1997 Peugeot 306 Diamond 1.6 petrol from Turkey
Mechanically reliable, averagely finished, driving toy
Nothing major really. Normal maintenance.
The only real issue was that the temperature gauge was going up and down the whole time (between 87 - 100 degrees). All French (and Italian also BTW, Fiat etc) cars of the era, 80s and 90s, had this bad habit that I hated. Also, a tendency to overheat in dense city traffic due to radiator fans not getting into action soon enough. I always preferred temperature gauges that stick to a point and never move under any circumstances. During the whole time I had it, I had 3 or 4 times the red temperature light coming on due to the above described behavior. I just pulled over, waited for 15 - 20 minutes and went on. Never had engine damage due to that.
I am going to split this section into a few chapters.
1. Styling: I always liked the 306 styling on the outside, with the four tires pushed into the four corners of the car; a huge wheelbase in consequence compared to the total length, giving the car a very stretched and tensioned feeling, like it's ready to jump ahead.
2. Inside: To be honest, the general fit and finish was even not that much up to standard for even 1997. The dash was rattling on even surfaces and bad roads. The car had front electric windows, manual air conditioning, power steering and a cassette player. The clutch pedal was heavier than other cars. The seat were comfortable. The driving position was not the best (again typical of the 80s, 90s French cars with the wheel between the legs, I am 190cm tall). Otherwise OK, and I somewhat got used to the driving position with time. The gear shift lever had no sense whatsoever; you just got used to it.
3. Driving: This 1.6 petrol was for me largely enough for the car, given the light weight; you would pull out the same sort of performance you would from a 130-140 HP compact today (because they are 1.5 times heavier these days).
The car was nervous or agile depending on how you perceive the handling and how you drive in general. For some people, it was dangerously nervous; for me it was agile and playful. You had to be a little cautious with the back end if you happened to arrive into a corner too fast. On the other hand, it was one of the very rare front wheel drive cars where the throttle was a real means of forcing the nose of the car into a direction as much the steering wheel is. Be careful with the lift off oversteer; a very slight counter steering quickly and easily cures it; nothing really to worry about, but it may take you by surprise the very first time.
4. Reliability: No issue for the main mechanical items such as engine, gearbox, axles etc. But always small bits and pieces popping up: window not willing to go up, dash lights going out etc. The cluster, as I remember was not backlit and was very somber and a light yellow (not sporty orange, yellow). I prefer green.
However, conception wise, I liked that car as you sat low and close to the ground. After the 306, the era of "minibuses" started with the 307 and 308. Not just Peugeot, all manufacturers went that way for 3 reasons:
a. Crash test and pedestrian safety.
b. Pulling out the maximum passenger space from a given wheelbase.
c. To conserve a certain styling balance so that the compacts now are the size of a 20 year ago sedans (405, 406), but do not appear that big to the eye. Big size tires also come in play in that visual balancing.
Would I buy another one? No, 306s are too old now.
Would I buy another Peugeot? Never had a Peugeot after that, however I kind of appreciate the last 8 series (208, 308, 3008, 508) and may have a try again in the future.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 13th July, 2019