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Peugeot 205 Rallye: Retro Road Test

Peugeot 205 Rallye review: Retro Road Test

Peugeot 205 Rallye: Retro Road Test

This is a forgotten hot hatch gem, that’s for sure. But you can be forgiven for forgetting about the Peugeot 205 Rallye. Here in the UK, it was little more than a spiced-up 1.4-litre single-carb 205 XS, producing not a great deal of power and providing nowhere near the excitement of a GTI.

But the car we’re testing for this week’s Retro Road Test is the real McCoy. It’s a European-spec LHD version of the Rallye, boasting a kerb weight of just 794kg: a whole 100 kilos less than the GTI. And a decent amount of power, too…

What are its rivals?

What are its rivals?

If quirky hot hatches are your thing, there’s no shortage of cars you should be considering. It’s a different character, but if you’re considering a 205 Rallye, you should definitely look at the more commonplace GTI. There’s also the newer and again, more common 106 Rallye, along with the hot Renault Clio Williams. The Citroen AX GT is a plucky little pocket rocket, while the much newer Suzuki Ignis Sport follows the Rallye’s ethos.

What engine does it use?

What engine does it use?

In European guise, the 205 Rallye dumps the lacklustre 1.4 in favour of a revvy twin-carb 1.3 producing 103hp  just 2hp short of the GTI when it was launched in 1984. Intended to compete in sub-1300cc rallying, the Rallye was a stripped-out homologation special.

What’s it like to drive?

What’s it like to drive?

At first, honestly, a little disappointing. It’s an old French hatchback, and it feels it. The brakes take some prodding, the steering is heavy and the interior, red mats aside, feels relatively normal. And old. This is not a car for drivers seeking instant gratification.

But as the Rallye starts to warm up, and you start to get into the experience, it gradually becomes more rewarding. It’s well suited to tight, winding B-roads (out of its element on larger roads), and it responds well to enthusiastic front-drive driving. So, on the brakes in a straight line before the bend, powering through and  whatever you do – don’t lift off. Not that it’s as snappy as the GTI.

The analogue steering is infinitely more communicative than the electrical systems fitted to today’s hot hatches. The performance, meanwhile, would probably be shown up by most modern turbodiesels but, once it’s warmed up, it’s fun to work it hard chasing the redline and staying below speed limits.

Reliability and running costs

Reliability and running costs

It’s an old French hot hatch so don’t expect it to be painless, although it’s a relatively simple car. Parts can be difficult to source  be prepared to join Peugeot clubs (there isn’t a dedicated 205 Rallye one in the UK, but there are plenty of more general ones) and fire up Google Translate in order to ship parts from abroad.

Could I drive it every day?

Could I drive it every day?

Cut and paste answer to almost every Retro Road Test we’ve done: you could, but you probably shouldn’t. It’s a rare car, especially in Euro-spec, and it’ll soon start to show its age if you did use one as a daily driver. Plus, the novelty of driving a left-hand-drive car without a radio and little in the way of creature comforts will soon wear thin.

How much should I pay?

How much should I pay?

Finding one in the UK is difficult, so providing a solid valuation is tricky. If you can find a cared-for original example, the limit is essentially the maximum you feel comfortable paying for an old Peugeot hatchback.

We’d probably budget around £10,000 for a nice one, or £15,000 for a minter. But bear in mind the direction in which GTI prices are going. A Rallye could be a sound investment.

What should I look out for?

What should I look out for?

Signs of abuse and crash damage are the main concerns. Look under the bonnet: does all the paintwork look original? Are there any signs of repair?

Other than that, buy with your head rather than your heart. If you’ve been waiting a while for one to be advertised, it’s easy to dismiss minor faults – but bear in mind that even simple parts could be nigh-on impossible to find.

Should I buy one?

Should I buy one?

In truth, it makes more sense to go out and buy a GTI. They’ve got more of a following  so could be a wiser investment  while support through clubs and online forums is more readily available. It’s easy to find a good one, too, as long as you’re prepared to pay good money.

If the right 205 Rallye comes up, however, grab it, spend as much as you can keeping it tidy and original, and enjoy driving one of the best forgotten hot hatches that never officially made it to the UK.

Pub fact

Pub fact

Top Gear’s Chris Harris bought a 205 Rallye last year. He described it as “every bit as special as an RS Porsche”, despite his slightly ropey example showing more than 300,000 miles on the clock and having been used as a tarmac rally car.

