Previous vs new: Peugeot 205 GTI vs Peugeot 208

Old vs new: Peugeot 205 GTI vs Peugeot 208

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Within the early eighties, the supermini class underwent one thing of a revolution. Ford’s second-generation Fiesta, the Vauxhall Nova and the Nissan Micra all hit UK sellers inside a 12 months or two of each other, remodeling the small-car panorama. However there was one automotive that blew all of these away when it got here to capability, desirability and selection.

Till 1984, Peugeot was a model greatest recognized for producing chunky, bulletproof saloon vehicles, nevertheless it desperately wanted a alternative for its ageing 104 hatchback. The outcome was the 205 – a supermini which set the usual that each one different small vehicles must stay as much as for the remainder of the last decade.

The 205 proved to be a runaway success for Peugeot. Between 1984 and 1998, over 5.3 million models had been bought, and it troubled the highest of the gross sales charts all through Europe. Patrons couldn’t get sufficient of the fashionable French fancy, with crisp clear traces and neat proportions setting a template that the model would observe with fashions into the nineties.

Certainly, it’s a automotive that Peugeot nonetheless appears again on proudly, and attracts on as inspiration for all of its newest superminis. At present’s 208 is a part of a mannequin line-up that reveals the French firm is again on the form of roll that it hasn’t seen since its heyday on the finish of the final century.

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So for the 205’s fortieth anniversary, we’ve lined up previous and new to see what made the unique so particular – and the way the brand new automotive has moved the sport on.

Peugeot 205 GTI

Mannequin: Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI
Worth: £11,275 (1989), £15,000 (now, est)
Engine: 1.9-litre 4cyl petrol
Energy/torque: 130bhp/165Nm
Transmission: 5-speed handbook, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Measurement (L/W/H): 3,705/1,589/1,350mm

The 205 was provided with a variety of petrol engines beginning off with 45bhp, and a few cutting-edge 1.8 diesel models. Nevertheless, right here we’re driving the 205 in its hottest kind, the 1.9 GTI – an immaculate instance kindly loaned to us by its proprietor, Andrew.

It’s at its most putting like this; chunky wheelarch extensions had been fitted to accommodate a wider observe and 15-inch wheels, whereas the look was accomplished with delicate crimson pinstriping. Extra modest variations had been obtainable in five-door kind, and a cabriolet – designed with enter from Pininfarina – provided open-top thrills.

However it was greater than a reasonably face. Though the automotive is simply 3.7 metres lengthy, its cabin is surprisingly spacious, and the boot is broad and sq.. Rear trailing arms and torsion bars, which had been low, compact and straightforward to package deal, helped right here.

Climb into the 205’s cabin as we speak, and there are a selection of issues that strike you. Firstly, this automotive was from a time when French vehicles didn’t have the best fame for inside high quality. The plastic is skinny and flimsy, and varied elements creak and buzz in opposition to each other because the chassis flexes round them. It’s arduous to fault the ergonomics, although. The controls are neatly laid out, the dials look unbelievable and the GTI’s varied clocks are displayed clearly, whereas the visibility is totally excellent all spherical.

As you’d anticipate from a sizzling hatch, GTI fashions gained some thrilling design prospers. A pair of extra supportive entrance seats have crimson and black woven inserts to match the crimson carpet that immediately provides a sporty vibe. The three-spoke steering wheel appears nice, however the twenty-past-eight place of the thumb grips signifies that it’s not that pure to carry if you’re driving enthusiastically.

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The 205’s gear listing can be pretty modest. Central locking, electrical home windows and a four-speaker cassette participant had been customary on this 1.9 GTI, however that’s as cutting-edge as issues get.

Most of all, although, the 205 was – and nonetheless is – enormous enjoyable to drive. Fashionable sizzling hatches are grippier, sooner and extra refined, however none has this quantity of character, interplay and suggestions. You may play with the automotive’s steadiness on the throttle mid-corner, helped by the unassisted steering that transmits a great deal of suggestions by its rim.

