safety


Stylish looks are a common sight but continue to seem fresh Typically agile Peugeot chassis makes for an engaging ride Extensive choice of petrol and diesel powerplants Good, affordable choice for the first time buyer


Mainly black interior can be oppressive on hot days Some modern rivals are more sophisticated Fact that it is a best seller limits exclusivity Peugeot’s reputation for reliability problems not entirely unjustified

Peugeot seems to have stumbled across a winning formula with its 205 replacement, the 206. We aren’t talking about a few meaningless industry awards here; rather this is a car that has been among the most popular in its class for over half a decade. It may not go down in history in the same way as its forebear but this small hatchback continues to be a hit with British buyers.

The UK-built 206 comes with three or five doors as a hatchback, in Coupe Cabriolet guise or in estate form, known as the SW. Its appeal spans all age groups, classes and demographics, which was something Peugeot hadn’t managed since the discontinuation of the 205.

The Coventry charmer comes with an impressive choice of powerplants and there should be something to suit all driving styles, budgets and tastes. There are also more specification levels than you can shake a stick at, ranging from the base level Independence up to the top of the range GTi 180.

While it looks good and comes well equipped, the hot hatch model isn’t as sharp as the old 205 GTi. A cheaper diesel hot hatch is available in the form of the HDi GTi. While this is something that would have been unimaginable in the 205’s era, the poky little oil burner actually makes a lot of sense in today’s climate of high fuel prices and insurance premiums.

That even today the 206 doesn’t give much away to its more modern competitors is testament to how sorted the original design from 1998 actually was.

Our verdict on the Peugeot 206 1.6 HDi GTi

It may be older than much of the competition but the Peugeot 206 still has a fresh and contemporary look that strikes a chord with UK buyers. An extensive powerplant line-up and nimble chassis make it one of the most entertaining small hatchbacks on the market.


Good fuel economy from the diesel unit and right across the 206 range (with the exception of the GTi 180) will make pump rendezvous mercifully infrequent. Although the 180 has a high insurance grouping, the rest of the line-up is much lower, which should keep premium costs down. Average service and repair costs shouldn’t price many potential buyers out of this market.

Space and practicality

There is a surprising amount of legroom in the back, although headroom is rather limited. Being a small hatchback it would be unfair to expect MPV-like practicality from the 206. That said, there is enough stowage to meet the needs of a couple of adults with up to two small children.

A small glovebox and limited in-cabin storage are inconvenient, however.

Controls and display


Car security

Car safety

Dual front airbags with passenger bag cut-off switch, curtain airbags, ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distributor (EBFD), EBD, ESP, ASR, side impact protection, seat belt pretensioners and ISOFIX seat anchors are all standard fitment on the HDi GTi model. Lesser models feature slightly reduced safety kit. Of particular interest to those with small bundles of joy to transport will be the passenger airbag cut-off switch and ISOFIX anchors, which make the fitment of child seats possible.

Driver appeal

Peugeot 206

Over the past three decades Peugeot has developed a reputation as a purveyor of fine handling cars. The 206 with its supple chassis has done little to tarnish this reputation. Driving enthusiasts would be well advised to go for one of the larger powerplants if they’re after real exhilaration although most would agree that the GTi 180 206 has failed to emulate the 205’s former glories.

Family car appeal

First car appeal

Quality and image

The Peugeot badge is slightly more desirable than many in the small hatchback segment, although even the staunchest Pugphile would be hard pushed to label the French firm a prestige manufacturer and keep a straight face. Commendably, the guys behind the Lion Rampant have largely managed to shake-off the ‘Peugeot equals unreliable’ perception, as the firm’s products are far better made today than ever before.


Gaining access to the rear seats is, obviously, easier in the five-door than in the three. The wide bases of the front seats are accommodating and comfortable and positioned so that even the less limber will be able to take up residence. In five door guise all four door apertures are wide enough to make climbing aboard contortion-free.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

Base models are fitted with a cassette player to entice buyers to trade up. From S onwards the 206 is fitted with a CD player, with GTi and GTi 180 versions benefiting from a five-disc changer. The sound quality is good, if not quite among the best.

Monochrome sat nav is an option on models from SE upwards.

The 206 has a nimble chassis that sticks to the road well

Colours and trim

The HDi GTi looks particularly fetching in either Flamenco red or Aegean blue. For other non-performance models Peugeot offers a wide range of snazzy and bizarrely named hues. The half-leather interior in the diesel GTi looks classy and pays homage to its 205 GTi forebear.

Alcantara door inlays are also a welcome change from hard, black plastics.

Peugeot 206
Peugeot 206
Peugeot 206
Peugeot 206
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