The 206 SW estate has become the fourth platform of Peugeot’s light car range to be launched in South Africa.The 206 SW estate has become the fourth platform of Peugeot’s light car range to be launched in South Africa.

Peugeot claims the SW offers more versatility, but the same handling and ride as the hatchback on which it is based.

Unlike the 307 SW, the 206 SW retains the 2,44 metre wheelbase of its hatchback cousin, but gets an extra 190 mm of overall length, 4,03 metres from nose to tail.

The entire front structure is essentially unchanged, but both the B- and C-pillars have been straightened by one millimetre to adapt to the new body sides, the rear wheel arches have been partly redesigned, while the roof and its lateral reinforcing are completely new.

The hatch opening has upper and lower “boxed” cross members, along with other new pressings. Right at the back of the loading floor - which is now just 53 cm above ground level - is another transverse box to add rigidity to the assembly, while the tailgate itself has an inner panel and stiffeners in key areas.

The rear doorhandles are recessed into the trailing edges of the door pillars. The smoked rear glass is opened separately by pressing a button on the key fob or by an electronic switch under the licence plate trim, which lifts the glass away from the tailgate frame slightly. The rear wiper arm can be used as a grip to open the window completely or to close it once again.

When viewed from behind, the ruby-coloured taillight clusters are mounted high up for visibility and flanking the 5 mm-thick glass. The black rear spoiler links these lamp units, and incorporates a third LED brakelight.

The bumper of the 206 SW consists of a beam with a 3,3 mm thick polypropylene cover, and a black capping at either end. The upper surface has a grained black finish and the loading zone can withstand a vertical mass of 100 kilograms.

The roof bars are made of extruded aluminium with a black finish, measure approximately one metre in length, and can carry a load of 75 kilograms when fitted with the optional transverse bars. All the new body and structural parts are pre-protected against corrosion and the weight of the body-in-white is approximately 296 kilograms, or nearly 19 kg more than the five-door hatch.

The 206 SW is powered by Peugeot’s familiar 1,6-litre powerplant mated to the five-speed manual gearbox. It produces a maximum of 80 kW at 5 750 r/min and 147 N.m at 4 000 r/min. The engine has been tuned to deliver 85 per cent of maximum torque available from 2 000 r/min and 95 per cent or 140 N.m of torque between 3 000 and 5 500 r/min.

By virtue of new design, the 206 SW’s luggage capacity has increased to 313 litres (up by 68 litres or 26 per cent), but there’s 480 litres available if the space up to the roof is used. The rear seatback and cushion are split 60/40. The rear bumper has been reinforced and protected with a special moulding, while the carpeted load floor has seven longitudinal “slide bars”.

The windows in the redesigned rear doors are slightly larger than those of the 206 hatchback. There is also a slight increase in rear headroom due to the new design of the longer roof.

All South African 206 SWs are equipped to XS level, which means a choice of black/grey or black/red woven fabric for the upholstery, and black finish for most of the interior trim.

Standard features include electric windows, driver and passenger airbags, ABS, electrically-adjusted mirrors, leather-rimmed three-spoke wheel, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control and satellite controls on the steering column for the tuner/CD frontloader sound system.

The Peugeot 1,6 XS SW comes with a one-year unlimited kilometres/30 000 km service intervals and free 15 000 km warranty checks.