Thursday, October 31, 2013

Used Car Review - Peugeot 206 (2003-2007)

Before we leave the month of October, Myk Belmonte reviews a French hatchback that tried to crack the market before.

2003-2007 Peugeot 206

European marques tried to conquer the Japanese filled streets of the Philippines. However, some succeeded while some failed with supposed mainstream brands falling in the latter category. Volkswagen (now coming a return), Peugeot (the distributor is now making things right), Rover (the sedan), Renault, and Opel landed but left the market throughout the years. Rover was a market flop while Opel was dropped by GM Automobiles Pilipinas. Renault? I had no clue what happened to them.

Replacing the long overdue 205, the 206 was launched in 1999 to compete with the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo superminis. With a wide range of engines and models (sedan, convertible, wagon, and the popular hatchback) sold in numerous markets until today, Peugeot found a winner here. Following Peugeot's naming convention, the 207 was launched in 2006 while the 206 got the axe in 2010.

The group of Richard Lee (Volvo, Hyundai, and Universal Motors Corp) brought in the Peugeot brand in 2003. The 206 is the cheapest vehicle in the line-up, and probably the basic one. Increase in the Euro was a reason for the discontinuation of the vehicle (and the brand as a whole) in 2007. It did not make sense of importing something that people wont be buying.

Value and Costs
This flopped hatchback is a steal for P350,000-P400,000, but hunting for one is a difficult task. Remember, for the price of a second hand 206, one can buy a Japanese or Korean subcompact (now, we are using the American term) that is easy to maintain and more units are available in the market. Weigh in your options well first.

Fuel consumption isn't as fast as Gloc9's rap verses, which makes it a great candidate for puttering around the city. The good news is that, past and grey market Peugeots can be serviced in any dealership but some components can be hard to find.

Exterior and Interior
There is the distinct European flair which sets the 206 apart from rivals. With sharp and some slanted angles, the Peugeot has that uniqueness and cheery attitude that can brighten up the day.

It is a supermini, but the cabin is definitely, mini. A small cabin greets occupants and worse for the driver, a driving position which can be uncomfortable for one. The driver would be treated to a poor seating support and since the seats are position is mounted low, tall drivers would be seated awkwardly. Other than these negatives, boot space is decent enough and controls are logically placed. Front passengers get power windows while those in the rear have cranks.

Among the numerous engines offered worldwide, the ET3J4 1,360cc that carries 90hp at 5,500rpm and 120Nm at 2,800rpm is the sole power plant among Philippine market 206s. Fuel is driven through a fuel injection system rather than a carburetor (which is wise decision, since carbs are out of fashion and you're paying too much for something from France). The 1.4 is zippy and willing to be revved, thus making it something pleasurable to drive.

Driving Impressions
Get inside, buckle up, crank the ignition, and let's start the drive. While the manual transmission is somewhat tricky at first, you'll get the hang of it in your later drives. Handling is an entertainment and steering response is quick. While some of its peers get nervous and some transmit road ruts to occupants, the 206 dances like a ballerina even in the poorest road surfaces. While other shakes, the 206 shrugs and glides along.

We can't deny the quirkiness these French vehicles have. The 206 is as lovely as the Eiffel Tower, but in the Philippine setting, it can adapt to what our country has. Fun to drive, but the poor driving position and the limited cabin space are major boo-boos. Do some research before signing the deal. 

The Good: 
  • Unique
  • Easy to park
  • Not fuel guzzling
The Bad:
  • Awkward driving position
  • Smallish cabin
  • Parts can be hard to find
The Pick: 1.4

Engine: 1,360cc ET3J4 I4 gasoline
Power: 90hp @ 5,500rpm
Torque: 120Nm @ 2,800rpm
Fuel Consumption: 9-12km/L (city), 11-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent rigid axle torsion beam with trailing arms

Price (New): P648,000-P838,000 (range from 2003-2007)
Price (Now): P350,000-P400,000
Rivals: Honda Jazz, Suzuki Swift, Kia Picanto, Chevrolet Aveo
On Sale: 2003-2007

Peugeot Las Pinas - (02) 519-2862
Peugeot Quirino - (02) 562-0832

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