The 206 is a fairly small hatchback built by a french automotive company called Peugeot. Yes, they bought us the 205 GTi and the RCZ, some pretty cool cars. But... Unfortunately they also gave us the 306, 2007 and the 406 etc. Some pretty dreadful cars, but what about their most common car, the 206? Can it really be that bad? Let's find out.
LETS START WITH THE LOOKS:
The 206 has not changed style since it was first produced in 1999 through to 2009, that's ten years of more curves than a spaghetti bolognese. It's not exactly a sight to behold. Granted, there are worse looking cars, The GWizz, Daewoo Matiz and the 405. One positive to its look, is the infamy it has... You know peugeot from a mile away, those headlights which look like badly drawn eyebrows, the grill that makes it look abnormally happy. It gives me that same creepy feeling as when I see a happy person on the underground... It should not be that happy!
Having owned a 206 verve, I can simply say the interior looks like a symphony of plastic. The whole car creaks if I accidentally lean on the centre console and god forbid I put pressure on the airbag holder above the glove compartment. I suppose the 206 is a cheap(ish) car, so we can't be too harsh about a rather shoddy interior. But come on, they could have at least tried?!
THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE
If you ignore the insane amount of body roll, it's not really that bad. I mean, every time you even so much as think about turning the steering wheel, you are out one of the windows and the car is at a 45* angle to the road. Driving wise it is very comfortable and smooth. Really it is the perfect car for someone who has to commute into town for work. That's it! It's geared for 0-30 and 50-60 (In 1st and 5th), but everything in between is just a slow affair. I tried driving it on the motorway and it seemed to cope relatively well at 70 MPH, no real tire roar or wind noise. It's no Mercedes S class, but its better than a tractor. As soon as you start to creep above that speed, it all falls apart, well feels like it's about to. I'm not sure if I just had a dodgy car, but at about 80 I'm pretty sure I was being shaken into submission and the noise from the road suddenly tripled. Moral of the story. If you drive like a granny, it's fine, apart from that it get's quite hairy.
THE FEATURES (SOUND SYSTEM / AIR CON / SAFETY)
My 206 had front and curtain airbags, so it's a tick there for standard safety. They come as standard with a Citreon shared CD player / Tape player (depends on the year of the model), i mean what can I say? It's an in car stereo, there's nothing special about it. The bass is okay and the treble doesn't give me a headache whenever an "S" is sung or said. Personally I upgraded to a Pioneer stereo and Alpine speaker unit... Much improvement. Most 206s come with air-con, but usually if you buy a used one it will either need re-gassing, or it just plain won't. When it does work, it isn't too bad, but you really need the fan on speed setting 3 to feel any benefit. All in all, for the price this car comes pretty well equipped, so well done there.
BACK TO THE QUESTION
So is it really as bad as most people make it out to be? Well it really depends who you are and what you need in a car. If you just want something that will get you from A to B, then it is no worse than any other car in its price bracket, but if you want something that you can have some fun in, why are you even looking at the 206? Each car has its target market. The 206 has one, the Fiesta has one and the Ferrari has one too! If you intend to use a car for what its not designed for, of course it won't be any good.
In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with the 206, but there is nothing right with it either. It's a car, and if all you want is a car, then I guess the 206 is fine.