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Peugeot 206 (2004) review

Peugeot has decided to improve its conventional automatic and launched the only car in its class with a Tiptronic function.

It doesn't offer the fuel savings of rivals' autos and semi-autos, but it's good to see the Tiptronic system finally in a supermini - even as a mighty £1,000 option.

While rivals strive to fit the latest CVT or semi-automatic gearboxes to their superminis, Peugeot has decided to improve its conventional automatic and launched the only car in its class with a Tiptronic function. It's a four-speeder, which is a low gear count compared with the amount of ratios in grander cars, but matched to the 1.6-litre, 110bhp engine, it copes well with the gaps between the gears. The box is also offered with the 75bhp 1.4-litre unit.

There's no paddleshift system, but flicking up and down the cogs with the central selector triggers shifts quick, smooth and crisp enough to give a satisfying drive. It's not as instant as the Citroen C2's SensoDrive, but it's a lot smoother, with no surges. And switched to regular auto mode, where you can choose Sport or Snow modes, it works fine. It's also a more natural driving experience for anyone used to conventional autos, making it ideal for drivers downsizing their car.

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