Peugeot 206 van: bigger may still be better for LCV diesels

Peugeot 206 van: bigger may still be better for LCV diesels – road report

Ian Shaw

Peugeot’s 206 is the epitome of the car derived van. Agile, urban-friendly and built by a maker of some of the best small high-speed diesel engines around. The latest embodiment of the the 1.4 litre HDi is now available in the 206 car, but Peugeot is retaining the older 1.9 litre for some time to come in the van. There’s good reason for that, it might not be as fuel efficient but its flexibility and ease of driving have marked it out as a particularly good small LCV unit. We put it to the test.

With a 525 Kgs payload the 206 is highly unlikely to run fully laden, the Partner starts at only 600 Kgs, so the 206 is certainly muscular enough for its Bantam-weight kerb mass of just one-tonne.

However it is in load volume that car-derived vans, by their very nature, find their real limits. At just over 1.1 cubic metres the 206 is not huge, yet it is almost 1.3 metres long in the load bay

The rear hatchback door lifts to a good height although there is the bumper-level ledge to contend with for lifting out heavy items. The carpet in the load bay should really be ousted for an ABS load liner, but it cuts down on noise resonance and is probably cheaper too. The only real fault being in the load lashing eyes. They may be fine in the car to hold a suitcase, but not in a van. There’s an optional full-height bulkhead which can be fitted behind the cab seats.

However, it is in that cab where the 206 van shines. Sure the seats are a bit flat, and the pedals a tad offset, a la 106, but the refined and punchy 1.9 diesel engine means you crave the glorious HDi less than you would imagine.

At the kerb weight it will show the 206 car a few things. It is a lively performer, the handling is good with masses of front end grip and the ride is impressive when unladen. With many companies turning to car-derived vans for drivers more normally used to an estate car for field engineer work, the resistance to driving a van home could be reduced here.

On the motorway it cannot hope to be truly car-like, the empty box that is the van body is too good a resonator of road and wind noise for that. At the legal limit it is more than acceptable and dynamically it’s a good package apart from the spongy brakes on our example.

The cab is pleasant with an airbag equipped, height adjustable steering wheel — endowed with power assistance — reasonable minor stowage space and a `secret’ compartment under the seat like the Partner and Berlingo. The `distance to next service’ indicator, engine immobilser and remote control for the radio/cassette complete this very promising package.

YES PLEASE EASE OF DRIVING

CAR LIKE MANNERS

NO THANKS SOFT BRAKES

LACKS HDi ECONOMY

FACT FILE

LIST PRICE: 8,000 [pounds sterling] (+VAT)

ENGINE: 8,000 [pounds sterling] (+VAT)

TRANSMISSION: 5 SpeeD manual

GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT: 1525kg

PAYLOAD: 515kg

LOAD VOLUME: 1.13 cu.m

COMPANY VAN RATING: 8/10

COPYRIGHT 2002 DMG World Media Ltd.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group