Thanks to Nick Bailey of Elan PR for the use of his lovely Peugeot 205 Rallye

Peugeot 3008 SUV

2017 Peugeot 3008 review: from frumpy MPV to funky SUV

Peugeot 3008 SUVNot so long ago, people carriers were touted as the future of family cars. A ‘one box’ design, it was rightly argued, shoehorns the maximum amount of passengers and luggage into the available space. The problem, of course, is that functional isn’t fashionable. Nobody wants to drive a van with windows.

MPV to SUVPeugeot 3008 SUV

The French like a people carrier more than most, but they’re also dedicated followers of fashion. So Peugeot has reinvented its 3008 with more ground clearance and rugged styling. Yes, frumpy multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) has become funky sport-utility vehicle (SUV). With sales of medium SUVs up by 150% in Europe since 2009, it’s hard to argue with that logic. We travelled to Bologna to see if Peugeot’s sector-switching gamble has paid off.

January salesPeugeot 3008 SUV

First a few facts, though. Peugeot won’t reveal full UK prices until November, but we’re told the 3008 will start from £21,795 when it hits showrooms in January 2017. There’s a choice of two petrol engines and four diesels, plus six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. Its rivals include the Nissan Qashqai, Renault Kadjar, SEAT Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan.

Mr MusclePeugeot 3008 SUV

All gaping grille and bloated body, the old 3008 looked like the sort of bottom-feeding sea creature only David Attenborough could love. The new car is more Mr Muscle than Mr Blobby, with chiselled lines and a squat stance. At the front, hawkish headlights taper towards a jutting jaw, while the rear features a kicked-up waistline and a ‘floating’ roof à la Range Rover Evoque. It’s brave rather than beautiful, but divisive looks haven’t done the Nissan Juke any harm.

Bang on-trendPeugeot 3008 SUV

Peugeot describes the 3008 as “potentially the most trendy SUV currently on the market”. And, putting aside the fact that nobody other than our nan uses the word ‘trendy’, the team from Vélizy has done a decent job. Style matters in this sector – it’s the main reason we aren’t all buying MPVs, after all – and 3008 has showroom appeal in spades. Choose copper or grey and you can even opt for two-tone ‘Coupe Franche’ paint seen here, previously only available on 208 and 308 GTIs. However, it’s the 3008’s interior that really sets it apart.

Virtual realityPeugeot 3008 SUV

You’ll probably familiar with Peugeot’s i-Cockpit by now. In essence, it consists of a small steering wheel and a high-set instrument binnacle – the idea being that you view the dials over the top of the wheel, rather than through it. The 3008 takes the concept a stage further with a squared-off wheel (part-Playstation, part-Austin Allegro), plus a fully digital display not unlike Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

Talking techPeugeot 3008 SUV

The 12.3-inch instrument panel has a choice of modes, from traditional dials to 3D navigation view. Unlike the Audi system, you can’t opt for a full-width map or the pièce de resistance Google Earth display. But while the Germans charge £1,600 for Virtual Cockpit on a new Q2, the i-Cockpit is standard across the 3008 range. It all looks suitably snazzy, although we rather liked the ‘Minimum’ view for distraction-free driving at night.

Premium bondingPeugeot 3008 SUV

There’s also an eight-inch touchscreen atop the dashboard for infotainment, but thankfully Peugeot hasn’t ‘done a Renault’ and switched to a completely screen-based setup. A set of elegant ‘piano keys’ adorns the swoopy centre console, allowing quick access to major functions. The overall ambiance is stylish, futuristic and more than a little premium, particularly with the Amplify reactive mood lighting of higher-spec models. Volkswagen should be worried.

Run to the hillsPeugeot 3008 SUV

We escape Bologna airport and head for the Autostrada. Our destination: the hills of Emilia Romagna – part of the original Mille Miglia race route and spiritual home of the supercar. No pressure, then.

Cruising at motorway speeds gives us time to appreciate the Peugeot’s impressive refinement and comfortable driving position. We heard one shorter driver complain of the steering wheel obscuring the dials (a relatively common issue with i-Cockpit), but our 5ft 8in frame fitted fine. A case of try before you buy, perhaps.

Soaking it upPeugeot 3008 SUV

Exiting onto minor roads peppered with potholes and Pandas (the Fiat variety), it also became clear how nicely the 3008 rides. Peugeot doesn’t make claims about sporty handling: the emphasis here is on good ol’ fashioned comfort – and there’s nowt wrong with that. Even on the 19-inch alloys of the top-spec GT, the 3008 feels as absorbent as a roll of quilted Andrex.

Sunday drivingPeugeot 3008 SUV

The pay-off is a car that doesn’t quite do the Mille Miglia course justice. Still, what did you expect? The 3008 is pleasant to drive – the equal of a Nissan Qashqai – but this was never going to be one you’d get up early on Sunday for. Plus points include predictable handling and a lack of body-roll. On the minus side, the steering feels somewhat artificial and the automatic gearbox can be indecisive when ‘making progress’. Better to slow down and take in the Tuscan scenery, we thought.

