Brent Co / Brent Co | August 10, 2003 00:00
If looks could killThe history of the lion marque Peugeot as an automobile producer dates back over one hundred years ago to 1889, when Armand Peugeot first presented his cars at the Universal Exhibition. More than one hundred years later, a champion is born in the form of the 206 which swept through the World Rally Championship crown for three straight years from 2000-2002, following on the footsteps of its predecessor the 205, a two-time world champion. The best selling Peugeot ever, has been described as a small car with a great character. The five door hatchback Berline version packs the same enthusiasm as its 3-door brother.
The 206 was introduced to the local market as a 5-door hatchback in September of 2003 following the comeback of the marque to the Philippine market after 40 years of absence. The car features intergrated foglamps in the front bumper, and 14-inch aluminum alloys wrapped with Pirelli P3000 tires, added to an absolutely sleek body style that would definitely catch one's eye.
Standard entertainment features an in-dash single DIN AM/FM radio with CD player and 4 standard speakers. The glove box features extra storage spaces for eyewear, cups, coins, etc., not commonly found in many cars. Unfortunately, it cramps up too much space for the passenger if you leave it open. The car could've been better off with the cupholders in the center console. The front passenger seat doubles as a table when folded down with stowage underneath. Foldaway 2/3-1/3 split rear seats are standard. Electric mirrors and keyless entry system are some of the added creature comforts for the car. Finding the engine bonnet level was a bit hard at first, as it was hidden away below the dashboard near the clutch pedal.
The car feels good going through the mostly bumpy Metro Manila roads, steering response was very good while maneuvering through traffic. The compact sized car felt light and making driving in busy roads more of an enjoyable experience rather than a chore. The front seats seem to be a bit lacking in width. The 175/65/R14 Pirelli P3000 tires provided a good enough amount of grip and delivered minimal road noise. The best part I liked about the car was its compact size which enabled me to drive through tight alleys with ease and park on those tiny parking spaces where I normally couldn't fit my daily driver. Air-condition was good enough to provide cooling under the hot sun.
The car is equipped with a 1.4-liter engine capable of producing a maxium power output of 90hp@5,500rpm and 120Nm of pulling power at 2800rpm. The engine runs smoothly as you drive it through different engine speeds. Throttle response is good making the car feel zippy as the car snakes through traffic. The well spaced gear ratios maintained power and torque throughout different engine speeds.
Transmission is a different story as it feels totally out of sync and the gear shifter feels very inaccurate. Shifter feels becomes worse as you can feel the whole car on low engine speeds. Not quite expected on a car which has a racing heritage. I was expecting a notchy and accurate shifter feel.
Suspension performance is very admirable as it takes corners with ease sans the body roll and absorbed bumps and holes on the road with ease producing a comfortable ride.
Overall, the selling point of the car would be its looks and if you're looking for a compact hatchback with a decent interior space and that European touch, then the Peugeot 206 is definitely for you. Expect the price to speak in its native French tongue as well at a retail price of Php748,000.