Peugeot 205: The Best Super-Mini Car that Ruled the 90s

The Peugeot 205 was a hot hatch in the 80s and 90s with many car enthusiasts clamoring to get their hands on one. The car came in six versions and sold over five million units in its 15-year history, leading some experts to label it the car of the decade.

Peugeot 205 The Best Super-Mini Car

It also won some notable awards and competed in the World Rally Championships winning some rounds from 1984 – 1986.

This article will discuss the history and variants of the 205 as well as its features, strengths and weaknesses.

The First Variants of Peugeot 205 and Their Features

The first 205s came in five variants: 205 Base, 205 GL, 205 GR, 205 SR and 205 GT, and each came with five doors. The variants were produced in a progressive order with the GL better than the Base, the GR better than the GL and so on.

The First Variants of Peugeot 205 and Their Features

As the year went by, other variants were added to the line up, each with different features. The 205 also had 19 different engines: diesel, petrol, and turbo, then there were the electric and automatic transmission 205s but they were limited.

The engines were in the PSA X series inherited from the Peugeot 104 supermini. However, by 1988, the PSA X engines were phased out and replaced by the PSA XU and PSA TU series of engines. Depending on the variant, the engine either used a carburetor or fuel injection system and the displacement ranged between 954 cc and 1905 cc. In producing the 205, Peugeot combined the excellent performance of a petrol-driven vehicle with diesel economy, which won the heart of many enthusiasts. 

The first 205 came with the much revered McPherson struts suspension mounted on the front axle of the car. A McPherson strut is a suspension system that combines the duty of a steering rod and vibration dampener.

Features of the High-Performance Peugeot 205 Models

Peugeot 205 had 42 models, which included all kinds of variants from high-performance to cheaper ones. These models include the Peugeot 205 GTI, the 205 GTI Special Editions, and more. We’ve selected a few of the high-performing 205s in case you might want to purchase one.

– The Peugeot 205 GTI

This model was first introduced to the European market in 1984 and it immediately became a continental sensation. Initially, it came with a 1.6L XU5J engine but was later upgraded to a 1.9L XU5JA engine three years later. There were no major differences between both engines except for parts of the fuel injection system and oil cooler that were added to the 1.9L engine.

The Peugeot 205 GTI

The 1984 model produced 104 horsepower while the 1987 model featured an improved horsepower of 126 hp. The 1984 model also featured leathered seats while the 1987 variant had cloth sewn onto the seats.

The first variant was fitted with disc brakes at the front of the vehicle and the drum brakes were fitted at the rear. The latter variant instead showcased disc brakes at both ends of the vehicle. The wheels of the 1984 model featured a 14-inch alloy while the 1987 variant enjoyed a 15-inch alloy

– The 205 GTI Special Editions

The 205 GTI was so successful that Peugeot decided to make special editions of the vehicle. These cars came in specific colors which were blue and green and featured 1.6L or 1.9L engines. These special edition cars were named Gentry, Griffe, and 1FM, and each model came with power steering, door cards, grey carpets, leather interior and sliding roofs. 

In 2022, Tolman Engineering revealed a special edition of the Peugeot 205 and nicknamed it the Tolman Edition. The special Peugeot 205 price was around $65,000. However, car dealers put up Peugeot 205 for sale at around $7,500 and Peugeot 205 GTI for sale at around $15,000.

– The 205 STDT

Three years after the 205 GTI, the company launched the 205 and 405 STDT, which had more high-performance engines than their predecessor, the 205 GTI. The car’s design and functions were tailored to suit business executives, thus their interior featured matching beige colors including their bucket seats which were also covered in soft beige cloth.

The 205 STDT

The 205 STDT showcased a 78bhp turbo engine with a 1769 cc displacement and a 5-speed manual gearbox. The car had a central-lock system, power steering, sliding roof, wheels made of alloy, electric windows and heated mirrors.