Diesel do nicelyPeugeot 3008 SUV

Peugeot expects 70% of 3008 buyers to opt for a diesel engine, and there are four to choose from: 100hp and 120hp 1.6-litre BlueHDi, or 150hp and 180hp 2.0 BlueHDi. If you prefer petrol, there’s the 130hp 1.2 PureTech or 165hp 1.6 THP. Headline fuel economy figures are 70.6mpg for the 100hp diesel and 55.4mpg for the 1.2 petrol – both on par with rivals.

Interestingly, a Peugeot engineer told us they “haven’t ruled out” a 3008 GTI. But for the now the quickest versions are the 180hp diesel and 165hp petrol, both of which hit 62mph in 8.9 seconds.

Showing some anklePeugeot 3008 SUV

We start our drive in the flagship 2.0 diesel, before swapping into the 120hp 1.6 (the latter likely to be the UK bestseller). The bigger engine is appreciably quieter, not least because it doesn’t need to be worked as hard, but both offer sufficient mid-range punch for safe overtaking. Battered, heavily-laden Pandas were dispatched with a swift flex of the right ankle.

We also tried the 165hp petrol, which is smooth but less suited to the 3008’s laid-back character. Maximum power arrives at 6,000rpm, versus 3,500rpm in the diesel, so more ankle flexing is required. We’d follow the masses and go for the 120hp diesel.

The joy of specsPeugeot 3008 SUV

Peugeot offers four trim levels: Active, Allure, GT Line and GT. Standard equipment on the Active includes automatic emergency braking, 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights/wipers, rear parking sensors, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay. Android Auto connectivity follows soon after launch.

Stepping up to Allure adds the Safety Plus pack with lane-keep assist and blind-spot detection, plus 18-inch alloys, sat nav with live traffic updates, a reversing camera and ambient interior lighting. GT Line gets sports styling and LED headlights, while the fully-loaded GT gets 19-inch wheels, leather trim, active cruise control, keyless entry, massage seats, an electric tailgate and a panoramic glass sunroof.

Sounds AlluringPeugeot 3008 SUV

Peugeot expects half of UK buyers to choose Allure and, having sampled all versions apart from the basic Active, we’d again be inclined to follow the herd. It has all the safety kit you’d hope for in a family car (all 3008s have a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating) and its fabric-covered dashboard looks more contemporary than the wood or faux-carbonfibre found elsewhere.

If you must splash out on options, we thoroughly recommend Peugeot’s brilliant E-Kick electric scooter, which has a built-in charging dock in the boot of the car. It’s not cheap, at £1,100, but there are few more enjoyable ways whizz around an Italian hotel. Provided you don’t break both legs in the process, of course.

People carryingPeugeot 3008 SUV

So, what about practicality? Has it been sacrificed on the altar of SUV style? Not entirely. The new 3008 doesn’t offer the seat-swivelling versatility of a good MPV, but there’s plenty of headroom (less so with the panoramic roof option) and front-seat occupants will be very comfortable. Those in the rear are less fortunate, with limited legroom for adults of above average height, plus a rather upright seat backrest that can’t be reclined.

Baggage handlingPeugeot 3008 SUV

The square-shaped boot has a wide opening and enough space for a baby buggy or washing machine. The rear bench folds flat via quick-release levers, while the front passenger seat can also flip forward for lengthy loads. “Perfect for transporting a Christmas tree”, says Peugeot. GT Line and GT versions also have an extendable boot floor that slides out beyond the rear bumper to create a bench for a family picnic. If only we’d packed the wine and cheese.

Two wheels good?Peugeot 3008 SUV

You may have noticed we’ve got this far into a 4×4 review with no mention of four-wheel drive. That’s because the 3008 doesn’t have it – not even as an option. As the car’s product manager pointed out, less than 2% of Qashqais sold in the UK have 4WD, so there simply isn’t the demand. What you can have instead is Grip Control, an optional driver-selectable system with Mud, Snow and Sand modes to optimise traction at the front wheels. It won’t get you up a rock-strewn glacier, but it might help you across a muddy field to that aforementioned family picnic.

Cross purposesPeugeot 3008 SUV

The 3008 competes in the crowded crossover class, where minds are changed by tax bands and small price differences. As such, Peugeot’s decision not to publish prices at launch isn’t particularly helpful. However, we expect the 3008 to score on standard equipment rather than headline-grabbing PCP deals.

