Peugeot celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, as mentioned on these pages before. Now it has released an interesting look back at the evolution of the 2-Series from the very first 201 to the current 207 versions in hatchback, coupe-cabriolet and estate body styles.
The Peugeot 2-Series started with the 201 – the first Peugeot model to use the now familiar three-digit naming style. Released in 1930, the 201 saloon was the first car ever to feature an independent front suspension.
The Peugeot 2-Series then took a leap to the Peugeot 203 saloon – production of the 202 was interrupted by the Second World War in 1938. Production restarted after the war until the release of the 203 in 1948. The Peugeot 203 quickly became the first car to sell more than 500,000 models.
Next came the Peugeot 204, which was produced between 1965 and 1976. The 204 saloon was the first front-wheel drive Peugeot to have front-wheel drive and cost around £900 in the UK. The Pininfarina-styled model was offered in four-door saloon, five-door estate and cabriolet versions.
The first Peugeot 2-Series to break the five million sales figure was the next generation, the Peugeot 205. The supermini was launched in 1983 and was awarded the prestigious ‘car of the decade’ award by Car Magazine in 1990.
The modern classic was available in three- and five-door hatchback versions as well as a two-door cabriolet. The styling of the model was so popular, it did not receive a facelift for its entire production run of 15 years.
The Peugeot 206 supermini was brought in to replace the 205 in 1998. It retained styling touches from the 205, but cut down on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions drastically – including a 120g/km 206 HDi eco version complete with diesel particulate filter.
It also boasted the first electric folding roof on a mass produced car, a piece of technology taken for granted on many modern convertibles.
The longevity of the Peugeot 2-Series is once again evident in the 206. To date, it has sold more than 6.8 units worldwide, making it the most popular Peugeot car ever made.
Finally, the Peugeot 207 completes the evolution of the 2-Series. The Peugeot 207 is available in hatchback, estate or coupe-cabriolet body styles as well as special editions such as the all-new Millesim version.
Fuel economy has been improved again in the supermini and emissions fall between 159g/km and a VED-exempt 99g/km. Available with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, Peugeot says all models now boast a higher level of quality and equipment than ever before.