Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI (1987-94) - Classics Under $30k

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It’s not because it’s très chic or even magnifique that a little Peugeot 205 GTI catches your eye


1987-94 Peugeot 205 1.9 GTI 

This potent little hatch’s Gallic appeal is based on how well the sporty body kit complements the car’s basic styling, creating a car with an assertive stance that oozes attitude. It sits low, with fat-tyred ‘pepper-pot’ alloys peeping out from wheel-arch extensions at each corner, robust body-protection mouldings linking front and rear bumpers, and under-bumper fog lights completing the performance picture.

Stuffing the lively Bosch Jetronic injected 1.9-litre SOHC four and sweet-shifting five-speed gearbox into an engine compartment that first housed engines under 1400cc makes access for anything other than basic maintenance challenging, but it fills the space and looks tough.

On the road the 205 GTI is a joy to drive – fast, agile and responsive to all driver inputs, handling more like a go kart than a hatch with room for four. The steering is heavy on pre-1991 models thanks to a lack of power steering, particularly when parking, but dead accurate in the twisties. At its best when driven assertively, it corners as if on rails, with the caveat that as a pure front-wheel-drive car you need to keep the power on through the tight stuff. Mid-corner back-offs risk big-time spins.

As with all hotties try to avoid thrashed examples. Add points for one with good service records. While 205s are tough and durable overall, driver’s seats are prone to wear on side bolsters and matching cloth is scarce.

Engines tend to burn oil, but the remedies are well understood. A fresh cam belt (and water pump while you’re at it) is the best way to consummate your relationship with your sexy new French companion.


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