Peugeots 206 CC
WHEN PEUGEOT'S 206 CC FIRST HIT the streets in 2001, owners had to remember to check nobody was around every time they raised or lowered the amazing two-piece folding metal top. Mesmerising to watch, the balletic jack-knife dance not only drew crowds from the pavement, it also grabbed the attention of passing drivers!
The CC's ingenious metal top remains a key ingredient of the 206 CC's cheeky charisma. Before then it had only been seen on the Mercedes SLK at a price of around ten thousand pounds more than the 206 CC. Incidentally, Peugeot was first with a folding metal roof. Back in 1934, the 401 Eclipse was some 20 years ahead of the American Ford Sunliner with this neat trick.
Many car owners with traditional fabric-roofed convertibles have swapped them for the steel-topped CC, lured not just by the compact sportster's glitzy looks, but also by the added security of a metal roof. Opening (and closing) the electro-hydraulically operated roof (along with all four side windows) is accomplished in under 20 seconds at the touch of a button after releasing the two safety latches.
Beneath the glam body and the easily recognised feline 'face' is the chassis of Britains best-selling supermini, the 206 hatchback. To be precise, the 206GTi but with a stiffened bodyshell for shake-
free convertible days plus a more cushioned ride for those coupé days when the sun's having a sulk.
Power comes from a 1.6 or 2.0-litre unit the latter also from the 206 GTi. Automatic transmission is an option on the less powerful 110bhp 1.6 model. Installed in the 206 CC, the 16-valve 2.0-litre unit kicks out a willing 138bhp and 142.5lb ft of torque. Which is more than enough to whisk it to 62mph in a shade under nine seconds, and on to a top speed of 126mph.
The two-litre is a smooth engine, happy to be revved, but the persona of the CC is not about hell-for-leather driving. It's about relaxed wafting and joie de vivre indulging the open-air experience while looking good.
Not that the CC can't hustle if youre in the mood: the steering is good, the ride well damped, and it's not afraid to attack corners.
A number of drivers have rated its driveability as being superior to that of the more rigid 206 GTi, which is hardly surprising the 206 CC
just happens to be fun to drive.
The driving position is improved over that of the regular 206, due to comfortable, well-bolstered sport-style seats that sit you lower in the car with improved knee room. A useful touch is the oil level monitor sited between the rev-counter and speedometer that automatically checks the level for you every time you start the engine.
The driver's seat is height adjustable, and the leather-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel adjusts for rake. Sitting snugly in a well put together cabin, the driver looks out over a rational dash with five red-needled, silver-grey-faced instruments. Drilled alloy pedals along with polished alloy gear knob, kick plates and interior door handles enhance the interior. Outside, the fuel filler cap is also finished in aluminium.
Despite the additional weight handicap 50kg over the standard three-door hatch the 2.0-litre twin-cam is eager to prove that the 206 CC is more than just a funky boulevardier. This little Frenchie is definitely one to head out on the highway and, given the chance, the CC will spin its front wheels as it whips off the line. However, anyone buying one will be looking beyond a raw hot-hatch. Their kids may
have flown the nest, or they may not even have a nest of their
own yet. But what they will have is a desire for some self-indulgent motoring topped off with a dash of style. And, they won't be disappointed.
Topless cruising can be done with the windows raised or lowered one button does it all. And if youre travelling à deux at motorway speeds, the optional wind blocker is particularly welcome and maintains a civilised environment in the cabin.
Reassuring security and safety benefits of the steel roof aside, the CC comes equipped with ample safety kit, including Smart driver and passenger airbags as well as dual (head and chest) front side airbags. The front passenger airbag has a deactivate switch, plus the seat
has Isofix mountings for a child-seat. Four 3-point seat belts and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution are standard.
There are also two rear safety roll arches, and a heated, laminated rear windscreen.
With the roof up, the boot is actually larger than that of the hatchback, but with the roof folded away luggage space is reduced to a flat rectangular area that calls for cases to lie flat. A vinyl blind
is drawn horizontally across and over any luggage to prevent anything being damaged as the top folds down and if it's not in place the roof won't budge. Hasty owners have been known to blame the roof
for acting up, when in fact it was only trying to protect their luggage!
A boot-mounted luggage rack finished in stainless steel is also available, and can take up to 20kg of additional luggage.
The sculpted rear bucket seats making up the 'plus-two' easily accessible via the tilt/slide front seats that return with memory are best for youngsters. Two adults could manage short trips in the rear, or a bit longer if just one sits 'side saddle'.
The 2.0-litre 206 CC comes well equipped with electric front and rear windows, speed-related power steering, a remote control 6-speaker CD/radio, heated electric mirrors, 9-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels running 205/45 rubber, trip computer, tinted glass, heat reflective windscreen, external temperature gauge, and digital AirCon with climate control. Our test car came with the full leather interior a must-have £700 option worth every penny.
If you hanker after a funky sporting convertible that offers you an all year-round trump card against the British climate while having the ability to get some wind in your hair whenever and wherever the mood takes you, then Peugeot has the perfect car for you the 206 Coupé Convertible. MotorBar
Peugeot 206 CC 2.0 SE | £16,195
Maximum speed: 126mph | 0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Overall MPG: 35mpg | Power: 138bhp | Torque: 142lb ft