1990 Peugeot 205 GTi 1.9 petrol from UK and Ireland


The pinnacle of the hot hatch


Squeaks and rattles caused by a combination of comedy build quality, cheap materials and 14 years of hard use.

Full suspension and steering rebuild at 140k to eradicate some play and a few odd clonks that were creeping in. I used original parts because you can't improve the handling of these things!

A few odds and ends here and there - a couple of wheel bearings, a clutch, handbrake cable - nothing major.

General Comments:

I just cannot bring myself to sell this car, despite owning it for a decade and 150,000 miles. It's old, it rattles, it needs ongoing repairs, but it's such a hoot to drive I just don't care.

The 1.9 8v engine is laughable bhp-wise by the standards of modern hatches, but in just 800kg of superbly set up chassis, it's a driving tool that has few rivals. The 8 valve design might hamper outright power, but it has far superior torque, meaning the Pug feels quick enough.

And the handling. Oh, the handling! Steering that oozes feel, an absolute refusal to understeer, and an agile, mobile tail which responds to throttle and steering inputs like no other hot hatch before or since. In a 205, the tail can always be called upon to tighten the line or induce a bit of oversteer just for the hell of it, and the whole car has a lithe, agile feel that no 1100kg + hot hatch can touch.

Of all the new rivals I've driven, only the new Clio 182 Cup gets close, but even this will ultimately understeer more, feel less willing to turn, and seem to somehow need coercing more into doing what you want instead of responding almost by telepathy like the Pug does. Once you've taken a 205 GTi to its limit, and beyond on a track or your favourite B-road, be prepared for any likely replacement to spectacularly fail to make the grade.

There are faster hot hatches and there are better built hot hatches, and the new 200 bhp cars would leave it off the lights. However, with the possible exception of the mk1 Golf GTI, this breathed on version of a cheap, tinny, plasticky 14 year old French shopping trolley just somehow captures the spirit of the hot hatch concept better than anything else. Find a good, standard one and prepare to be reminded just how much traction control, ESP, EBD, crash regs and 1100kg+ kerbweights have ruined our fun. Oh and just how far today's Pugs have lost the plot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st November, 2004

7th Sep 2005, 04:02

Has anyone else had problems with water pipes keep bursting on the 1.9 205gti? if so how have you overcome this with out keep replacing them because this becomes an expensive hobby!!! please call me on 07891170521 and ask for Dave thanks for your time!

15th Dec 2005, 03:50

My mum bought her Peugeot 205 GTi in 1989. More commonly known to us as the "pocket-rocket" this car really shifted, helped by the lack of a catalytic converter. Driving it was a pleasure.

However, driving this car was also a pain. I remember quite a few occasions when the car failed when in motion, one time on one of the busiest roundabouts near my house. There were also problems with the leaky sunroof, although this can be a common fault.

If you don't mind forking out for repairs and high running costs (like for Super Unleaded!) then this is the hot hatch of the last millennium.

2nd Jun 2008, 15:58

I would much rather have a 205 GTI, when I think honda I think of a moped.

1990 Peugeot 205 GTi 1.6 from UK and Ireland


The definitive driver's hot hatch


Starter motor failing when purchased.

Clutch needs changing.

Front brakes need changing.

Bolster on driver's collapsing.

Rear suspension squeaking.

Split coolant hoses (x2) and corroded coolant pipe.

General Comments:

Engine is awesome for its size and only 8 valve, gearbox keeps revs high in engine's power band (above 5000RPM to rev limiter) - very close gearing, but short 5th gear is pain on motorway.

Handling is light, sharp and very responsive with very well controlled body roll, will out handle much bigger/sportier cars. However, although it is one of the best handling hatches ever made the handling is not for novices at it's limits, as it's handling is not neutral on the limits - lifting off the throttle brings the rear end tighter into line, but lifting off too much results in the rear end breaking away (many 205 GTi's crash going in the wrong direction!)

Apart from it's performance as a car it's very similar to a normal 205, interior doesn't wear too well under heavy use and can start creaking/rattling, but the car is perfectly practical otherwise.

Steering can be heavy around town esp. if oversized tyres are fitted.

They are perfectly reliable if maintained properly and regularly.

Brakes are very good, but in comparison to the speeds it's capable of and its handling abilities one could say they are not 100% in sync. but that's just my opinion depends how you drive really.

Sometimes you need a blast in the country to remind you of what the car's all about if you spend too much time driving in towns!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2004