My How You've Grown

gti
The present GTI is a better car than its predecessors in almost every way. It’s quicker, safer, cleaner, and can be had with more doors. One place where the original trumps the usurper however is in cuteness. The Mk1 GTI is definitely cuter.
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    1. Agreed, and I say this as the owner of two of those 205 GTIs (with and without roof) and as the owner of a mk2 Golf (54 hp).
      This reminds me. Who’s willing to help me change the valve stem seals and timing belt on a 205 CTI?

          1. The 206 was the best-looking of the 205’s descendents, IMHO, but the 205 still outdoes them all.

          2. If the 206 was a movie sequel, it’d be Highlander 2. Just not a patch on the original I reckon. Thunder absolutely stolen by the Renault Clio 172.

          3. Actually, I’m in agreement with you. But compared to the 207 and 208, it was the least terrible of the sequels.
            That said, I have yet to actually drive a 208, so my judgement may not be completely accurate. However, from looking at it, my interest is low.

          4. I think the 206, aside from losing it’s overall mojo, was even worse if you lived in a RHD country. The pedal box just seemed really offset and too close together, even by small Peugeot standards. I’ll sorta tolerate that in a Lancia Stratos or something, but c’mon this is a hatchback, and that’s just sloppy. The 208s been getting great reviews, although a bit of me wonders if when the next model comes out, the UK press won’t go “actually that was rubbish, this time Peugeot is REALLY back”

          5. Something that never made sense to me about Peugeot’s decision-making process: despite both manufacturing and selling their cars in RHD countries, RHD requirements were almost always an afterthought for them. The Peugeot 106 / Citroën Saxo couldn’t be had with air-conditioning in RHD, as an example.
            I’d forgotten about the pedal positioning in the 206 (it’s been a very long time since I last drove one) until you mentioned it, but compared to the 205s I had owned I do remember it not being as good.

          6. Restraint seems lost on modern French design. Even Citroën is into cravasses and bad solutions just for looks.

          7. I can’t think of another period in automotive design and styling where French cars have looked as un-French as they have in the last 15 years or so.

          8. The French are going to need a solid turnaround of sorts. Most attention is trouble-based: High labour cost, government intervention in labour and capital relations, low priced European cars being squeezed by Asian competition with nowhere to go, a heritage very hard to go after, really cool experiments that fall flat (Renault Avantime anyone?), issues in the Far and Near East etc and always the troubles with reliability of the end product. It’s not that I have any solutions, but I can understand how the French companies are in some sort of identity struggle.
            On the other hand, Renault is doing some really cool stuff with their fresh electric cars, the Alpine and a Megane that I believe is selling very well – even though it is low-margin. Dacia is a raving success and the Nissan connection seems to have worked well. PSA has had their diesel engines placed in just about every brand in Europe (with subsequent lowest reliability engine in many of these cars).

          9. Completely agreed. In many ways, it’s not dissimilar to the problems they were facing in (roughly) the mid-’70s to early-’80s, though some of the reasons for today’s issues are admittedly different.
            One other thing that I feel may be hurting the French motor industry: with the exceptions noted above, the major manufacturers seem to be locked into a death race to see who can do the best job of being exactly like the competition. Whether that competition is from Europe, Asia, the Americas, or elsewhere doesn’t seem to matter – the mindset is apparently one of, “oh, that manufacturer sells a lot of Car X. We should make our cars in that class the same as Car X, and then we’ll sell a lot of them, too.”
            The problem compounding this is that this has led to a wide range of models with nothing to really differentiate them from the competition, which in turn is giving potential customers no real reason to buy something French over something made by any other manufacturer regardless of the country of origin.
            It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens if PSA actually goes ahead with re-entry into the North American market beyond Mexico in the next few years for two reasons: firstly, to see if they’ve learned from their past mistakes on this side of the water; secondly, to see if their cars are capable of competing in this market without becoming the next Sterling, Daihatsu, or Daewoo.
            As much as I would like to hope for the best, from what I saw of the DS range while we were in Ireland and the UK a few months ago, they shouldn’t be pinning their hopes on it – and it’s hard to see what the rest of the range has to offer these days that an established manufacturer on this side of the water already doesn’t.

          10. Seems we absolutely agree on their perspective, yes. The DS models are a directionless mess. The Cactus is fun, but what distinguishes it from other cars is really less than meets the eye right away. But, honestly, I haven’t driven any PSA product newer than 2002, so that’s a lot of theory right there…
            On NA I think that the success of the Ford Focus and all the same sized GM products is an opening for foreign car producers. PSA isn’t going to build a truck or other sort of whale, so they’ll have to have distinguished products that work both here and there. Exciting!

          11. I don’t get where DS is going at all, but it’s early days. One of the weird things is the DS5 has been criticised for poor ride quality. I mean if there’s one defining quality you’d absolutely expect of a car with a DS badge it’s a magic carpet smooth ride.

  1. When I’m out and about in my MkI Scirocco, it really is hard not to notice how large late model small cars are now. A Miata looks large compared to the Scirocco. A Fiat 500 is even bigger. Any VW looks huge next to it.

    1. Had the same experience a while back in our Peugeot 405: pulling up next to a Toyota Corolla, it quickly became apparent that the Corolla was the same size if not slightly larger than the Peugeot.
      Realising that our Jetta just was slightly bigger than an Alfa 164 was something of a shock, too – I knew the Jetta had gained some girth in every dimension over its last couple of iterations, but I had no idea of the extent to which that applied.

      1. I expected you to have made a mistake with that 164 and Jetta comparison. You have not. The Jetta is very marginally larger, with the exception of wheel base. Odd, I always saw the 164 as not one but two segments larger than the Golf/Jetta. It was when the 164 was new.

        1. Yep. It’s not a huge difference between the two, but remembering back to when the 164 was a large car, it really put things in perspective.

      1. I love the Mk II. It had my favourite seats, driving position, and stock engine noises of the any GTI. It was an amazing car to drive foolishly because it always just seemed to cock a rear wheel and deal with whatever poor decision the driver had made.

      1. Given that the Artz Supper Rabbit was done in 1979 it would have to have been a Back To The Future prototype.

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