Cold days, Grey skies, Bitter winds, Driving Rain ? hardly optimal conditions for wooing Cabriolet buyers. There is however one such convertible that looks set to defy the trend of the traditional ?winter sales hibernation? that soft tops can suffer during the coldest part of the year ? the Peugeot 206 CC.
When closed, the CC?s steel-folding roof protects its occupants from the elements completely, offering all the advantages of a traditional Coupe. Then, with the flick of two latches and the push of a button, the roof can be easily opened to take advantage of any welcome sunny periods, transforming the car into a stylish Cabriolet.
Sales of the 206 CC continue to grow, with 101 vehicles sold in April, and 115 sold in May. The May result in particular places the classy CC in the number one spot on the Cabriolet honour roll.
The car that defies the conventional sales trend, also defies convention itself. The 206 CC was modeled on the worlds first ?Coupe/Cabriolet?; the Peugeot 402. Unveiled at the Paris Fair in 1935, it was the worlds first ever vehicle with a metal folding roof. Although the 206CC was not the first modern vehicle of this type, the CC now brings the concept well within reach of the average buyer, with the range starting at only $35,990 plus on road costs.
Available with either an 80kW, 16-valve, 1.6 litre engine or with a 2.0 litre 100 kW, (GTi spec) 16 valve engine, the CC range boasts comprehensive safety and equipment levels. ABS, EBFD, climate control, four airbags, CD sound system, and alloy wheels are just some of the standard features.
Again, in a move that defied current convention, the CC was designed and produced entirely by Peugeot as an ?in-house product?. Given the overwhelming response to the concept version unveiled at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show (the ?2-0-heart?), Peugeot quickly decided to put the car into series production. As testament to Peugeot?s innovative approach to design and engineering excellence, the first 206CC rolled off the production line only two years later, in late 2000.
At the heart of the 206 CC?s appeal is of course the roof system. The entire roof consists of two retractable panels that are joined by two articulated arms. Two hydraulic struts activate the arms, their movements synchronised with those of the boot lid. The first panel forms the roof, while the second panel holds the heated rear window, its framework, and rear window pillars. Two mechanically assembled sub units, or flaps, form the boot lid. When locked, they form a traditional boot lid that opens vertically from back to front to give access to the boot space.
An electro-hydraulic roof system governs and synchronises the various opening and closing sequences. A single console-mounted switch controls the opening and closing of the roof, which takes approximately 20 seconds once the two front catches are manually unlocked, plus an additional eight seconds for the movement of the four side windows.
The roof can be operated at speeds of up to 10km/h, negating the need to come to a complete stop to open or close the roof.
When the roof is down, it is stowed securely inside the boot compartment. The considerable 410-litre carrying capacity is somewhat reduced, but not overly so. A very useable 175-litres is still available when the car is driven in its Cabriolet guise.
So, even with winter well and truly upon us, there is now a Cabriolet on the market that still appeals. Offering high levels of comfort, the 206CC now allows buyers to combine the freedom of a cabriolet with the practicality and security of a coupe, and for the first time at an affordable price.