Cheap economical run around, but also a closet comfortable continental cruiser!
On purchase... (93000 miles)
Noticeable rusting on front wheel arch rims, though no rust on the chassis or anywhere worrying.
Lack of original wheel wrench (important as you need the 'key' on the handle end to unlock the spare wheel).
Battery lost charge on the Autobahn once in traffic with the fans and stereo on full blast. A simple bump start got us back on the way again. I just have to be careful and switch off unnecessary electronic in jams now.
Minor quirk - uneven acceleration with half throttle in 2nd. Otherwise engine runs smooth as anything.
It's 15+ years old, so I'm awaiting the first of the minor niggles cars get at this age.
As a little graduation present for myself, I wanted to get myself a cheap, cheerful and above all economical run about so I would have something to get around to work, when I got a job. In my research I found that a Pug 205 diesel would best fit the bill, as they had about as good an MPG as you could expect from a bargain basement motor.
For the princely sum of £330, I picked up one that had been taken in P/E from a dealer. The most obvious problem were that the front wheel arch rims were a bit rusty, paint was a bit patchy in places, though no signs of serious corrosion.
Unfortunately the job hunt fell flat on its backside, and I jumped at an opportunity to do an internship in Austria. Only problem was I couldn't leave my car at home due to lack of space. As a motor would be useful down in rural Tirol, I decided to try my luck and drive the Pug on a route of around 1200 miles around Europe to Austria, taking in a few visits to friends in Germany. Friends and family raised their eyebrows, but it made it without any major dramas. Now Austrians raise their eyebrows wondering how such a seemingly dodgy looking motor managed to even get over the Channel, let alone to Austria!
She can comfortably cruise at 70mph and does 80 if needs be without too many complaints. Just to try and find the top speed I managed to push her to 90mph/150 km/h on a downhill slope, though at it was a roasting hot day the temp. warning light came on soon afterwards and went off again as I went back down to a more sensible speed.
If you can stand the tedium of driving at 60 mph, you can get her to do as little as 60 mpg, a real bonus with petrol prices as they are.
If you're after something with a fair bit of welly, then this won't be for you. The GTi model she definitely ain't. She doesn't like accelerating particularly quickly (0-60 takes the best part of 15s), though I'd imagine most people aside from boy racers won't mind this if they're on a shoestring budget.
Handling also deserves a mention. The model came with power steering, which makes general city driving a lot easier and parking a piece of p**s, especially considering how narrow the car is. You can throw this thing around roundabouts at around 30mph, and it handles it way better than any car I've driven from this era. Particularly impressive seeing the tyres are almost skinny as those on Citroen 2CVs! Though in the wet you have to be careful when doing sharp turns at speed and braking, as you skid and lock wheels alarmingly easily on those skinny little tyres.
The car is also very comfortable. Even at 6ft 5 I can drive for hours without feeling cramped or confined, and don't normally get anxious for a rest, quite remarkable for such a tiny car.
If you can find yourself an example with a sound engine that drives well, has under 100,000 miles (the diesel engine is so robust it should be able to do at job even at that mileage) and is free of rust it should prove to be a good buy, even if there are little bits and pieces not working properly or even missing. Most examples of the normally aspirated diesel models are under £500. Car tax is in the higher band due to the 1.7l diesel engine, though you'll easily make up the extra money in saved petrol money, even if diesel costs around 10p/l more.
All in all she's become a very endearing little run about/continental cruiser that has proved to be a very good first car, and was certainly £330 very well spent!
*** UPDATE 4/09 ***
Car failed MOT with a couple of suspension faults and the pipe from the washer tank to the jets came off. £175 was far less than some of the MOT bills my mum's cars have had in the past!
Problem with uneven acceleration solved after an oil change and engine wash. Engine runs smoothly as ever
Completed the 800 mile trip from Austria to England with no problems whatsoever. Fuel consumption still very low - 50 litres got me approx 625 miles = 55+ mpg.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 11th October, 2008