Wednesday – Talking Two Tone

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Jessica ‘GTI‘ reminds me of the late eighties when it was de rigour for young sporty lads to have one. It was a label for the fast, cut above the rest model but was always attached to a sensible car.

This Peugeot is all that a GTI should be, it drives in a sophisticated way with responsive steering, well calibrated gears, good brakes and speed.  The combination of all those have come together to make this an enjoyable car to drive.

That combined with an straightforward console and intuitive touch screen display. It’s a system that didn’t require me to sit in a layby trying every option and button possible to use the satnav or change stations on the radio.

I was very intrigued to see that it is possible to create two tone dash and door handles, from a (slightly grating) red fading to black. This opens up a world of possibilities for car interiors.

I am surprised it has not been exploited in a bigger way. Of course, there is a danger that it could all get very messy and the inside of your car could end up looking like a childrens play area. However, in the right hands it could all be very exiting.

So I will be a little sad to say good bye to the lads’ (and lasses, it seems) GTI…

Saturday – Difficult Second Album

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I have to say, I never really know which cars Jessica is going to like and which ones she isn’t. I didn’t hold out much hope for the 208 but it appears to be a surprise hit, in a ‘difficult second album’ type way.

I’m still not sure myself. While the GTi is an absolute joy to drive, with a sweet six-speed gearbox and taut handling, the styling of the car is not completely in proportion. It looks top heavy and a little ‘heavy’ to be endearing.

I suppose my taste is coloured by the looks and feel of the original Peugeot 205 GTI. Small, compact and in perfect proportion, it made the Golf GTI look like an ugly duckling at the time.

Our test car is in my perfect colour – grey. So the fact it doesn’t make me swoon with envy when I see it every morning might speak volumes.

Friday – Laughing Stock

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I think it was Richard Hammond who said the Mini was the saddest looking car on the road – thanks to the downbeat front grille. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Wiltshire and, as you can see from the photo, the 208 GTi seems to have plenty to smile about.

Peugeot hasn’t really modified the GTi grille much from the standard car but I wonder if a psychologist would say that driving a car with a cheery front end makes you feel better when you see it parked on your driveway in the morning?

It must do because yesterday I had a potential sense of humour failure when the passenger seat in the 208 decided to go on strike. The adjustment mechanism just packed up, so the neither the seat back or base could be locked in place!

It’s an odd feeling driving round with a ‘dead’ seat next to you. It rolls backwards and forwards at will whenever I brake or accelerate.

Who’s to blame? Well, it was that nice driver from Fiat who came to pick up last week’s 500, of course. I collected him at the station and, when he went to adjust the seat, well, we had a comical moment.

Obviously industrial espionage. Fiat 1 – Peugeot 0.

Thursday – Teenage Tearaway?

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The Peugeot 205 GTI was a car that always got me in to trouble. A speeding ticket and some rather scary sideway slides on the mud-splattered roads of Herefordshire were all part of my ‘growing up’ process.

They say this new 208 GTi has grown up too – that it’s not the teenager tearaway the 205 was. Well, you could have fooled me. If growing up means better brakes, lots of airbags and sports suspension then I’m an old so-and-so.

I think we’ve seen every possible tweaking of a conventional hatchback to turn it into a hot hatch but the 208 parked outside on my driveway looks full of genuine purpose.

It’s lower than the standard 208, the front grille has been revised and the side skirts and rear spoiler suggest true intent. It’s the same inside, the usual mix of harsh-edged sports seats and colour-coordinated door handles let you know this isn’t model you choose for gentle drives to the shopping centre.

I’m looking forward to the next seven days in the GTi – hopefully without the speeding ticket and slides I remember so well…