Caradisiac’s special neighbor car
In the summer, the neighbors’ car takes a vacation, but not quite. The series has been transformed for six episodes to answer the question you’ve always wondered: what are the personal cars of Caradisiac journalists. Brand new powerful and shiny cars? Old cars? Watch out for surprises. This week, Olivier Pages, deputy editor in charge of tests, tells us about the one that has accompanied him for 14 years, a humble Peugeot 206 station wagon.
He just came out of his exam test: technical control. And the report of the 206 SW HDI 90 brings a smile to its owner. His 206 SW, vintage 2004, was still offered 20/20, 18 years after its first registration. But how is it that the editor in charge of testing, and who, as such, sees the best and sometimes the worst automotive production available here pass through his hands, drives a modest city car, be it an all-station wagon ? For many reasons, each as pragmatic as the other.
It’s 2008, and Olivier is looking for a car, he drives a gasoline Volkswagen Golf and his compact car is quite greedy. Then he is just an ordinary journalist and his budget is limited. “In particular, I needed a car that was not too big, adapted to the Paris region, quite robust and, above all, practical.” Armed with these specs, the choices are pretty limited and the car quickly stands out from the pack. The breakout version of the little 206, dubbed the SW, is essential. Chance, a brand associate, is selling his, it has 66,000 km and is four years old. It’s also in XS trim and quite royally equipped for its time as it has 4 electric windows, automatic lights and headlights and equally automatic air conditioning.
Well equipped, down to the rear window
In terms of reliability, it has nothing to prove as its 90bhp HDI diesel engine. is better known for that quality than those lap times. It was decided and the young journalist got behind the wheel for 9,900 euros. But this is an important detail that also tipped the scales in favor of little Sochaux. “The self-opening rear window is super practical when you’re shopping.” Extremely rare equipment for its time, and almost non-existent today.
Finally, it is a huge test of reliability, which the one who has meanwhile become Caradisiac’s test chief, performed for the next 14 years. “I haven’t had any problems the whole time.” Only the air conditioner died recently, due to a leak in its circuit. Uncomfortable in hot weather. An inconvenience that Olivier compensates for by driving outdoors, as he walks to the editorial office, in the center of Paris, every day with his daily : his motorcycle.
But the heat is not the only reason that makes him ditch the Peugeot to go to the capital. The 206 has a Crit’Air 4 sticker that closes the doors of Paris on it. That might be one of the few motivations that will encourage him to change cars one of these days. Because there is nothing else to complain about. “Indeed there are some hardware noises and a damaged silent block”. But aside from these flaws, the little station wagon has stood the test of time perfectly.
It remains to discover the new rare bird. Because a new criterion was added to the time specifications based on compactness and practicality: “will have to run on E85”. And if this carburation adapts perfectly to much of the current production, Olivier will have a hard time finding an increasingly rare city car in the manufacturer’s catalog. And above all, a model equipped with an opening rear window.