2001 Peugeot 206 LX 1.1
The 206 is a lot of fun to drive and I'd consider buying one of the better models
I didn't have it long enough to tell. It was a hire car that I drove for two weeks in the Alps, but I hire cars regularly and so have a lot of experience to compare it to. The mountainous conditions meant it was put through the paces pretty thoroughly.
Many reviewers complain of the poor driving position, but this should be no problem as the seats are so adjustable. If the steering wheel seems too far away, can't people just move their seat closer?
However, a major design flaw is that the thick windscreen struts are positioned in exactly the place to obscure your vision at junctions. This really spoils one of the best features of the 206 - which is that, since you cannot see the bonnet from the driving position, and because the windscreen is so large, the car seems to 'fall away' when you are driving. The sensation of driving a windscreen rather than a machine comes to an abrupt halt when you are nearly crashed into by unseen BMWs coming from left and right as you make a turning. It's also more difficult to park a windscreen than a car where you can see all the edges...
Another annoying feature is that the long dashboard forms half the crumple zone, and Peugeot decided to give the plastic a mottled finish that reflects in the windscreen and makes it look dusty in sunny weather.
A common gripe which has no foundation (again, at least on left-hand drive cars) is that the pedals are poorly positioned. They seemed perfect to me.
The steering is extremely light at speed, and I was driving with a passenger and two sets of heavy luggage to add weight. It gets quite frightening over 70. The 2 litre model must be terrifying. That said, the steering's not all that much lighter than the 306's. Conversely, this means the 206 handles city streets marvellously, and the turning circle is almost as tight as a London black cab's. You'll never have to do a three-point turn in a 206. On the whole, if you don't like breaking the speed limit then you'll probably love the car's steering.
The general level of comfort is very high. The 206 glides along on good roads, though it can seem a different car on rougher surfaces. The cabin is superb: airy and spacious with plenty of legroom even with backseat passengers. The air conditioning system was first-rate too.
Performance was not great, but this was only a 1.1 litre car. The lack of power was never a problem even in mountain ranges because the gearbox was so slick - easily the best I've ever used. This is a big improvement if you've driven a 306 and been given tennis elbow by the notches after a long day's driving. For the first few days I thought it had a bigger engine and had to open the bonnet and consult the manual before I believed it was only a 1.1.
Strangely, you can only see a couple of car lengths behind you in the rear view mirror no matter how you adjust it. The back end of the roof slopes downward and cuts off the view. But you soon learn to rely on the wing mirrors which are a good substitute. It's a small car and it doesn't seem to have such a thing as a blind spot.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 6th August, 2001