30 years of the Peugeot 205

Hitting 30 is something of a milestone for most people. It’s the age by which time, for most of us, youthful abandon is slowly being replaced by middle-aged responsibility, when comfortable routine replaces edgy spontaneity; when a nice cup of tea starts to sound more inviting than a night on the tiles.

Still looking youthful at 30
Still looking youthful at 30
Some of us, though, buck the trend. Just like the Peugeot 205, which is celebrating the big three-zero today, and showing no sign of growing up. Indeed, the GTI versions so beloved of PHers across the country are still introducing drivers to the raw thrill of pure, unfettered hot hatchery, complete with the obligatory trailing-throttle oversteer and delightfully torquey XU-series engines. The GTI became such a legend that it almost single-handedly transformed Peugeot from an also-ran manufacturer of comfortable-but-dull family cars into a company with a reputation for producing the best-looking, best-handling family cars out there. It's a good job they haven't squandered that reputation and returned to the former, isn't it? Oh hang on...

As you might expect, Peugeot has sought to recapture the magic of the 205 with each successive 20x GTI,  its latest attempt coming soon in the shape of the 208. But unless they pull off something really special, the only way to experience the thrill of driving the 205 GTI is still... well... by driving a 205 GTI.

Tidy 1.6 is appealing - and good value!
Tidy 1.6 is appealing - and good value!
Good job they’re still one of the unexpected bargains of the performance used car market, then – as we highlighted in our awards last year. How’s about this slightly jaded but (mostly) unmolested 1.9, for a remarkably reasonable £1,300? It won’t win any concours awards, but it look like it’s been well cared-for and should offer all the flavour of the larger-engined 205 for a bargain basement price. Of course, if only a near-immaculate GTI will do, you’ll have to pay a bit more – although the price demanded for this 152,000 mile example seems a little on the steep side.

Alternatively, if you disagree with Mr Harris and reckon the 1.6 is actually the 205 of choice, you’ll be well-catered for too. This clean-looking 1.6 can be yours for £2,500 which, bearing in mind its condition and reasonable mileage, feels very reasonable indeed. There’s certainly something enormously appealing about clean, original examples these in red with amber indicators all round.

Whichever model floats your boat, if you’ve always had a hankering for an example of Peugeot’s finest hour, get in quick – prices aren’t likely to hang around at this level forever. For a car that’s still spoken of in such hallowed terms and loved by most, these are still fantastic buys.

Oh, and happy 30th, 205. Don’t ever grow up.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (120) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Nors 15 Feb 2013

    Fantastic little car!!

    Kind of ironic that this celebration of an icon is annouced whilst Peugeot are in financial dire straights and announcing lay off's all over the place.

    Perhaps they should look back at this car and see if they can re-kindle some of it's spirit!!

    Pug's are really not nice to look at these days and are made more brittle than Oscar Pistorious's defence

  • smartypants 15 Feb 2013

    OK I was young (19), but the 205GTI it was one of the worst driving experiences I've had - awful. Very heavy front end, did not feel at all nimble. Absolutely cracking to look at though, was very jealous of two of my mates who both had red 1.9s

    I still kind of want one

  • SidewaysSi 15 Feb 2013

    I have had a couple of 205s and dearly loved them. Superb driver's cars. Peugeot has really gone backwards in the past 15 years or so with nothing of any value to the enthusiast. Big shame.

  • macdeb 15 Feb 2013

    SidewaysSi said:
    Superb driver's cars. Peugeot has really gone backwards in the past 15 years or so with nothing of any value to the enthusiast. Big shame.
    yes I had one, a 'turbo technics' 1.9 with adjustable boost, I so wish I still had it. They just don't make 'em like that anymore. Fab' little car.

  • mooseracer 15 Feb 2013

    I had a C plate phase 1 like the one linked in the article. Loved that car although it was falling apart even then and that was almost 20 years ago! Followed up with a phase 2 1.9 a few years later and it was great. They really are a lovely looking hatchback, everything just seems right and the drive is just fantastic.

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