Peugeot 205 CTi

Introduced in May 1986, the Cabriolet version of Peugeot's ever popular 205 GTi is regarded as one of the cheekier cars around. In designing the car, Pininfarina cleverly retained the 205's impish looks while at the same time integrating some fresh design thoughts into the model.

The CTi has a lot to live up to since its hard-top brother, the 1.6 GTi, is such an oustanding car. It is a moot point as to whether the Cabrio is better.

With a top speed of 112 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 8.8 seconds, the CTi is no slouch. The fact that it is not quite as fast as the GTi, despite the same 1.6 injected engine and same mechanicals, is due to the extra weight it carries — strengthening of the chassis provided in part by the roll-over hoop just behind the front seats, a feature also found on the Astra, Escort and Golf.

It is on winding roads, however, that the Peugeot comes into its own. The Astra may be as fast off the mark, but it can in no way compete with the little 205 across country. The CTi is really very impressive, the superb handling in every way matched by the steering, brakes and chassis response.

The interior is gaudy and bright, Peugeot still reacting to the initial Press criticisms about the GTi's dour interior trim. In a car smaller than the Escort, Golf and Astra, space is at a premium but the boot does offer at least a little more space than the Golf. The front seats are comfortable but the rear compartment is Peugeot's answer to wearing jodhpurs. Electric windows and a high-quality stereo system are standard but central locking is absent.

The hood is light and easy to use but it simply is not in the same class as that of the Astra, although it is far easier to attach and clip into position. There is the inevitable blind spot in the rear three-quarter, but visibility out of the back is fine as the rear plastic window is wide and deep.

The worst aspect is build quality. The doors in particular seem rather flimsy and the hood material looks unlikely to stand the rigours of too many winters. Peugeot have gone a slightly different route from the other major manufacturers by offering one of their smaller models in Cabriolet form, but at £11,760 it is a real prize. WPK