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Peugeot 206 1.4 GLX



FICKLE thing, memory. At Fleet NewsNet we look back fondly on what a great little car the Peugeot 205 was. Ah, yes. Those wonderful 1.6 and 1.9-litre GTis. And that 1.4 XS - brilliant package: sharp handling, cracking little engine, fun, fun, fun, bags of street chic. While there are road-testers here who can also remember the launch of the Austin Allegro as if it were yesterday, there's been unanimous feeling among the sagging and the firmly fleshed that the 206 doesn't hold a candle to what for many was the supermini of the Eighties.

In 1990, Peugeot dispatched the 205, believing the 106 and 306 would soak up leftover demand between them. Then, along came a whole logjam of compacts, led by the sexy Renault Clio and followed by a revamped, classy Volkswagen Polo, and a born-again Ford Fiesta range featuring Zetec engines.

If only the 205 had been upgraded rather than scrapped? Well, it wasn't. And as far as Peugeot was concerned the gap it left wasn't a significant one. What happened instead was rather than rushing out a 205 replacement and allowing it to evolve with other supermini developments, the company devoted four years and รบ630 million to getting the 206 right from launch and to reset segment benchmarks.

And is the result better than a 205?

Of course it is. It's a totally different, completely new car. And this writer is able to make a real life comparison between the old and the new rather than relying on fading memory - he has a 205 1.4 XS parked on his drive. But has Peugeot got the 206 right from the start?

Not quite. We think there's more work to be done at the company's Ryton plant in Coventry before the 138bhp 16-valve 2.0-litre GTi and 90bhp 2.0-litre HDi diesel join the 1.1 (60bhp), 1.4 (75bhp) and 1.6 (90bhp) petrol and 1.9-litre (70bhp) diesel in three to four months' time.

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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