Fleet News

Peugeot 206 CC



##pug2cc.jpg --Right##BUSINESS motorists looking for more distinctive transport are likely to help Peugeot achieve its ambition of supplying 10% of all the new cars sold in Britain next year.

For the latest version of the French company's 206 supermini is expected to win significant interest from the fleet sector - despite being an open-top model.

Massive response following the British International Motor Show has already produced more than 1,000 firm orders from retail buyers for the 206 Coupe Cabriolet, an innovative sportster that offers the thrills of wind-in-the-hair motoring with all the security of a fixed-head coupe.

But the clever engineering of the two-in-one car - unique in its sector in having a metal roof that folds and stows itself away in seconds - allows Peugeot to bypass traditional objections to open-top motoring.

'There are sound security reasons why many fleets simply refuse to include soft-top cars on their lists and we fully appreciate their logic,' said fleet and leasing director John Taylor.

'But the CC is different and I'm confident it will win wide approval. While this is obviously not in the job-need car category, it is a vehicle many people would choose rather than have specified for them, especially as the pressure from higher benefit tax persuades high-mileage drivers to trade in large saloons for smaller cars that still reflect an individual personality.'

'After four months of running at a UK market share of around 9%, this could well be the car that finally takes us through the important 10% barrier.'

In the showrooms in January, the CC uses an electro-hydraulic system to lower its roof and then fold it away neatly into the top half of the boot. Pressing the centre console button again reverses the procedure to bring the top - and all four side windows - back into place in just 32 seconds.

Similar to the metal roof used on the Mercedes-Benz SLK sportscar, the structure consists of two panels, one of which holds the laminated and heated rear window and the rear pillars. In all, it takes five hydraulic jacks to synchronise the various opening and closing sequences of the roof, rear shelf and top flap of the boot. Complete with its stiffened cross members and hydraulic gadgetry, the fully-lined assembly weighs 45kg, and when it is locked firmly into place at each side of the windscreen, it makes the two-plus-two model feel almost as rigid as the regular 206.

From the front seats, the CC offers the same level of comfort as its stablemates, but children are the only passengers likely to have sufficient room in the rear.

It's a snappy performer and retains the dynamic packaging that has made other versions so successful. Delightful in press-on conditions, it feels composed at all times and handles with confidence. But though the car feels much like a saloon with the top in place, its beefed-up windscreen pillars can sometimes restrict vision.

For a car designed to give maximum fun behind the wheel, the CC proves to have a surprisingly practical side to its character thanks to a boot that provides a generous 410 litres of space in coupe mode. Even with the roof structure stowed away, there is still 175 litres of space - enough to take suitcases laid flat.

With a comprehensive spread of equipment fitted as standard, the CC boasts all the upmarket touches to go with its eager performance and attractive lines.

But the company aims to widen the appeal of the car by introducing a 1.6-litre version in the next few months. Featuring a new version of the familiar 1587cc TU unit, it produces 110bhp at 5,750 rpm - 20bhp up on the former motor - and develops 108lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and is not far behind the bigger-engined car when it comes to brisk motoring.

Though the less powerful model has yet to be specified for the UK market, it will offer the option of four-speed automatic transmission.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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