Yet this is also a sector where hearts are won with great design – and herein lies the 3008’s USP. Its exterior styling divides opinion, but it can’t fail to grab your attention. And its interior really is quite special. Peugeot has finally delivered on its plan to ‘go premium’.

Future shockPeugeot 3008 SUV

Ultimately, a so-so driving experience and slightly cramped rear seats prevent the 3008 from achieving a full five stars. But if you need more room, it’s worth noting that the closely-related 5008 SUV arrives in March, complete with seven seats and – so we’re told – even more space than the current 5008.

While Citroen returns to its quirky roots, Peugeot is pushing upmarket and embracing avant-garde design. On the evidence of the new 3008, its plan seems to be working. We’re not sure about the future of family cars, but the future for Peugeot looks promising.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

PSA Peugeot Citroen has revealed the exact methods it uses to calculate real-world fuel economy figures across its range.

The company announced real-world figures for 30 cars across its range earlier in the year, and has said it plans to reveal 20 more by the end of the year.

It’s part of a move to appear more transparent, with PSA being one of a number of manufacturers blaming the official NEDC fuel economy test for generating unachievable MPG figures.

Why is the official NEDC test to blame for unachievable fuel economy figures?

The New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) fuel economy test is used to calculate official MPG and CO2 figures for all new cars on sale in Europe.

The test is split into two sections: urban and extra-urban cycles. The first test, the urban cycle, covers a stop/start journey of 2.5 miles at an average speed of 12mph, intended to be representative of driving through a congested town or city. The car starts off cold and touches a maximum top speed of 31mph.

After this test, the now warmed-up car is put through the extra-urban cycle. This covers a distance of 4.3 miles at an average speed of 39mph.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

The CO2 and fuel economy results for each cycle are then combined to provide the official CO2 and fuel economy figures quoted by manufacturers.

However, the official test has been criticised by consumers and car manufacturers alike. Carried out on a rolling road, it’s not influenced by real-life conditions such as other traffic, weather conditions and driving styles.

Developed before hybrid and electric vehicles were commonplace, it also produces extremely unrealistic fuel economy and CO2 figures for cars such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. As the test takes place when the plug-in hybrid Outlander is freshly charged, it covers most of it under electric power, hence the Outlander’s official 156.9mpg. When the Outlander’s short electric-only range runs out, its real-life fuel economy will be much lower than this figure.

So what’s Peugeot Citroen doing about it?

PSA Peugeot Citroen has announced that, along with the official NEDC tests (a European requirement), it will conduct real-world fuel economy tests across its range, and publish its findings.

To carry out the tests, the car manufacturer is working with environmental organisation Transport & Environment. It tests cars in real-world conditions, stipulating that ambient temperatures must be ‘normal’ (not too hot or too cold), while a set route should be followed.

During the test, 22.8km (14.2 miles and 24.7% of the total distance) must take place in urban areas; 39.6km (24.6 miles and 42.9% of the total distance) on rural roads; and 29.9km (18.6 miles and 32.4% of the total distance) on motorways.

This is how Peugeot Citroen calculates real-world fuel economy

Tyres must be inflated to ‘normal’ pressures and the driver should ideally not be a trained driver. The car should be driven exactly as a customer would, with all speed limits adhered to and typical acceleration for the type of car.

The test also requires at least one passenger being carried in the car, with the climate control being set to 21°C.

Transport & Environment’s clean vehicles director, Greg Archer, said: “The real-world test developed with PSA Group provides full transparency towards customers and more representative information to drivers than the new laboratory test, helping them choose the most fuel-efficient cars. This scientific approach is robust, reproducible and reliable in measuring real carbon emissions.

“We urge the European Commission and all carmakers to use this test for regulatory and advertising purposes,” he added.

What are the results of PSA’s real world tests?

So far, 30 Peugeot Citroen models have completed the test, with most averaging around 20mpg below the official NEDC figure. Here’s an example of models tested, with another 20 set to be announced before the end of 2016.

Car Real MPG NEDC MPG Difference
Peugeot 108 1.2 PureTech 82 46.30 65.69 19.39
Peugeot 308 1.6 BlueHDi 120 57.65 88.28 30.63
Peugeot 508 2.0 BlueHDi 180 44.84 70.62 25.78
Citroen C3 Picasso BlueHDi 100 49.56 74.34 24.78
Citroen C4 Cactus PureTech 110 46.31 65.69 19.38
DS4 PureTech 110 52.31 74.34 22.03
Peugeot 205 GTI Retro Road Test

Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6 vs Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16: Retro Road Test

Peugeot 205 GTI Retro Road TestWelcome to an MR Retro Road Test special: a comparison of two very different examples of arguably the most iconic hot hatch ever sold.

