Peugeot 205GTI (1984 – 1994) Review

Peugeot 205GTI (1984 – 1994) At A Glance


+Great handling, brilliant styling, excellent performance, a very cool 1980s hot hatchback that everyone's cottoning-on to

-Still some badly repaired examples out there so be alert

The Peugeot 205GTI is considered by many enthusiasts to be there best hot hatchback to emerge from the 1980s. Although, the Volkswagen Golf GTI is more complete in its abilities, and has reliability and build quality that the French car could only dream about, the baby Peugeot majors on fun and communication with almost single-minded clarity.

Volkswagen certtainly kick-started the GTI craze in 1976, even if it didn't really create the concept, but the 205 took things a step further when it was launched in 1984. Initially available only with a 1.6-litre engine, the 205GTI suffered from super-stiff suspension and Lego-build quality, but by 1986 and the interim facelift model with 115bhp and re-jigged suspension, the 205 was just about perfected. Later that year, the 205 gained the 130bhp 1905cc XU engine, instantly giving more rapid acceleration and a higher top speed.

Debate still rages as to whether the 1.6- or the 1.9-litre car is the better of the pair – the smaller engined car is slightly lighter and better balanced, yet the more powerful 1.9 is ultimately faster. Both variants had a reputation for lift-off oversteer – which has been subsequently tamed by the fitment of modern tyres.

Ask Honest John

Could you suggest a relatively easy to maintain and economic to fix modern classic?

"Having sold my two classic Triumphs, I'm at the age where I'm having difficulty in doing full maintenance jobs but still appreciate driving and owning a classic car as my hobby. Is there a car that I could purchase that gives me the thrill of a "classic car feel" and turns heads but is (relatively) easy to maintain whilst, if needed, incur low(er) garage costs for those jobs I am unable to tackle? I have a car for everyday travel and not too keen on a Morgan due to its harsh ride, so could you another two-seater soft top? I have about £40,000 to spend."
It's going to be tricky to tick all these boxes. If you want something that turns heads, that normally means a premium model such as a Porsche. In which case, you'd be expected to have anything but the most basic oil and filter it serviced at a specialist. Plus, if you're after mod cons like power steering, air-con, decent stereo (and soundproofing) then you're looking at cars that are a bit more complicated. If you're after something that's easy to get in and out of and doesn't have harsh ride, then you may have to think outside the box. You could go for something traditional such as a Triumph Stag (assuming you want to keep it Triumph), which is still very much a classic two-seater with a great engine. Alternatively, look at 911 ownership for a bit of wow-factor, and a decent compromise between mod cons and specialist servicing... and don't discount the later Jaguar XJ-S. We know plenty of people who own Honda S2000s and are terrifically happy with them - stunning performance and reliability (see also Nissan 350Z). Sightly left of centre coupe options to consider - BMW 8-Series and Mazda RX-7 or RX-8 if you're feeling brave, Toyota Supra. We'd also have a look at hot hatches - cars like the Mk1 Golf GTi and Peugeot 205 GTI are excellent to drive, have reasonably mod cons, and can be maintained at home... they also have plenty of wow-factor. Perhaps something like a TVR Griffith would also suit you.
Answered by Keith Moody

Can you suggest a family car with classic car potential?

"I'm looking for a family car to replace my 2006 Audi A3 2.0 TFSI. I only drive 6000 miles per year, so depreciation and road tax are my biggest expenses. Can you recommend a used car, that doesn't exceed £20,000, that could hold its value or even appreciate. I'd also like it to be reasonable in terms of road tax and mpg."
Your budget isn't enough to stretch to the high-end cars like Ferrari, and a modern classic within your price range needs to be a sports car if it's going to hold it's value - which excludes your criteria of it being a family car, and being inexpensive to tax and returning decent mpg. Perhaps something like a Renault Avantime would fit the bill? It's definitely a future classic and more than capable of moving the family. Failing that, there's a strong following for Land Rover, so a Defender might work - but it will feel very agricultural compared to your current vehicle. If you need something more middle of the road, try the new Ford Fiesta ST (although you'll have to ride the depreciation curve) or try and jump on the hot hatch wagon, with the Golf GTI or 205 GTI looking like good bets for an all-rounder.
Answered by Keith Moody

Range Rover Evoque panoramic roof cracked when we manually closed the boot - is this normal?

"My girlfriend closed the boot of our Range rover Evoque manually, without using the auto button. I was sitting in the driver seat at the time and it made a strange noise that I hadn't heard before. I later noticed a crack on the roof about 6-inch in length. I assume that it was the torsion that cracked the roof as the crack was not directional in shape like waves. Outside the car, the crack went all the way to the end of the roof and, beneath the seal around the glass, you could see a physical crack. However, the main crack could not be felt to the touch. There is no clear impact area apart from a sliver of glass missing on the crack, which I'm told was caused when the outer layer cracked. Ranger Rover customer service has to be the worst I have ever encountered. Ranger Rover garages just take a picture and can't confirm how they can prove that it was an impact area. The panoramic roof isn't covered under glass cover on car insurance and Range Rover want around £3000 to fix the issue."
The glass in hatchbacks of cars can crack and shatter if they are closed from a side rather from the centre. Happened to me years ago with a 205GTI and regularly happens to readers. I guess the same could happen with a glass panoramic roof if closing from one side imposed excess stress on the hinge at the top of the hatchback, but it's our first report of this received on an Evoque. If your only option is to spend £3000 (and you can't claim on insurance), it might be worth investigating having the pan roof replaced with an electric sliding canvas roof. Talk to Kahn Design or Bristol Sunroofs.
Answered by Honest John

Can I get a classic for daily use?

"I would like to buy a pre-1986 classic car, it should be suitable for local trips and be useable 2 to 4 days per week, average 100 miles per week. Can you recommend makes/models that would still run well. Budget is £5000 or less. "
There is a massive following and consequently massive parts availability for Volkswagen Golf MK II GTI and GTI 16v. Not brilliantly reliable. Can be rust prone. But the enthusiasm of enthusiasts outweighs that and a well bought one should still be an investment. The Peugeot 205 GTI 1.6 drove and handled better and are fairly rust resistant, but of lighter construction so tend to deteriorate more. Also, take a look here:
Answered by Honest John
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