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1990 Peugeot 309 GTI or 2019 VW Up GTI?

It's the battle of the £13k hot hatches: rare, classic Pug or dinky Up?

You’ll know the Peugeot 205 GTI. Its name bobs up every time there’s a) a new small Peugeot hatchback or b) the day ends in a Y. It rightly holds a place in the automotive hall of fame, but seemingly at the expense of its cooler, edgier cousin.

Time to give the Peugeot 309 GTI its place in the sun, we reckon. Peugeot’s bigger hot hatch from the same era, its three-box saloon look could be construed as dumpy when compared to the light, lithe 205. But to our eyes its more practical shape makes it cooler. Less obvious, more Q car. And just look at the fuel cap shaped to match the C-pillar angle, decades before the Mk7 Golf did the same…

This one’s special, too: a GTI 16, which is an incredibly rare thing, especially in right-hand-drive form, the ad claiming it’s the only one in existence. It uses the same 160bhp 1.9-litre four-cylinder engine as the mighty Peugeot 405 Mi16 sports saloon, giving it another 30bhp over base 309 GTIs, enough for a sub-8sec 0-62mph time and a 137mph top speed. In the late Eighties and early Nineties those were punchy figures indeed.

It’s priced as spectacularly as you’d imagine given the current boom for old hot hatches and its apparent scarcity. Um, £12,950 spectacularly. Which is what you’ll pay for a brand-new Volkswagen Up GTI, there or thereabouts.

The Pug has notably more power and performance than the Up, and this particular example, registered in 1990, shouts ‘house’ on the bingo card of used car perfection: one previous owner, just 51,000 miles, matching numbers, recent cambelt change…

The Up counters with some actual airbags, a decent phone connection, a lengthy warranty (and all the other lovely sensible stuff) plus those iconic tartan seats. Mind, the 309 comes in Miami Blue, and that really is the colour you want one of these things painted.

So which is it to be, internet? Old, 160bhp tearaway that’ll oversteer for Sochaux, or dinky, 113bhp city car that’ll grip for Wolfsburg but likely never break your heart in a layby?

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