When the Peugeot 205 GTI was launched in 1984, it wasn’t the first hot hatch on the block. It was following in the footsteps of the equally-legendary Volkswagen Golf GTI, while competition was also in development from Renault (with its 5 GT Turbo), Ford (Fiesta XR2 and Escort XR3i) and Fiat (Uno Turbo).

Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6

The first car we’re testing is a completely standard, concours-standard 205 GTI 1.6 in immaculate condition. While a 1.9-litre followed, and many were modified, many purists think the original 1.6-litre, featured here, is the ultimate 205. Andrew found out more.

The apprentices from the Peugeot UK Academy who created our second car felt differently. They were given a training project to die for: restore a snotty 205 GTI to concours condition. They did this, with one major tweak – swapping the standard 1.9-litre engine for something rather more special… Richard found out just what it was.

Building a hotter hatch

Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16

Early 205 GTIs had a mere 105 hp, a figure topped even by a cooking 1.0-litre Fiesta today. But then, they did also weigh less than 900 kg, a good few kilos less than the Ford. Regardless, Peugeot upped it to 115 hp a few years later, but the really exciting upgrade came in 1987: the launch of the 205 GTI 1.9.

This enlarged engine offered a thrilling 130 hp for 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds instead of 8.7. It had way more torque as well – 119 lb ft rather than a revvy 98 lb ft – so was much the more muscular car. Thank goodness Peugeot fitted rear disc brakes and bigger 15-inch wheels to handle it.

But, save for the addition of a catalyst (and a small power cut) in the early 90s, that was it for 205 GTI evolution. Wouldn’t happen today: Peugeot would look to what else was in the range to create a swansong sell-out special. Such as, fitting the 16v version of the 205’s XU engine…

Yes, this very unit was freely available in the range, sported by the Peugeot 405 Mi16 and Citroen BX GTI 16v. Boasting 160hp, the all-aluminium 1.9-litre had a motorsport-spec head, could rev to 7,200rpm and, even in the 1,100kg 405, did 0-60mph in 7.8 seconds. In the 205 GTI, it could have been heroic.

And for years, that’s just what the 205 tuning scene has been doing – creating the 205 GTI 16v, the hot hatch that never was. It’s an easy swap if you know what you’re doing, a Peugeot veteran told us, adding weight to the logic of what could have been. When tuners tell you it will do sub-6.5secs to 60mph with ease, you can only conclude Peugeot might have dropped the ball by not making it…

Peugeot 205 1.6 GTI: the original and best

Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6

While values of hot 1.9 205 GTIs are soaring (one example has just sold for an incredible £30,938 at auction), the lesser 1.6-litre is still relatively attainable – despite enthusiasts reporting that the 1.6 is actually the model to have.

To find out just what the fuss around a bog-standard 205 GTI is all about, we borrowed a show-winning example from enthusiast Chris Hughes.

Built in 1991, this 205 GTI has covered 116,000 miles and has been owned by Chris since 2000. It’s not led a sheltered life, it’s been on numerous Euro road trips – but despite this, it’s been meticulously cared for, and regularly picks up gongs at classic car shows.

We spent a day with a car on rural Dorset roads, and what a car for summer’s day B-road blat. It’s such a pure, mechanical experience – the heavy clutch takes a minute or two to get used to, while the unassisted steering takes a bit of muscle around town.

But once you get into the 205 GTI’s groove, it’s an absolute joy. Work your way towards the 6,000rpm redline (“I rarely go over 5,000,” Chris gently nudges me), with the car’s Milltek exhaust (its only modification) providing a pleasurable soundtrack, it makes us genuinely sad that modern hot hatches just can’t come close.

And the best thing? It’s all happening at low speeds. Take a roundabout a similar speed to your average Audi A4 driver and you’ll be having infinite fun, while even ragging it down dual carriageways won’t get close to licence-losing territory.

Peugeot 205 Mi16: modified magic

Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16

Can you improve on perfection? The Peugeot Academy apprentices certainly thought so: It’s as tacit an ‘OE approved’ admission as could be. Using the same engine mounts as the regular 1.9 motor, all that’s needed is a bit of tweakery to clear the inlet and exhaust manifolds. Peugeot’s car has a 205 Automatic bonnet, to give extra clearance over the engine, but it’s not really necessary – and, installed, the engine looks fully factory-spec.

It in no way feels modified. It rumbles, vibrates and hums at tickover like a regular retro car, has the same impossibly direct and rifle-bolt gearshift as all 205 GTI, has similar ultra-heavy non-PAS steering until you’re moving and pulls at lower speeds with the same free-breathing vim as all non-emissions-conscious 80s cars.

