1997 Peugeot 306 D-Turbo 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland
So cheap to run yet so much fun to drive
Auxiliary belt tensioner failed and shredded the belt.
Plipper keys both packed up.
I bought the car for economy reasons, but it's surprised me just how much I look forward to, and enjoy driving it.
People tell you that these are better than the petrol equivalents, and having come to this from a 1.8 16v petrol 306, I would like to set some things straight.
Firstly, standing start acceleration is not as good as a comparable petrol engine. This is because of the very narrow powerband of the TD engine (2,000-4,000 RPM is where it all happens). Neither is refinement, although between 1500 and 3000 RPM, it does actually get very close. Below this is the tell tale diesel clatter, and above, the gutteral growl which petrol engines just don't have.
However, the area where the D-Turbo scores is midrange. Open the throttle at 50 mph in 4th and the D-Turbo accelerates like a sports car. It literally squeezes you into the seat on a wave of torque which will comfortably see off most 2.0 and under petrol cars, and many bigger ones too. It does the same in 5th too making it a fantastic motorway and fast A-road cruiser. Between 50 and 100 mph, this genuinely is one of the quickest cars I've ever driven, and it more than makes up for the less impressive standing start acceleration. Oh and the capability to exceed 50 mpg (40-45 if driven hard) is the icing on the cake.
The other nice thing about the D-Turbo model is it has the suspension settings and "quick" steering rack from the XSi petrol model. This means handling and "feel" that eludes pretty much any of the current production rivals, Peugeot's own 307 included.
Build quality is fine on this car, as it was on my old petrol 306. It still feels tight, everything works (plipper keys apart) and feels like it will rack up another 80k without problems. The steering and gear linkage have no slack or freeplay, and the excellent sports seats support brilliantly.
I bought the car as a cheap, economical runabout, but it is so much more. It's entertaining, lively, cheap to run and easy on the eye. It handles well and it's reliable (touch wood). I would recommend the car to anyone.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 27th November, 2003
5,000 miles on it's been a good, reliable car. A couple of faults though:
Poor and smoky cold starting caused by failing glowplugs. 40 minute DIY job + £30 parts.
Brake discs (and therefore pads) needed replacing due to excessive wear. (1 hr DIY job + £50 parts).
Parts prices through independents are a pleasant surprise. Discs and pads were OEM (same manufacturer as the brake calipers on the car) and £50 for the lot. Genuine Peugeot "Purflux" oil filters are available for a scarcely believable £2.75. Similar air filters for a fiver. These cars are cheaper to service and repair for DIY owners than any Ford or Vauxhall.
Car continues to rack up high-40's mpg whilst giving a smooth, refined and entertaining drive. Uses negligible amounts of oil (although it does use some), and the 5th gear pull is still grin inducing. Still pleased.