Motoring: Rorty but nice

A car you can chuck around corners is not the marketing slogan most manufacturers would claim for their product. But, writes John Simister, in the case of the Peugeot 106 Rallye this is most definitely an asset.

A car like this almost certainly shouldn't be allowed. However, in the giant net of moral propriety, political correctness and other, less closely-defined tendencies towards killjoy behaviour, there is a hole. Through it has just dropped the Peugeot 106 Rallye.

This car is what the Mini Cooper was first time around, before it got reinvented as a full-size alternative to one of those Franklin Mint replicas. The Rallye is small, simple, fast, rorty, agile and endlessly entertaining.

The Rallye, costing just pounds 9,895, makes a virtue of its trim's basic nature. Electric windows, central locking, power steering, a sunroof, anti-lock brakes? Certainly not. But not having them is strangely exhilarating.

It brings you closer to the action, too. There isn't even an airbag; steer round the obstruction is the message. You do get a radio, though, and a bright blue carpet to set off the body-hugging seats.

The Rallye isn't the most potent 106, for that honour goes to the 120bhp, 16-valve, pounds 12,935 GTI. But with 103bhp on offer from its eight-valve, 1.6-litre engine, and considerably less weight to pull along, the Rallye still moves pretty smartly. Its engine revs like a catherine wheel, the gearing is low, so you'll still get a push in the back when you accelerate on the motorway in fifth gear, and you can throttle-blip between gears just like a rally driver. Which, of course, is the point.

You can blaze into bends like a rally driver, too, but please try not to get too addicted. The secret of the 106's agility is its smallness, its fat, grippy little wheels and stiff suspension to sharpen up the steering.

It can be made to turn more tightly by releasing the accelerator in the middle of a corner - as in many cars, but not with the immediacy and controllability, and to the extent, that you can in the 106 Rallye.

Does that sound irresponsible? No, just interactive. And there is another reason for the 106 Rallye's existence: rallying.

In France, people run them in Group N2, a particular rally class that guarantees thrills without breaking the Credit Agricole. There was another 106 Rallye before this one, a 1.3-litre car based on the old-shape, pre- 1996 106, which took even more delight in flinging its tail out in a tight corner, and before that a 205 Rallye.

I thought we'd never see the like of the 205 again, but it seems I'm wrong. You can have the Rallye in bright white or brilliant blue. I'll have mine in blue, please, because it's more French. And the Peugeot 106 Rallye is very French.

No one else makes a car quite like this.Why, I do not know. But what I do know is this. You won't get more fun for less money anywhere else. Peugeot 106 Rallye Price: pounds 9,895. Engine: 1,587cc, four cylinders, eight valves, 103bhp at 6,200rpm. Five-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive. Top speed 121mph, 0-60 in 9.4secs, 29-34mpg

Rivals Citroen Saxo VTR: pounds 10,865. The Saxo and 106 are sisters under the skin, and this VTR is the Saxo VTS (106 GTI equivalent) but with a 90bhp engine. Fiat Cinquecento Sporting: pounds 7,450. Looks cute'n'chunky; cheapest car on sale with alloy wheels. Feels frisky but not fast. Mini Cooper: pounds 8,995. The original rollerskate, but overstuffed, overpriced and underpowered nowadays. Still fun, but curio value only.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

WORLDbytes: Two-Day Intensive Camera training and Shoot: Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th March

expenses on shoots: WORLDbytes: Volunteering with a media based charity,for a ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 4 Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: A school in Tameside is currently l...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are currently looking for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower