Road test / PEUGEOT 806

Call it what you will - MPV, people carrier, monocab or glazed van - the new Peugeot 806 is a clever vehicle. It has sliding rear doors, bags of room, opulent furnishings and up to eight seats that can be twisted round, folded up, or simply removed. All this with car-like dynamics and a road "footprint" no bigger than an ordinary saloon's. Given such versatility, why is Peugeot forecasting modest first-year sales? Because the square- backed, bluff-fronted 806 has an image problem that only time and familiarity will overcome.

Peugeot hopes to lower the 806's handicap by capitalising on Ford's lavish promotion of the rival Galaxy, hyped as a new breed of mainstream saloon, not an MPV.

The 806 is the first of three new joint-venture MPVs to go on sale in Britain. Clones from Citroen and Fiat follow soon. The Peugeot comes with a choice of three equipment packages - even the cheapest SL gets two airbags, powered windows, eight-speaker stereo, deadlocks and an immobiliser - and two engines. The petrol 2.0 gives adequate pep and reasonable refinement but performance freaks will have to wait for the potent V6; Ford and VW offer one in the Galaxy/Sharan twins, as does Renault in the pioneering Espace, so Peugeot must follow suit. Alternatively, there's a frugal 1.9- litre diesel that pulls sluggishly until its turbo-charger is working effectively in the mid-speed ranges.

Like the Galaxy/Sharan, the 806 passes muster as a car. Despite the lofty stance which gives a commanding view out, there's no impression of top-heavy insecurity. Steering is easy and precise, cornering stable and free from lurching. The 806 will hustle through roundabouts just about as smartly as low-slung saloons, and I could name several estate cars - Ford's Mondeo, for a start - that ride less smoothly.

Roger Bell

Specifications

Peugeot 806 2.0SL, from pounds 16,500 Engine 1998cc, four cylinders, 123bhp at 5,750rpm. Five-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive. Top speed 110mph. 0-60mph in 13 seconds, average fuel consumption 29.3mpg.

Rivals

Ford Galaxy 2.0i Aspen, pounds 16,495 Sleeker, more stylish than 806, not quite so versatile. Drives like a car, rides and handles well. The MPV benchmark.

Nissan Serena 2.0SLX, pounds 15,660 Keenly priced mid-engined seven-seater made in Spain. Looks and drives like a small minibus.

Renault Espace 2.0RN, pounds 16,490 Despite a makeover, this precursor of the MPV breed is beginning to look and feel its age. New model due next year.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

    £16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

    Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

    Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

    No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
    How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

    Power of the geek Gods

    Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

    Perfect match

    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high