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.

General Comments:

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.

1996 Peugeot 306 Cabriolet 1.8 8v petrol from Bulgaria


Glues a smile on my face!


Rear torsion axle bearings needed replacement right when I bought it, as they squeaked. Factory recommendation is to do that every 60 000 km, but I doubt the previous owner had done so.

Piston rings and valve seals replaced at 150 000 km.

Rear engine rubber mount torn at 150 000 km.

Coolant radiator burst at 170 000 km - 40 EUR second-hand.

Head gasket blew at 195 000 km.

Power-steering rack leaking fluid for 2 year now. I have added about 3 litres of fluid with no additional repairs. Works for now...

Oil pan bolts need tightening every now and then, as they tend to undo themselves and oil leaks.

Rear window replaced at 200 000 km.

Various suspension parts replaced at various times.

General Comments:

I love it! The look, the feel, the envy!

It is old, squeaks and rattles on uneven roads, but I don't care! It is a gorgeous little car! And it has dual Pininfarina badges!

Ride comfort is astonishing for such a small car! I have taken 20-hour non-stop trips with it, just to walk out of it fresh as a mountain spring!

The seats are soft and provide excellent lumbar support. The suspension smooths out everything the crappy roads in Bulgaria throw at it.

Soft suspension means it is not too sporty on curvy roads, but mountain rides are still hugely enjoyable, especially in summer. :)

It is a bit noisier than I would like with the roof up. The roof is electric and working beautifully. The fabric is in good condition and does not leak a drop.

The engine is calm and torquey. Pulls well right from 2000 rpm. I rarely need to go above 2500 rpm in the city. On the highway, however, it is a bit underpowered. Anything above 150 km/h is a noisy mess of engine roar and wind whistling, and not much acceleration.

Brakes could be better. The car is quite heavy at 1290 kg, and the standard front disks-rear drums struggle to contain it at high speeds.

Body parts are absurdly expensive and near-impossible to find, so buy a shiny one.

To sum up: Enjoy responsibly and it will reward you amply!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th September, 2009

3rd Oct 2009, 07:56

I have the 2.0 8v model, and I totally agree with your plus points, but I think with the larger engine it fixes some of your downfalls.

It pulls like a train right from the line, it's sometimes a little hard to keep the power down as it tends to spin up the wheels in the wet at 3000 rpm+, and the gears seem to last for ages, which I like.

On the motorway it pulls really well in top gear for over taking, or just annoying Audis and BMWs etc that come flying up the outside lane, and then have to drop back in with a look of shame on their 30.000 pound poorer faces LOL.

Brakes wise, mine has discs on the rear too, and stops really well even from high speed.

The only problems I have with mine is the engine has an oil leak, I can't find where, and only needs a slight top up now and again, but makes a mess on my drive.

Also my passenger window doesn't come up straight, like it's not in its runner. I've looked, but can't figure it out.

Repair wise all I've done is wishbones and rear exhaust, which rattled; grand total of £90 all in. Now it's perfect.

Oh and tracking after the wishbones were done at £25.

The roof is fine; just a small split in rear window... next on my list of to dos.

5th Oct 2009, 09:24

Have you checked the valve cover gasket? It has a complex shape and is quite tricky to fit. I have needed to replace it a few times, due to oil leaking, especially at high engine speeds. Now I put a decent amount of silicone on to seal it.

11th Jan 2012, 23:57

I know it has been three years, but I have since bought a Toyota Celica, and would never like to go back to the valve cover gasket of that XU7! The shape was tricky, and you could not see if it fit properly at the rear end, as the air plenum chamber gets in the way, so it was a hit or miss game. One of the many times I took it for servicing, I noticed that even the mechanic had had trouble with it. But not before the whole engine bay was bathed in soothing ESSO 10w-40!