Heavens, though, it’s fast. It’s still barely 900kg so pickup is always instant and effortless, but the way it powers forward as the revs rise is staggering. It gets on cam and comes alive above 4,500rpm – the kick is VTEC-like – and, with a heavenly throaty induction roar and cam yowl, explodes towards the redline. A few seamless-shift gearchanges later and you’re quickly backing off to regain legality.

This is no shabby conversion special that feels ready to fall apart. It’s the mighty GTI to sucker every other GTI on the planet, an engaging speed demon that even today feels sensational. Particularly as all the effervescence of the 205 GTI chassis remains in tact: the grippier 1.9 GTI wheels means more planted handling, stacks of front end grip, a more trustworthy rear end yet still the blindingly well-telegraphed on- and over-limit exploitability so many love.

The firm, ever-varying weight of the steering is to die for, body control is exemplary and the free-flowing connectivity to the road surface on winding roads is Lotus-like. Because it’s so light, it doesn’t need to be over-stiff – suspension is softer than you may expect, meaning the ride is better than you’d ever believe – which enhances its mighty fast-road ground-covering ability. With a revvy 160 hp ever at hand, it’s incendiary.

Lion kings: choosing a winner

Andrew’s winner…

Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6

Both of these cars would be lovely things to keep in your garage, ready to enjoy on sunny days but also increasing in value with every bit of TLC you give them. The Mi16 is a tantalising glimpse of what could have been… the world’s most iconic hot hatch could have been a true performance icon with that wonderful Mi16 engine.

But as a car to truly enjoy, the light and nimble 1.6-litre 205 GTI is hard to beat. Peugeot got it spot on, and will provide maximum thrills for minimal outlay. As 1.9 values soar, the lesser model is sure to follow in its footsteps.

Richard’s winner…

Peugeot 205 GTI Mi16

I was amazed. In my youth, an Mi16 205 was an ultimate, right up there with a red-top Nova for teenage desirability. But with age came the love of originality– what did modders know that the car manufacturer didn’t? In this case, plenty. Because the 205 GTI Mi16 – the 205 GTI 16v – is sublime. It’s the greatest GTI that never was.

It takes all that’s wonderful about the regular car and builds upon it with a searing, exotic, race-bred engine that, because the car itself is so light and pure, you interact with so tremendously vividly. It feels OE, it drives brilliantly and it’s simply thrilling to experience. I surprised myself with how much I loved this car: find one done right and so too might you.

Game, Set and Match: tennis loves cars

Game, Set and Match: tennis stars and supercars

Ah, Wimbledon: two weeks of dodging the showers, eating seriously expensive strawberries and cream, Sue Barker making smalltalk when the covers on and the entire nation pinning its hopes on one Scottish British tennis player.

But enough of all that – show us the cars…

Murray makes a mint

For 2016, Jaguar UK signed up Andy Murray as a brand ambassador to promote its #FeelWimbledon campaign, which involves a 360-degree virtual reality tour of Centre Court through the eyes of the British number one. Jaguar is also keen to point out that Murray owned an F-Type Coupe and had a new F-Pace  on order.

Andy Murray smashes Jaguar F-Type SVR

Keen to maximise the return on its investment, Jaguar sent Andy Murray to Thruxton and asked him to serve at a target mounted to the back of a Jaguar F-Type SVR (here, he’s getting his eye in with an XE). The Jaguar just happened to be driven by John McEnroe and Murray served an ace as the car sped past at 130mph. This must have been as strange for Murray as it was for us to write.

Advantage, Jaguar

In 2015, Jaguar announced a five-year deal to become the official car partner to the All England Tennis Club for Wimbledon. As part of the agreement, Jaguar supplies 170 vehicles to the London venue throughout the two-week tournament. No wonder the traffic is so bad on the streets of Wimbledon.

Rolls-Royce and the Tennis Classic

Away from Wimbledon, the stars at this year’s Tennis Classic at Hurlingham will be chauffeured around in a selection of Rolls-Royce models. The likes of Marin Cilic, David Ferrer and Richard Gasquet will escape the showers courtesy of a Phantom and a Ghost. At least they’ll have access to an umbrella.

The MercedesCup

“The estate version of the new E-Class is all set to be served up at the MercedesCup tennis tournament in Stuttgart.” You serve up the tennis puns, Mercedes-Benz, we’ll volley them home.

Angelique Kerber nets a new Porsche 911

In 2015, Germany’s Angelique Kerber won the Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in Germany by beating Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Her prize included a Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS. Nice.

