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Peugeot 206 Hatchback engines, drive and performance

1998 - 2009 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

There’s a decent choice of engines in the 206 range starting with the entry-level 1.1-litre petrol with just 60bhp. It’s adequate around town but not a good choice for longer journeys, instead look to the 1.4-litre with 75bhp (from 2003 this was upgraded to a 16v version with 90bhp). However our choice of the petrols is the 1.6-litre unit – the 16-valve model from 2000 being more sought after.

It’s peppy and revs freely giving decent performance although like the smaller engines it will get noisy when pushed hard. The diesels impress more although it’s best avoiding the older 1.9D which is an unrefined throwback with just 70bhp. The 1.4-litre HDi is better and the most economical in the range, averaging 64mpg, however it can feel sluggish.

But the best engine in the range for performance and economy is the 1.6HDi with 110bhp (that was launched in 2004 and only available as a GTi). It’s smooth, fairly quiet and offers strong in-gear pace. Prior to the 1.6-litre, Peugeot offered a 2.0HDi but this only boasts 90bhp – however it’s a good motorway cruiser.

The 206 is safe and easy to drive with light controls. This has its disadvantages on more demanding roads though where the overly assisted power steering robs the driver of any feel and there’s precious little feedback. That’s a shame as the handling is well set up and the 206 corners neatly with good levels of grip while body roll is fairly controlled.

The slack five-speed gearbox is a big annoyance though and only adds to the low-rent feel plus the ride can be a little crashy, especially on the sportier models.