on the exterior?
different underneath the car?
different inside the car?
Behind the wheel
After changing from a MY00 206 S16 (DK-spec
XSi (1.6 16V)) 3-door to a SW GTi MY02 in November last year and have driven
now just over 12000km, and I think it’s about time to say something about it.
Since there are enough reviews regarding
the “normal” GTi’s, I will mainly comment on the extra bits of the SW.
What’s different on the exterior?
From the front towards the B-pillar there
are no differences, apart from the fact that the 5-door versions including the
SW have shorter front doors. This is something you’d have to get used to as a
con, but also as a pro.
While coming from a 3-door 206 and accustomed
to the 1-meter doors, I used to hit (with my 1m93 length) the B-pillar with my
arse or back, because that one has “moved” forwards with a 5-door version by 15
The positive thing is that the chance of
hitting something else (a car, a wall) when totally opening the door is a lot
smaller. My previous S16 did have some chips of paint missing on both of the
doors, due to careless passengers. Even after my “Watch the doors!” I was
hearing an expensive “donk” as they opened the door. And because they left the
door as it was scraping the wall, that same wall nicely treated the paint-job
even more while they were getting out.
Needless to say, I don’t have that many
The rear doors are different from the normal 5-door versions, this
because, instead of a downwards-sloping roof towards the rear, the SW’s roof
remains more horizontal over the rear doors. The (electrically
powered and slightly more tinted than the front-) windows do not to go
down all the way, because of the cut-out needed to “avoid” the rear wheel well,
so they remain 10 cm opened.
The exterior rear door handles are
positioned in the C-pillar instead of on the skin, like on the front doors.
Including the SW’s (SportsWagon’s) name
this feature is very well stolen from the Alfa 155 (SW) and it gives the 206 SW
a more sporty appearance instead of the appearance of the typical family people
mover, like the 307 Break/Estate/SW, 406 Break and the truck-load of other brand’s
Moving more towards the rear, between the C
and D pillar, there are the typical Stationwagons 3rd
row windows, and these are even more tinted than
the rear door’s windows. The lengths of these are unprecedentedly short for a Stationwagon:
only 50 cm in length at the lower and 40 cm at the higher end.
The rear light clusters are big: they cover like a boomerang the complete
D-pillar and point forward for half the length of the 3rd row
windows. The basic colour of these is (obviously) red.
The rear window is the darkest of them all,
preventing individuals from having an unwanted quick peek. A nice feature is
the possibility to only open the rear window, separately from the rear boot door. The locks, or
better the switches, for the rear door and the rear window are positioned under
the registration plate lights: one in the middle for the door and one on the
right for the rear window. If you have unlocked one, it’s impossible to unlock
the other. Another smart feature is the fact that the rear window can be
unlocked from a distance by pressing the unlock-button
on the remote key for two seconds. The An
integrated plastic rear spoiler hides the Siamese hinges. A bulge on the The
rear wiper is used as a handle to open the rear window.
The reflectors are positioned deep in the
low rear bumper, the rear fog light is still in the middle and the exhaust-tip
is hidden; there is no cut-out made for this in the bumper.
The overall length of a SW is only 200 mm
longer than the length of a normal 206.
The rear badge is up to MY03 specs, it’s
separate thus not integrated with the body coloured registration-plate
lights/door switch cover.
A SW comes standard with black roof rails
and a set of transverse rails is available at Peugeot in order to make it a
functional roof rack.
What’s different underneath the car?
From the front of the car to the rear axle
is things are mainly the same as the normal 206, except the slightly stiffer
springs, shocks, and a Ø21 mm anti-roll bar on the front axle.
The SW rear axle is significantly different from the normal 206: Two
ties are added between the suspension arms and meet in the middle onto a cast
alloy stay, wrapped around the axle body.
It comes with Ø20 mm spring bars, a 22 mm
anti-roll bar and stiffer shocks.
This layout set-up was originally designed
for the 306 Maxi by Peugeot Sport and is, next to the SW, now also used in the
206 RC/GTi180, which was introduced in France halfway into 2003.
Because of the more volumetric rear axle,
the routing of the exhaust around the rear axle is different from the 206, which
ends (as said before), “invisible” pointing 30° downwards, up to 10 cm in front
of the rear bumper.
The emergency wheel still hangs in a cradle
under the car and is a narrow, weight saver. The jack is the standard GTi scissors type.
What’s different inside the car?
There’s not that much difference in the
interior, apart from it being an unusual GTi / 5-door mix, at least until the
C-pillar. The rear windows are motor driven, with the switches between the front seats. And when necessary they are
possible to be turned off by means of a switch on the
When the rear door is opened, one can see that the boot is completely covered
(no naked steel) and supplied with a baggage-net (which can be hooked onto the rear seats backrest or
to the floor). This has been used in the normal 206 versions before.
Behind the rear seats it’s possible to mount
the (in DK standard) vertical “dog net”, preventing baggage stowed in the back from being
thrown forwards in case of an emergency stop. The net brace is hung down from
the roof with the help of two holes, left and right,
near the C-pillar and which can be covered
neatly when not used. On the lower end it’s fixed with two “seat-belts” into hinges on the floor.
It is also possible to put the vertical net
up just behind the front seats, when the rear seats are folded down and the car
is used as a temporary workhorse. In that case the two positions
near the B-pillar can be used for the top
mounting and the front seat belt sliders to hook on the lower end.
Left and right under the 3rd row
windows are solid hooks in the mould, where one can hang on hang plastic
shopping bags, a very handy feature, as simple as it is. A 12V power supply is
positioned next to the right-hand side bag-hook.
The baggage compartment can be shut by
means of a cover (commonly used in Stationwagons), and can be pulled out of a
transverse mounted roller case and hooked on the inside left and right, near to
the rear light clusters.
Left and right behind the rear wheel-wells
are two little netted compartments to store smaller stuff, like a First-Aid kit, an air compressor,
or the eventual a removable tow-hook. On the rear wheel wells are elastic bands fitted to
store even more (fx. maps).
There’s an extra interior light in the roof
over the rear seat between the C-pillars.
And there’s room made for the reflector triangle in the lower part of the rear door.
Behind the wheel
First impression when driving the car is
that it is very quiet, quieter than the S16. It seems there’s extra padding
used throughout the car to prevent too much noise from coming into the
The second thing is that the SW drives a
lot more firmly than my previous car. The rubbers of the rear suspension are
not as soft as from the normal 206, where it’s done to give the car a bit of a
steering rear (and making it sometimes a bit too tail happy). To loosen up the
SW’s tail, Peugeot has mounted a stiffer anti-roll bar, and this solution gives
the rear of the car a bigger slip angle, instead of a rear axle that
steers on flexing rubbers.
As a result, this construction makes the SW
(like I already said) much more stable at high (-er) speeds, and at the same
time more controllable in a 4-wheel drift.
I recently fitted a tow-hook (which can be detached in this case) and it definitely highlights the fact
that the rear axle is firmly braced. I tried a 450 kg trailer (some home-improvement) and loaded with at least 500
kg, I can’t feel it has any transverse load at all; I’m only reminded of it,
because of slower acceleration and the trailer’s reflection in the rear-view
mirrors, of course. :-)
Would I buy the car again?
Yes, without any hesitation: It’s the most
practical, yet entertaining car I’ve ever been able to afford to own.
It’s certainly worth its money if one is
looking for a family car, and when daddy wants to have a go with it once in a
Paul ‘The Van’ van Lieshout
Edited by BB J
© 30-06-03, 13-07-03 http://206gti.net/