Andy Murray and his BMW i8

Meanwhile, over in Munich, Britain’s Andy Murray collected the keys to his new i8 electric supercar after winning the BMW Open tennis tournament. Looks like he’s struggling to get comfy. Probably a good idea if Murray doesn’t mention this car to Jaguar…

Lindsay Davenport and her Porsche 911

Of course, scooping a new car by winning a tennis tournament is nothing new. Here’s American tennis star, Lindsay Davenport and her Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS at the German Porsche Grand Prix tennis tournament in 2004.

Tommy Haas and his BMW Z4

Meanwhile, in 2003, Tommy Haas drove home in a brand new BMW Z4 after beating Philipp Kohlschreiber in the final of the BMW Open tennis tournament in Munich. We won a few tennis tournaments at school, but we were never given a car as a prize. That’s probably because the tournaments were sponsored by the local double-glazing firm and not an international car company.

Wimbledon and parking in 1923

But enough of these lavish prizes and on to something more civilised. Wimbledon is of course the oldest tennis tournament in the world. The first championships were held in 1870 and the Olympics arrived in Wimbledon in 1908. The tournament moved to Church Road in 1922 and No.1 Court opened in 1924. Here we see the tennis courts in 1923. You probably had to be someone very special to park this close to the court.

Peugeot-Citroen raided by French authorities over emissions probe

Peugeot-Citroen raided by French authorities over emissions probe

Peugeot-Citroen raided by French authorities over emissions probe

The French offices of Peugeot-Citroen (PSA Group) have been raided by investigators as part of an ongoing probe into pollutants in the automotive sector.

It comes after Mitsubishi owns up to cheating fuel economy tests for 625,000 of its cars in Japan – but Peugeot-Citroen is insisting it’s innocent.

In a statement, the firm said: “PSA Group confirms compliance of its vehicles in pollutant emissions in all countries where it operates. Confident in its technologies, PSA Group is fully cooperating with the authorities.”

The raid was carried out by France’s General Directorate for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control. Further details on any evidence found during the raid is yet to be revealed.

Earlier in the year, PSA Group revealed it would publish real-world fuel economy figures for cars made by its three brands: Peugeot, Citroen and DS. Conducted by two independent authorities (Transport & Environment and France Nature Environment), the tests have so far revealed PSA’s best-selling cars consistently under-perform by as much as 30mpg – in-line with fuel consumption figures reported by customers.

Renault’s head office was raided in January by the same investigators, resulting in a slump in share prices.

Peugeot 208

Peugeot Just Add Fuel for 18 year olds extended to 208, 2008

Peugeot 208Peugeot has extended its Just Add Fuel telematics insurance deal for 18 year olds to the 208 supermini and 2008 crossover range – meaning teenagers can now drive one of the firm’s most popular models for a one-off, all-inclusive fee.

First introduced for 18 year olds on the 108, the telematics-based Just Add Fuel deal has already seen an increase in teenagers signing up for a new Peugeot, report dealers: broadening it to the firm’s highest-volume cars will accelerate this further.

The full range of 208 and 2008 models are available too with the obvious exception of the fruity 208 GTi hot hatch variants. The offer is also now available in Northern Ireland.

It’s the latest step in the Just Add Fuel ‘retail car lease’ scheme that, since its launch in 2010, has got more than 30,000 Brits into a new Peugeot for a fixed-payment three-year term (with a 4.9% APR rate).

Servicing, road fund licence and roadside assistance are all included – as is car insurance. It’s the addition of telematics insurance to Just Add Fuel that’s made it possible for Peugeot to offer it to higher-risk teenage drivers.

It doesn’t mean teenage Peugeot Just Add Fuel drivers have a free pass though: because telematics monitors and stores driving activity, it’s able to keep an eye on how safely the driver is.

If the score falls below a pre-agreed level, the driver gets a warning. Receive four warnings in a year and the insurance policy is cancelled. You have been warned…

Peugeot extends Just Add Fuel scheme for 18-year-olds

peugeot just add fuel pic

Peugeot is extending its Just Add Fuel finance initiative to 18-year-old drivers of its 208 and 2008.

The expansion is due to the success the scheme has enjoyed since 2010, when applied to the 108 for drivers aged 21 and over.

Just Add Fuel, which is now available in Northern Ireland, is a fixed monthly payment that covers all motoring costs, including insurance, for a three-year period.

This means that there is no need to separately budget for servicing, car tax, and roadside assistance costs.

Essentially, the only cost the driver has to worry about is just adding petrol or diesel to the tank.

The scheme is able to operate due to the addition of a plug-in telematics device. Thanks to satellite tracking, this monitors the vehicle’s speed, acceleration, deceleration and lateral G-forces, which are then used to assess the driver’s driving style and rate each journey made on a scale from 1–100.

