Fleet News

Peugeot 206CC 2.0 SE – 5,332 miles



MOST of the Fleet News staff watched the recent TV series Grumpy Old Men and all agreed afterwards that the participants could not hold a candle to yours truly.

Give me a subject – English restaurants, the London Tube, gay bishops, you name it – and I can spit venom with the best of 'em till the cows come home. Bob Geldof might be one of the grumpiest stars of the series, but I could beat him with half my mouth taped up!

Which brings me nicely round to the Peugeot 206CC, a car I have been driving now for the past week and a vehicle in which – in the dull mists of autumn – I can find few merits for the average fleet driver.

Granted, I drove a 206CC in summer and enjoyed the experience. I watched with satisfaction as my friends gaped at the stunning way the roof opened at the touch of a button and folded itself neatly into the boot.

I grinned as I gunned the throttle of the 2.0-litre car and felt the wind blow through what little is left of my hair.

I beamed as the sun beat down on me and I threaded through winding country lanes, pushing the little car to its limits and finding those limits were way past my threshold. But that was then, as they say.

It is now November and I'm looking at this car in a less favourable light. For starters, the roof will not be lowered for at least another six months. All this electronic jiggery-pokery has to be paid for (this car is not cheap), so for about nine months of the year, it is just going to sit there doing nothing.

Secondly, I can't get comfortable. There is not enough adjustment on the steering wheel, so when the seat is in the correct position for my 6ft 3in frame, my arms need to be about nine feet long to reach the wheel.

Thirdly, the pedals are so close together that on two occasions I have slammed my foot on the accelerator instead of the brake, the second time almost resulting in the need for a change of underwear.

And fourthly, once you get two occupants inside, there is just about enough room for a couple of sheets of paper in the back before it is full up. Why Peugeot bothered to put two seats and seatbelts in the rear beats me – no-one but a couple of contortionists could ever sit in them.

My frustration with this car came to a head last weekend when I suddenly realised that my stepladder was missing from its little space in the garage. I wanted it to empty out my loft of all its rubbish and suddenly remembered that I had lent it to my son two weeks ago, when I had an estate car in which to transport it.

The net result is that until I get back into a sensibly-sized vehicle, the ladder must stay where it is and my loft must remain full of rubbish.

To be fair to the 206CC, it does not pretend to be anything but a sassy little sports car and maybe the editor was unwise to give it to an old grouch like me in the first place.

After all, the younger, single element of the Fleet News road test team all seem to like it.

But I am paid to drive all the test cars and therefore feel entitled to have my two pennyworth. Now, about those gay bishops....

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £69 per month

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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