Last Chance To Buy: Peugeot 206 cc

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The Independent Online

When's it going?

The 206CC has now been replaced by the 207CC, which is larger, has more luggage space and seems a lot happier at being a proper four-seater. The styling is arguably more butch and the quality is apparently better, but hey - the 206CC was the UK's best-selling convertible, so it can't have been all bad.

What's good about it?

The model was something of a shock success for Peugeot, which in effect had decided to do its own budget version of the Mercedes SLK. And you can't really argue with the cleverness of the idea of combining a coupé and a convertible in one cute package. Whereas most cheaper convertibles relied on the driver having to get out and unpack the canvas hood and generally faff about with clips and buttons, the CC didn't. This is its major selling point - and perhaps its downfall, as it turned out.

The 2.0-litre GTi engine is surprisingly nippy, and the slower 1.6 maybe even suits the touring character of the little car a bit better. And you can improve on the 1.6's already decent 40mpg by buying yourself a 1.6 HDi diesel that should return about 57mpg.

What's bad about it?

The SLK has an awful lot to answer for. What works on a premium-priced, Teutonically engineered, upmarket motor for the Marks & Spencer generation does not necessarily translate to the Costcutter end of the high street.

The 206CC is a complex case. Technically, it might look like a heroic failure compared to the twice-the-price Merc, but in the new and used car market it has certainly hit the spot. Never mind that some owners have experienced that sinking feeling when the tin lid refused to raise or lower; it still doesn't matter that trim has rattled, raised roofs leaked, side windows refused to go all the way up and gearboxes become just a bit obstructive.

Those extra hours spent in Peugeot service reception areas have not been wasted. They had a purpose, reminding CC owners that they had got a one-trick pony. No driving thrills, marginal rear-seat accommodation - just a cute car with an origami roof.

Even worse, it was a car for girls. No really; the number of bloke buyers was a measly 12 per cent, due to its overly cute looks. The new 207CC is supposed to address that. Mind you, the 206CC is still more macho than a Micra C+C.

How much?

Dealers seem to have plenty of ex-demonstrator examples for sale that have low mileage but not particularly low prices. You are better off looking to the brokers for discounts - which explains why (08700 627 722) has 1.6 Sport models at £11,729, down from £14,145. Meanwhile, (08703 500 144) is offering the 2.0 Allure at £14,191, down from £15,870.

Any snags?

Plenty of quality niggles. The 206 model range has been subject to 10 recalls in total, many of which are safety- related and affect the CC. In the main, it is the quality issues that have made the ownership experience less than enjoyable for some buyers.