Why Peugeot is The Greatest Car Manufacturer Ever (Not Toyota)

MuddyMole

In response to this myTake...

I think you could easily make a case for any of about five different companies as being "The Greatest Car Manufacturer Ever", or at least better than Toyota. For the sake of argument though, let's go with Peugeot. Yes, really.

Old meets new
Old meets new

Now, I appreciate Peugeot may not be a household name across the pond, but over here they're extremely common, and if you're the wrong side of 25, you will almost certainly have been in a Peugeot 406 taxi at some point in your life, and may well have learned to drive in a Peugeot (probably a 206) or even had one as your first car.

Peugeot's first car was the "Type 2", produced between 1890 and 1891, so it's a company as old as the car itself. In case you're wondering, the "Type 1" was steam-powered and only had three wheels, so I don't really consider it a car.

Peugeot Type 2
Peugeot Type 2

For as long as they've been making cars, they've been great innovators.
Before the Prius, there was the Peugeot VLV - an all electric city car, created to get around fuel restrictions imposed by the occupying Germans during WW2.

An electric car from 1942
An electric car from 1942

And before the Mercedes SL, there were the Peugeot 401 and 402 Eclipse - the first hard-top convertibles.

Peugeot invented the hardtop convertible
Peugeot invented the hardtop convertible

It's worth noting that the Corolla is not a car - it's just a name that Toyota re-used on a whole bunch of completely different cars, over a very long timespan. For real longevity, you need to look at the Peugeot 504, first produced in 1968, but remaining in production in Africa, without any significant modifications, until 2006!

The key to its success? A level of ruggedness that makes the Toyota Hilux look flimsy. The 504, in car and pickup form, were (and still are) the backbone of road travel in Africa.

And you thought the Hilux was rugged...
And you thought the Hilux was rugged...

The 205GTI was the first hot-hatch for the masses, costing £1500 less than a Golf GTi, and still widely regarded as the greatest hot-hatch (and according to What Car?, the greatest car) ever made, thanks to its lightweight handling, nippy performance and cute styling. Since then, the Peugeot range has always included a GTI. The T16 version was even more bonkers, but even the standard GTI is an expensive classic now.

206 T16
206 T16

While best known for their crappy little econoboxes, Peugeot have also made some beautiful, sleek and powerful cars, like the 504 coupé and 406 coupé. It's hard to believe the 206 is over twenty years old, as it still looks cute and modern today.

406 Coupé, styled by Pininfarina
406 Coupé, styled by Pininfarina

Peugeot have an outstanding motorsports pedigree, dating back to 1894, where they won the world's first motorsport competition - the Paris-Rouen trials.
They equal Toyota with 5 World Rally Championship titles. They have won the Dakar rally 7 times, trailing only Mitsuibishi (Toyota have won it just once). They've won the Le Mans 24hrs three times, and even the Indy 500 twice, and they've made engines for Formula 1 cars.

Peugeot Dakar rally and WRC winners
Peugeot Dakar rally and WRC winners

They also created not one, but TWO of the most legendary Pike's Peak racers - the 405 T16 (600bhp - in 1988!) and the 208 T16 (still the second fastest time ever).

And now, Peugeot are set to return to endurance racing with this absolute beast - the 9X8.

Peugeot 9x8
Peugeot 9x8

On a personal level, I learned to drive in a Peugeot and my first car was a Toyota - and they were both catastrophically bad cars, so there's that...

Why Peugeot is The Greatest Car Manufacturer Ever (Not Toyota)
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