Product Type: Peugeot cars
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1.4 HDi - Definitely worth a look!
Peugeot 206 LX 3-door in general
Member Name: mrbeck
Peugeot 206 LX 3-door in general
Date: 10/06/02, updated on 11/04/03 (6635 review reads)
Advantages: Reasonably swift, Great handling, quiet engine
Disadvantages: loud road noise
For the last three months now I have been the proud owner of a 206 LX 1.4 HDi, and I have covered just under 7000 miles on a combination of motorways, country b-roads and town driving with between one and four bodies on board. My car is the new LX specification (which now includes front fog lights, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights), and I have added a rear spoiler.
I can only say that this little car performs admirably, regardless of what you ask of it.
The 1.4 common-rail turbodiesel engine has 68BHp and 115lb/ft of torque available at 2000rpm, so when you need to pull away from something you can do so easily. On paper, the 1.4 petrol is faster but in real-world driving the immediacy of the torque delivery on the HDi means that it feels quicker.
The one small problem with all that torque appearing at 2000rpm is that you can get wheelspin in first gear as the needle hits 2000 if you're a little heavy-footed. Not really an issue, you may think. Well, no, it isn't. But how about when you plant your foot in second gear round a moist corner? Yep, wheelspin at 2000rpm again. It's quite fun really, as long as you don't panic. :0)
All 206s come with independent suspension all-round, and you can certainly feel it when you are accelerating out of a tight bend (in the dry). It is very competent and I have even managed to out-accelerate a sports motorcycle round a favourite tight corner! Even with the odd bit of wheelspin, the car is still perfectly stable. This, coupled with direct and accurate steering makes for a very enjoyable drive.
On motorways, the 206 1.4 HDi is comfortable at 60mph but wants to be pushed a little harder. Engine noise is almost nothing, but road noise is a little on the high side on rough surfaces.
The car easily pushes on to 70mph, and the little diesel engine is much happier here. It thrums away gently in a way that suggests it could carry like this all day, but wants t
o be pushed a bit more. The engine noise is still very low.
Press on again to 80mph, and the car is starting to feel in its element now. Again, it is confident at this speed and there is plenty of power left to out-accelerate a suddenly-slowing lorry on a hill. Engine noise is still unobtrusive.
Driving at 90mph will begin to stretch the little motor, particularly if it has a full tank of fuel. Although still reasonable, the engine noise is definitely noticeable now and is telling you not to keep this up all day. Having said that, the handling remains much the same and is still light and direct.
The handling remains much the same when travelling at speeds in excess of 90mph.
As for economy, it is excellent. Thrashing about town and then hammering down the motorway will still return an absolute minimum of 46 miles per gallon, and a little sensitivity with the throttle will see the fuel economy rocket into the low 60s. I recently pootled all the way to Inverness from south-east London, a journey of some 700 miles. The car managed a magnificent 62mpg. I could have driven all the way there on one tank of fuel (except that I wasn't that brave).
As for the cabin, it is reasonably spacious in the front and well laid out. All the central-console buttons are easily reached without stretching, and the seats remain comfortable even on long journeys. The automatic headlights can be a bit over-zealous, sometimes switching on when driving underneath a motorway bridge, but they do work. The rain-sensing wipers are excellent for dealing with frequent showers or overtaking lorries on wet roads (spray), but they do get a bit overwhelmed when there is a sustained heavy burst of rain. Since they are easily over-ridden, this is not really a problem. The automatic headlights also have a simple override.
All in all, there are only a couple of points that I am unhappy with. Firstly, the wipers wipe the wrong way across the windsc
reen. This is really just me being picky, as visibility is still
fine on the drivers side anyway. Secondly, the handbrake is on the wrong side of the transmission tunnel (ie, closer to the passenger), but again it only takes seconds to get used to and is just me being picky. Thirdly, the rear space is not very good at all. I am only 5'10", and yet there is virtually no leg room behind me. Although this is only to be expected, it does become tiresome when ferrying people around. Lastly, it is no longer accurate to call the car's brain the "engine management system". Really, it should now be called the VCMU (vehicle control & monitoring unit), because it does so much. It checks that the radio is registered to the vehicle, it checks that none of the doors are open (and tells you which one if any are), it checks that you're not having an impact and if you are it deploys the airbags (after checking that the seat is not too far forward), it thinks about how hard it is raining (even with the auto-wipe switched off, it adjusts the wipe speed depending on how fast you are travelling), it thinks about how light it is, it works the horn when you ask it, it works your main beams when you ask it, it checks and displays the engine oil level for you, it remembers how much fuel you had when you turned the ignition off, it works the rear-wash wipe when you ask it to, it opens the drivers window all the way or closes it all the way (usually when you don't want it to), it turns the cabin-light on and off, all the while monitoring and adjusting the engine to run at its best. All of these functions, out of one little box. It worries me that something may go wrong with the wiper system, and the car could end up needing an entirely new unit. However, this is a risk on all modern cars, and the risk is very slight. I called a repair garage about the costs on the unit, and was told that in the course of a year they might fit five engine management units, a
nd they usually see approximately forty cars a week. So the risk is tiny, and the likelihood of a problem on a Peugeot is apparently less than some other car manufacturers.
After all, Peugeot are considered to make the most reliable diesel engines currently on sale in the UK
(yes, even more reliable than VW).
All in all, the 206 LX HDi is well worth a look.
10/04/2003 - Just a quick update.... the car has now done over 25,000 and there is still not a squeak or rattle from the cabin. I tell people this and they seem a bit surprised... apparently the 206 interior build-quality can be a bit hit-and-miss. But, as I say, over 25k on the clock and the cabin is a silent as it was when I picked it up from the garage.