206 - The story of the "Enfant Terrible"
The heir of the 205, the supporting column of Peugeot's history
I don't know who you are, I don't know where you live, I don't know your tastes in terms of cars, but I know for sure that you have seen this car at least one time. On public roads or on a rally stage the 206 showed the world its 'smiling' front and its many qualities that made it one of the best Peugeots ever made.
1994 - The beginnings
In early 90's after a bright and successful decade, Peugeot's engineers decided that the 205 should have a heir, but first they spent years studying the market. The 306 and the 106 were struggling to cope with the blazing new cars such as the VW Golf, the Fiat Punto and the Opel/Vauxhall Astra and the 205 was too old. So in 1994 engineers started to project a brand new car to fight their rivals and 4 years later, the 206 was born
Photo credits: www.wikipedia.com
1998 - "THE ENFANT TERRIBLE"
The 206 made his first appearance at Paris International Car Show in 1998, it was introduced as "Enfant Terrible" (terrible child) because of its rebellious nature, in fact its aggressive headlights, the front bumper, the front grille and the small size make it look like a terrible kid planning to make pranks.
At the debut, the 206 range had hydraulic power steering, driver side airbag as standard and a choice between 4 engines:
- 1.1L TU1, 60hp
- 1.4L TU3, 75hp
- 1.6 TU5, 90hp
- 1.9 DW8, 68hp
2000 - THE EVOLUTION
Proof that the 206 could stand the competition with German and Italian rivals, two years after the debut, it was time to build a GTi version in order to dominate its segment like the 205 GTi did nearly 20 years before. This meant putting a 2.0 L, 136hp engine under the bonnet and 15" wheels. The same year Peugeot launched also a GT version with the same engine, 16" wheels and a more aggressive bodywork, actually this was the base of the rally car that won the World rally championship 3 times.
Photo credits: www.gumtree.com
2003 - RESTYLING
In 2003 Peugeot decided that the Enfant Terrible needed a new style, more contemporary and an updated range of engines. The result was a new set of lights and a new rear bumper designed to look like the GTi model, and they ditched the old 1.9 litres Diesel engine and replaced it with a 1.4 HDi developping nearly 70 HP.
I had the pleasure to drive this model, it is brilliant, very agile and the right size for every occasion; the only drawback are the injectors (they didn't work properly sometimes) and the electronics (for the same reason of the injectors)
Back in those days, the Renault Clio 2.0 16v RS was the dominant French Hatchback, clearly at the Raging Lion's house wanted to beat them, so the 206 RC was born; with its 2.0 litres 177 HP engine, 17" alloy wheels and a top speed of 234 km/h it was ready to compete against the Clio and other european Hatchbacks
Photo credits: www.newstreet.it
In 2004 the engine range become wider with a 1.4 16 valves Petrol and the 1.6l HDi common rail Diesel engine developping 109 CV
2005 and 2007 - THE END OF THE ENFANT TERRIBLE
In 2005 the 2.0 GTi was dismissed and, with the 207 coming up later in the year, Peugeot made a massive advertsing work to keep the sales high. This actually was a Grand Finale for the Enfant Terrible wich saw its models reduced to a 1.4 75HP Diesel and a 1.4 Turbo Diesel 68HP engine.
In 2007 the SW and the CC were dropped in favour of the 207, the last 206 was the 206+, the junction between the 206 and the 207, the front-end was a copy of the 207 and it had only 2 engines in the range: a 1.1 Petrol developping 60HP and a 1.4 HDi with 68 HP
And that was all, in Peugeot's assembly lines in Poissy and Mulhouse there wasn't the Enfant Terrible anymore
As I said before, I drove the 206 for a year before moving to my dad's 2008, I can guarantee that it makes you smile every time you drive it, even if you have to do a few miles to buy some milk. It's agile and the throttle response is still good after almost 15 years. It's the perfect car for a learner, in fact I learnt how to drive in my mum's 206, it has the right size and the right power for every occasion, from the daily commute to the fast drive for fun (it's also perfect for handbrake turns, in case you're wondering). In all its life it had some issues with injectors and ECU, but it's still alive! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT, it's still my favourite car despite I don't drive it anymore (I called it "My little Rocket")
MY LITTLE ROCKET
To conclude my article I leave these videos from You Tube: a funny advert and some rally (it hasn't got an exhaust, it has a shotgun!)