The 1.9 GTI produced 130bhp – modest by as we speak’s requirements – however at simply 880kg, it was gentle, too. In consequence, its 0-62mph time of seven.8 seconds put it inside a second of a recent BMW M3. Each journey to the crimson line is backed by an angry-sounding four-cylinder engine that feels muscular low down and powerful all through. Every shift is engaged as rapidly as you possibly can transfer your left hand, whereas the pedals are completely positioned for heel-and-toe downshifts.

Better of all, these nicely judged controls may very well be discovered on even probably the most primary variants – a high quality misplaced in lots of fashionable superminis. Eager drivers on small budgets had been spoiled for selection 40 years in the past.

Peugeot 208 GT Line

Mannequin: Peugeot 208
Worth: £24,710 (GT)
Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl turbo petrol
Energy/torque: 99bhp/205Nm
Transmission: Six-speed handbook, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Measurement (L/W/H): 4,055/1,745/1,430mm

It says loads about how a lot 205 values have shot up in recent times that, with the intention to purchase a GTI just like the automotive on the earlier web page, it’ll value you comparable money to this three-year-old 208, loaned to us by bravoauto and, on the time of writing, on sale for £13,567.

The newer automotive has an enormous listing of ordinary tech, a lot of which had barely been imagined when the 205 was launched; LED headlights, DAB radio and a digital instrument panel that even homes a G-meter are all customary. However with Peugeot pitching the 208 as the luxury choice within the class, such tech is a necessity.

Multi-coloured ambient lighting can’t forestall this automotive’s cabin from feeling darkish, although – and never simply due to the shortage of crimson carpets. Blame the smaller home windows all spherical – a worthwhile aspect impact of vastly improved crash safety in newer vehicles, however one which additionally limits rearward visibility to the purpose the place a reversing digicam turns into an important characteristic.

It’s not simply security the place issues have moved on massively, although – not just for the supermini phase as a complete, however for Peugeot particularly. Even within the 205’s period, its dashboard felt a bit flaky in contrast with the category common. Against this, the 208’s cabin doesn’t simply look extra fashionable than virtually any of its direct rivals, however its total high quality is a reduce above, too. Sturdy, soft-touch plastics sit nicely alongside intricate piano-style shortcut keys on the dashboard, and using materials on the doorways and sprint makes it straightforward to consider you’re sitting in a premium product.

As in its nice, nice grandfather, the steering wheel is a slight bone of competition, although. Right here, it’s due to Peugeot’s i-Cockpit format, which locations a tiny steering wheel beneath a set of digital dials. That’s the speculation, anyway, however if you happen to select to relaxation your palms at an analogous degree to the place you’d in every other automotive, then there’s a robust likelihood that the highest of the wheel will probably be blocking a lot of the show.

On the street, the variations between the 2 vehicles are stark. The 208’s refinement is among the many greatest in its class, and as such, engine and street noise – notably the knocks and bangs from the suspension – are fantastically muted right here in contrast with within the 205. Beside the marginally intense expertise of the 205, the 208 is positively soothing.

However it definitely isn’t as a lot enjoyable. The 208 is ready as much as be composed, grippy and safe – and it’s – nevertheless it doesn’t have the identical magic because the 205. It isn’t in need of punch, although. The 208’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder’s compelled induction provides it, fittingly, 205Nm of torque, which helps the 208 pull strongly from tickover. It comes into its personal at motorway speeds, the place it’s impressively as much as the duty of masking lengthy distances – whereas breaking 50mpg with no sweat.

Click on right here for our assessment of the brand new all-electric Peugeot E-208

Alex joined Auto Specific as employees author in early 2018, serving to out with information, drives, options, and the occasional sports activities report. His present function of Chief reviewer sees him head up our street check staff, which supplies readers the complete lowdown on our comparability checks.

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