1998 Peugeot 306 GLX 1.8 16v from UK and Ireland


More fun than an Astra or Golf, and prettier too!


Clutch noisy and excessively sharp - needs replacement at 42,000 miles. Most of the last keeper's mileage was in central London though.

Steering column control stalk for the (excellent) stereo is a bit temperamental since the car was serviced.

General Comments:

Although it will be better when the few niggling problems are sorted, the 306 is a great car to drive. It also still looks good too - vastly prettier in my opinion than its replacement, the van-like 307.

The 1.8 litre 16 valve engine is sweet, responsive, and delivers warm-hatch like performance. Thanks to the engine's refinement and a fairly tall fifth gear, the car is also capable of relaxed motorway cruising, being quiet and smooth at any remotely legal motorway speed. Fuel consumption is also good, averaging 30 mpg around town, and nudging 40 mpg on a run.

Steering is typically Peugeot - fast, full of feel and with just the right level of assistance. It gives you confidence when pressing on, and allows you to place the car millimetre perfect on the road.

The best thing about this car however, is the chassis. In GLX trim, the car is obviously set up for a comfortable ride rather than ultimate handling ability, but even so the balance of the car at the limit is deeply impressive and in a completely different league to most comparably priced cars.

Just like the XSi and GTI-6 models, you can induce lift off oversteer to help the car turn in, and the pointy steering and sheer balance of the car shame a lot of so called sports cars. The downside is that the car will bite you in the form of a spin if you're careless with it, but to be fair, you need to be pushing quite hard for this to become an issue. In any case I think it is much safer than the wash-out understeer you get in something like a Vauxhall Astra.

The GLX trim level comes well specced, with four electric windows, power steering, a basic, but effective climate control system, rain sensing wipers (good in theory but thoroughly irritating in practice!) and an excellent radio cassette with 6 disc CD changer and a stalk remote control. There are also a pair of nicely trimmed seats, which have a good range of adjustment - I'm 6'2", and my wife is 5'3" and we can both find a comfortable driving position.

The single worst aspect of the interior is the awful fake plastic wood which adorns the dash. I know this was dropped in later models for a much nicer silver effect, but buyers of this vintage of 306 beware! Overall though, the interior is pleasant enough, and the oft-heard gripes about 306 build quality seem to be unfounded. At 42,000 miles, and despite obvious neglect from its previous keeper, the interior cleans up almost as new, nothing squeaks or rattles, and everything except the stereo stalk works properly.

In my opinion, this is a good looking, quick-ish, well equipped, hatchback which offers a good dose of fun to boot. The dealers can be a bit hopeless at times, and the car is obsolete, but I can't think of a car in this class which looks as good, handles as well and is as much fun to drive. Especially impressive when most of the competition is a lot newer!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th July, 2001

1998 Peugeot 306 XSi 2.0 16v from UK and Ireland


Cheap, fast, handles, easy to insure. What more do you need?!


Alarm system needed attention.

A few minor trim squeaks and rattles within.

General Comments:

For what it is (ie a non-GTi) this car is fantastic in all respects. Goes, handles and stops better than almost everything else in its class.

The engine, though only up 12 horses on the 8-valve (pre-1998) model at 135 BHP (16V) against 123 BHP (8V), feels so much more willing than its predecessors. Though not a huge injection of power, the difference is noticable, if only due to the different characteristics of using sixteen valves.

Away from the lights, the XSi is able to embarass more exotic machinery (in name and reputation at least...), such as the Golf GTi 2.0, BMW 318iS, Audi A3 1.8T Sport, Ford Focus Zetec 2.0i and other so called 'sporty' machinery, all of which is very interesting considering the XSi is not even the pinnacle of the 306 range, this title being reserved for the scarily quick (and scarily hard to insure) 167 BHP GTi-6.

Although timid and easy to drive around town and at low speeds, I assure you that when you feel this engine come on cam at around 3250 RPM, then hear it scream up to the redline tearing at the tarmac, it's hard to stop yourself from grinning like the village idiot.

However, that said, it's not the grunt of the XSi that captivates you most when you first have a go - it's the handling. It is simply sublime, from the minute you hit your first hard corner to the minute you first kick the tail out, you will be laughing like a drain. This car understeers and oversteers completely on demand, though never takes you by surprise. The steering is meaty, loaded up with chunky, connected feel, you know exactly what each tyre is doing on the road below. This chassis talks to you in a way that would make a rally co-driver feel inadequate.

On the downside, the gearbox, while full of deliciously 'clunky' feel, can occasionally balk between 2nd and 3rd, a problem compounded by attempting fast, violent upchanges. However, with a deft touch and a little patience, this is easily overcome, and will not be a problem to someone who likes to drive their car with a little consideration, even when caning it!

The original equipment Pirelli P6000's wore out not too long after I got the car, a combination of vaguely hooliganistic driving and ignorance that the fronts would happily light up in third... I replaced them with a set of Toyo T1S's, a tyre which I and many friends have used before, and if anything, these cheaper tyres enhanced the handling of the car even more, even if they don't look like they have quite as much shoulder as the Pirellis, making the puny 15-inch wheels look even smaller in the arches. But you won't worry too much about look once you have a shot of one of these, believe me!

The rear brake pads wore out after 14000 miles, which I feel is acceptable if not brilliant, but £70 replaced these at an official Peugeot dealership, which is a fair price.

Servicing must be carried out every 9000 miles, which is not really acceptable in these days of 20000+ mile intervals on hot hatches, but it helps to remember that the 306 design and engineering is almost a decade old now... However, Peugeot has recently introduced a new official servicing schedule for 3+ year old Pugs, which gives cheaper, fixed price servicing on all older Peugeots, and saves a worthwhile amount when compared to the original servicing prices (ie £100 vs. £160 for an intermediate service).

Finally, the jewel in the crown of 306 ownership - insurance. Compared to the GTi brigade, this car is much more economical to insure. Most of the GTi's and similarly fast small/medium cars tend to weight in at group 14-15, reflecting the GTi name, desirability to thieves, and performance. The XSi is obviously less appealing to the thieving scumbags than the GTi-6, and enjoys similar performance to latter day hot hatches, and all this for group 11 insurance, which means that at 23 years old, with one years full NCB, I am able to comprehensively insure my car for a smidge over £700.

I truly hope this review can gain Peugeot's current light-middleweight champion a few more fans before the 307 steals it's reign :o)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2001

12th Jun 2001, 15:33

For true piece of mind I would change the oil and filter every 4500 miles.

The manufacturers claiming 20k mile service intervals for new model cars are having a laugh!

14th Jun 2001, 19:48

I don't reckon manufacturers are 'having a laugh' at all with 20,000 mile service intervals, after all, if the engine goes while the car is under warranty, won't they have to replace it? Why would they want to burden themselves with that extra work, as well as damaging their own reputation for reliability? Manufacturers are simply getting better at making efficient, effective engines, so service intervals will continue to increase. Keep in mind that some new Cadillacs (including those sold in the UK) now have a 100,000 mile service interval!