If only new cars were as tough and rust resistant!
Door switches for interior light don't work.
Hesitation when warm, misfire when cold, compression OK across 3 cylinders, but only 90psi on one of them. Oh dear.
The first thing you notice is there is no rust of the car. Quite what they did to stop these 309s rusting I don't know, but manufacturers obviously didn't do it on some most more recent offerings.
When you get in you immediately notice the very soft seats, more like an old sofa. I think this is partly down to the foam breaking down...
Although the car is light for it's size, the old Talbot/Simca OHV 1.1 really has its work cut out and performance is, um, leisurely. That said, fuel consumption is very good, especially for a 4 speed box at a solid 48mpg.
Engine noise from these engines always seems to be an issue most noticeably at idle. You can't really do much about it. They are supposed to be robust though. I suspect the lack of compression on mine is from being run on unleaded and valve seat recession etc etc time will tell.
Much over 60mph starts to sound a bit strained, slow down and enjoy the view. After driving a new Astra recently, which seem to have slits instead of windows, the 309 feels like you're driving in a greenhouse.
Whether the fact that everything still works (door switches aside) is testament to cracking build, or just that the GE didn't come with any kit to start with is debatable.
If you could get these brand new now, perhaps with the 1.3 engine I'd buy one in an instant, not a bad recommendation for a 23 year old car!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th May, 2009