This data is monitored by the insurance company and, based on the findings, they can warn the driver about his/her driving behaviour and may even cancel the insurance policy if drivers fail to heed the warnings.

Since its launch six years ago, some 30,000 UK drivers have brought Peugeot 108s with this policy attached and Peugeot is hoping that by extending it to other popular models in its line-up, and lowering the age range, it will be able to make expand the scheme still further.

Mark Pickles, Peugeot UK Marketing Director, commented: “Just Add Fuel is recognised as the most significant innovation in vehicle retailing for many years. Our dealers have experienced an increase in retail sales to adults over 18 years of age since the launch of our new telematics product.”

Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208: Two-Minute Road Test

Peugeot 208What is it?

The Peugeot 208 is a mainstream supermini with a dash of French style and a competitive price tag. We tested the 1.2 110 petrol five-door in well-equipped Allure spec with a manual gearbox. It costs £14,945 at the time of writing.

Ford FiestaWhat are its rivals?

The best-selling car in this class by some margin is the Ford Fiesta. In fact, it’s the UK’s best-selling car overall. Other rivals include the Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris. Or, if you fancy something funkier, the MINI Hatch and DS 3.

Peugeot 208Which engines does it use?

The 208 range stretches from a 68hp 1.0-litre petrol to the 208hp 1.6 GTI. There’s also a 1.6 diesel, available in three power outputs. We tried the 110hp 1.2 petrol, which offers a good trade-off between performance and fuel economy.

Peugeot 208What’s it like to drive?

A go-kart-sized steering wheel makes the 208 feel nimble around town, but slightly twitchy on the motorway. Sadly, there’s little feedback about what the front tyres are doing; it’s all rather light and over-assisted. The suspension is firmer than you might expect, but not uncomfortable. And the 110hp engine feels lively (0-62mph takes a brisk 9.6 seconds), with a characterful three-cylinder soundtrack.

Peugeot 208Fuel economy and running costs

The 208 1.2 110 squeezes into the free-car-tax bracket, with CO2 emissions of 99g/km – impressive for a petrol engine. Official fuel economy is 65.7mpg, so reckon on at least 50mpg in everyday driving.

Peugeot 208Is it practical?

If you want out-and-out practicality, nothing beats the MPV-shaped Honda Jazz in this class. The 208 is on par with the Fiesta for passenger and luggage space, making it on the small side for a family car. As a plus point, it does come with a proper spare wheel – a real boon if you’re unlucky enough to have a puncture.

Peugeot 208What about safety?

Euro NCAP awarded the 208 a full five-stars for safety. All models come with a full complement of airbags and electronic stability control. Automatic emergency braking is a (very worthwhile) £250 option on Allure, GT Line and GTI versions.

Peugeot 208Which version should I go for?

Diesel 208s are very economical, but the extra upfront cost and inferior refinement means we’d opt for a petrol version. Money-no-object, the 208 GTI by Peugeot Sport is one of our favourite hot hatches. But in the real world the 110hp 1.2 we tested is a pleasant compromise. We’d avoid entry-level Access spec, which does without the touchscreen media system. Mid-range Allure offers all the equipment you really need.

Peugeot 208Should I buy one?

There’s little to choose between many of the superminis in this fiercely-competitive class. The 208 is a strong contender, but ultimately we still prefer the Fiesta for its engaging handling. Or indeed the Honda Jazz if you value practicality over performance. Nonetheless, it’s worth putting the 208 on your supermini shortlist, particularly if a tempting finance deal is offered.

Peugeot 208Pub fact

This formidable-looking 208 T16 holds the record for the famous Pike’s Peak hillclimb. Driven by rally ace Sébastien Loeb, it scaled the mountain in eight minutes and 13.9 seconds. Unsurprisingly, Peugeot won’t be transplanting its 887hp V6 into the common-or-garden 208 anytime soon…

 

PSA Peugeot Citroen

Peugeot Citroen: our cars are officially ‘clean’ and cheat-free

PSA Peugeot CitroenPeugeot and Citroen cars tested by a French lab under the watch of the government have been given a clean bill of health and officially verified as compliant with pollutant emissions legislation.

The news from PSA comes as three Renault sites were reportedly raided by the French government investigating so-called ‘defeat devices’.

PSA adds that none of its sites have been searched.


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That’s not the only good news for PSA from the tests either: “These initial results also confirm the effectiveness of the BlueHDi after-treatment system, which includes selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology positioned upstream of the particulate filter, to treat the nitrogen oxides (NOx) released by diesel engines,” said the firm in a statement.

“This technology has been deployed on all of the Group’s Euro6 vehicles since late 2013.”