Great cheap comfortable cruiser
Loose engine mount, caused a knocking sound as the engine rocked. Just needed tightening.
Fuel pump failed at 210000km. Diesel technician said it was due to unusually high wear.
One rear electrical circuit driving the rear interior light, electric aerial and boot light wasn't working. Turned out to be a corroded joiner under the driver seat.
Fuel tank senders aren't very good, we tried two of them and due to the mechanical damping on them, they failed to go right to the bottom of the tank and stopped at about 1/8 of a tank. I ended up removing the damper and put up with a gauge which moves around quite a bit.
Overall I highly recommend the Peugeot 405 as a long distance cruiser.
The turbo-diesel engine gets great economy on a long trip, I have had as low as 5.8L/100km on the highway on normal pump diesel, but normal usage is around 6.5L/100km.
The car has sufficient power to get along nicely, for a 15 year old diesel is got a heap of power but this engine seems to deliver it very smoothly. The gearing of the car is best suited to cruising at about 130kmph, that is when its quietest and most responsive. At 100kmph, it just doesn't have quite enough revs to spool the turbo, so passing requires 4th gear if you want to pass in a hurry. The turbo picks up about 105kmph in 5th gear.
It is a very comfortable car, which makes it well suited to open road driving. Feels very solid on the road and inspires confidence for the driver. I have done about four 650km long hauls in this, and when you get out at the end you still feel fresh and don't have a sore back at all, but that is only if you set the seats correctly.
This car isn't really set up for around town running, the engine and gearbox is quite cumbersome so making gearchanges difficult to get perfect, and the power curve of the engine likes revs to be just under 3000rpm. It's not a hard car to drive around town, but it's not as nippy as a small hatchback.
Road noise is very good, not much of that at all apart from when on rough chip seal. Engine noise is there, it's just enough to know it's a diesel, but once you are at highway speeds, you don't notice it. Around town and slow driving, you can hear the engine, although it isn't obtrusive.
Handling is superb. As I said above it sits very nicely on the road. Perfectly balanced between understeer and oversteer, there's almost no understeer and no oversteer that I have found. The dynamic set-up of the car really puts it into the drivers-car category. It doesn't have the power to be a race car, but the handling and driver feedback, control means that this car handles like nothing else in its class.
Build quality is average. The chassis is flexible (great for dynamics), which means you get squeaks from interior panels, mainly the rear parcel shelf. The dashboard feels nice and solid, no complaints there. The door handles don't really feel definite, but the doors do shut nice and quiet. You can't fold down the rear seat, which is a pain sometimes, but it means the back seat is very comfortable as it's well moulded to the car.
Would like to have it lowered, it sits very high at the back when the tank is empty. The front is kinda high as well. I intend on getting an Mi16 model at some stage, which has sportier suspension and a much more powerful engine.
We run ours on home brew biodiesel. It runs great on this, and doesn't seem to have any negative effects whatsoever, which is good. The fuel pump failure was not related to this (main shaft wear destroyed front seal and let in air, so the car wouldn't run).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th September, 2008