The 205 STDT could reach speeds of up to 174 kilometers per hour in 12.24 seconds. Its fuel consumption was around 61.4 miles per gallon when driving at a constant speed of 90 kilometers per hour. It came in three colors: gold, green and gray, and was only produced from 1993 to 1994. 

– The 205 Rallye

This model was designed as an alternative to the pricey 205 GTI, thus they shared many similar characteristics. Produced between 1988 and 1992, the car had a 1.3L engine with a 1294 cc displacement and 102 horsepower.

However, the Rallye lacked many features of the GTI like its soundproofing and electrical systems, which brought the weight down to around 794 kilograms. Peugeot produced a total of 30,111 Rallyes with the majority of them selling on the major European markets including Spain, Netherlands, Germany and France.

– The Turbo 16

The Peugeot 205 T16, also referred to as the T16, was built specifically to compete in Group B World Rally Championships. However, to make the cut, the company had to produce about 200 examples of the T16 that can be used in public. Thus, Peugeot settled on using the design of the 205 as the basis for building its rally car. The rally car featured an XU engine with a 16-valve head and a gearbox from the Citroen SM. 

Additionally, the engine was moved from the front (like in the original 205) to the rear and the car was transformed from a two-wheel to a four-wheel drive. Though the road version and the rally car version of the T16 had the same appearance, they had nothing in common. The road version was built by Simca, a car manufacturer in France, and the rally version was manufactured by Peugeot Talbot Sports.

The T16 competition cars won several awards including the 1985 and 1986 World Rally Championships Group B Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles. Drivers Timo Salonen and Juha Kankunnen, both of Finland, won the titles for Peugeot in the years mentioned respectively. Later, the chassis and engine from T16 formed the foundation for the 1984 concept car, Peugeot Quasar. You can also check out one of the biggest Peugeot competitors, Citroen with the GS Camargue model!

The History of the Peugeot 205

The car was designed by Gerard Welter and produced by the French car manufacturing giant, Peugeot, in 1983. It was preceded by the Peugeot 104 and the Talbot Sambat and was succeeded by the 206 in 1998.

The History of the Peugeot 205

The launch took place on 24th February 1983 as a left-hand drive and then later in September the right-hand drive of the vehicle was launched in the UK. The vehicle was an instant hit in Europe and almost won the European Car of the Year save for the Fiat Uno, which beat it to the award.

However, 205 enjoyed a better reputation and patronage than the Fiat Uno although the Uno spent more years on the market than the 205. Subsequently, the car was named as part of the five most important vehicles in Europe during the 80s along with the 1983 Ford Fiesta, 1982 Vauxhall Nova, Fiat Uno and 1982 Nissan Micra K10. Until the production of the 205, Peugeot was just an average car manufacturing company but its introduction skyrocketed the company’s fortunes. The vehicle had 42 versions. 


So far, we’ve looked at the various characteristics of the Peugeot 205 Super-mini car of the 80s and 90s, including its variants and special editions.

Here is a summary of all that we’ve discovered:

  • The 205 was a super-mini car that became an instant hit and made Peugeot a household name in the European car manufacturing industry.
  • Initially, the car came in five versions but the number of versions was stretched to 42, including some special editions, as the years went by.
  • The vehicle was named car of the decade from 1980 to 1990 and sold over 5 million units throughout its 15-year production.
  • The 205 and its various models used 19 engines with different specs which either run on petrol or diesel with a few running on electricity.
  • Peugeot produced special limited editions of the 205 which were the GTI, STDT, Rallye and Turbo 16, which resonated well with car enthusiasts in Europe.

The Turbo 16 took part in a couple of World Rally Championships, winning the 1985 and 1986 Group B Championships with drivers Timo Salonen and Juha Kankunnen, respectively. Later, the 205 formed the basis for Peugeot’s first concept car, the Quasar. If you are interested in Italian cars, Autobianchi is considered one of the finest Italian mini cars!

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