1996 Peugeot 306 D-Turbo 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland
The original diesel warm hatch, a future classic!
Needed subframe bushes, front wishbones and a set of discs.
Wipers were a bit temperamental, as were the headlights.
Fuel pump started weeping from the throttle shaft and fast idle shaft seals.
Sunroof motor linkage died.
Usual driver seat wear.
I always wanted a D-Turbo; the combination of economy, cheap insurance, reasonable performance and simple mechanicals always appealed to me, and coupled with the fact that the original 306 was (and still is) one of the best looking small cars ever, made the offer of a well used 1996 model for £250 pretty hard to turn down.
It was a typical mechanic's car; serviced just enough to keep it alive, but nothing in the way of special treatment. The subframe bushes were the worst part, the whole axle was moving about, meaning the car would randomly steer from the rear on hitting a bump, good for the concentration, but not for the nerves. Still, it's an easy, if a bit physical fix. At the same time I threw a pair of wishbones on and discs; one of the old ones needed cut off with a grinder and chisel.
Once back on its wheels, the superb handling showed itself. It's truly awesome for an old and basic car. Why people insist on lowering 306's and destroying the handling is beyond me. The fact that people have tuned 306's to over 300bhp in petrol models without spending a fortune on handling fixes proves the soundness of the basic design, even if it's a Citroen ZX with a makeover.
The 1.9 XUD engine will never break any records, it's an old design now and utterly outclassed by modern designs, but, it's simple, tough, easily tuned and above all reliable; you can get a D-Turbo to over 110 bhp with a small amount of simple tweaking, it's easy to mess it up though, but a reputable diesel tuning expert can easily do it.
The engine will chug along all day if you want it to, and will deliver over 50mpg on a motorway run, but on the back roads, keeping the turbo on boost is where the D-Turbo excels; even when caning it, it doesn't gobble fuel. I drove mine like I stole it, and still averaged 44mpg.
The fuel pump started weeping from the throttle shaft; doom-mongers started muttering about huge rebuild costs, but the local diesel experts gave me the required o-rings for free, and it was literally a 20 minute job to sort it. Better still, fit a Bosch pump and injectors, and live happily ever after.
The sunroof died, I got it closed and forgot about it, the electric windows, immobiliser and central locking all worked perfectly; in fact the only reason I sold it was because I needed a bigger car.
The old D-Turbo is becoming a cult car, the HDi just isn't the same animal, so if you can find an unmolested XUD engined car, buy it and enjoy!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th June, 2011
5th Jun 2011, 14:30
Couldn't agree more, a great car and the original hot hatch diesel, kind of. Didn't Citroen do a ZX Volcane D turbo and a sporty BX TD?I remember selling these 306s in the late 90s when they were newish used cars, I worked for a Vauxhall dealer and we sold them as Network Q used cars, they always felt light years ahead of diesel Astras at the time. I took one or two home and they were always great fun.
28th Jul 2011, 16:54
I agree with those comments.
I owned a Citroen ZX DT from 1996 to 2003, and now own the 306 HDI.
The ZX was my first proper car I brought myself, and not an old hand me down from my one of my sisters. It was not as popular as 306, so more affordable.
It was huge fun, we would go skiing in the North island of NZ, and drive down from Auckland, 4 hour drive, fast, typical NZ back roads, no motorways or dual carriage ways. As the speed limit is 100km / hour, it meant we would often pass guys in their Audi quattros, without feeling too reckless.
Since we have family of three kids now, we thought we would need a bigger car, but ended up with 306 HDI with just 75 k on the clock, and love it. Definitely not as gutsy as the ZX, but feels a little more refined (relative to the '96 Citroen), with air bags and air conditioning. We just need to get to the mountain again. The ZX DT had more of a surge in power, while the HDI has a gentle pull. Happy with both.