The 204 was the first Peugeot with front wheel drive. For these vehicles the engine was mounted transversely indeed, but there was no clear separation of engine and transmission as common today. The engine was arranged centrally and fored with the underlying transmission a unit with the same lubricating oil circuit. The principle has been applied already in the Mini and its bigger 'brothers'. During development, there has been problems because both companies had in addition also the same designer with Pininfarina and he also wanted a hatchback for Peugeot. Anyway, the car now came with a separate luggage compartment (three-box design). By the way, the problem resolved by itself with the estate car that appeared the following year.
First double cardan joints, homokinetic, encapsulated joints later
By now possible longer wheelbase and the missing rear-wheel drive, the car had a half higher class interior dimensions. The engine was pleasingly modern and had the bright sound usual for aluminum engines, but seemed a bit pushy during the possible high rotation speeds. The radiator fan was still technically interesting, which was driven via a V-belt from the left engine side, although the radiator - in contrast to the Mini - was located up front centrally in the engine compartment. An additional roll plus generator or later two twisted the V-belt and thereby allowed the drive across the corner. Nevertheless, the ventilator is thermally controlled. Electric motors are indeed still expensive at that time.
The chassis is interesting, too. For example, because it lacks any stabilisers. This results in a relatively comfortable chassis, albeit with more intense curve inclination. The achievable slip angles are enormous in these circumstances. The soft suspension took account of the state of French roads at that time. Also long-distance trips were done usually via three-lane national roads, emerged from rebuilt country roads. There were only 200 km of motorway.
In 1968, the 204 was available with the world hitherto smallest diesel engine, what enhanced his success once again. Despite a comparable purchase price with the 403, it is France's best-selling car from 1969 for three years. 04/15