Cars America Missed Out On: Peugeot 205 GTI

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To this day it remains a favorite among European hot hatch enthusiasts.

Hot hatches have been popular in Europe for years. Only now are they becoming more mainstream in the US. While Americans today can get, to name a few, the VW GTI, Ford Focus ST and MazdaSpeed3, there was one iconic hot hatch that was off limits during its heyday. The original Peugeot 205 GTI is still respected and now highly collectible amongst Euro enthusiasts. Launched in 1984, the 205 GTI was originally powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 104 hp.

The 1.9 GTI came soon after, with power bumped up to 126 hp. Visually, the car was simple yet elegant. Its lines weren’t offensive and still looked plenty sporty. The car proved so successful overseas that Peugeot seriously considered selling it in the US (Peugeot pulled out of the US market in 1991). What ultimately forced Peugeot to drop the 205 GTI was increasing insurance premiums, especially in the UK, due to cases of joyriding and theft. Another factor was increasing emissions standards. The 1.9 GTI received one last update and bump in power before it was discontinued for good in 1992.

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