1989 Peugeot 305 Van 1.9 diesel
One of the best cheap, small utility vehicles you can buy
Gearbox self-destructed at 170k, sourced a spares-or-repair 305 van with good 'box and engine for a mighty £50.
Usual niggling items like tailgate release (replaced with comedy padlock), rattly interior trim, and come winter, non-functioning wipers.
This vehicle is virtually indestructible, we took it far off-road, when only the tyres (ancient remoulds) let it down. The suspension travel is pretty good, and the approach angle is probably better than that of some proper off-roaders. Ground clearance is good too, though the exhaust silencer is something of a worry. I just wish I had invested in some mud/snow tyres.
The cabin, unfortunately, is dreadful. The vinyl seats become very sticky in hot weather, and it becomes unbearable to drive a mile in the thing. The general interior trim is OK, but the plastics are of a very poor quality, but they seem to be fairly solid.
This car is seriously fun to drive! Never underestimate the frolics you can have in a vehicle with pitch and dive akin to a small trawler in the high seas. Like most front-wheel-drive Peugeots, lift-off oversteer is something you have to get used to. Though saying that, the unassisted steering is very communicative and direct, so getting yourself out of a sticky situation isn't too difficult. And the tyres squeal on twisty roads, much to the amusement of the slightly terrified passenger..
The engine is unburstable, it feels faster than the bare figures suggest. You can rev it as far as it'll go (as I did often), and it won't complain.
Sadly, I had to let it go in favour of a Renault Clio van, which has none of the character, off-road ability, long-term reliability or fun of the ol' Peugeot. As for the Peugeot, it's still chugging away in its new owner's hands.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st October, 2002