1993 Peugeot 405 Hunter Estate 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


The best real-world car, ever?


Handbrake cables snapped, and car rolled off my drive and through a brick wall! That was fun... all front body panels (bonnet, both wings, bumper, headlights, indicators, grill) beyond repair, so replaced with secondhand parts which were painted where applicable. Then I bought a donor car which I swapped the panels with, so now it looks like new again...

Waterpump began leaking (and making an awful noise) soon after purchase. Disappointing given the previous owner had not replaced it, as a matter of course, 2,000 miles previously when they had skimmed the cylinder head, replaced the gasket and the cambelt! Radiator also replaced as a precaution as it was 10 years old, according to the date stamp on the top.

Auxiliary belt tensioner is currently noisy at idle, but I have a new one ready to fit.

Driver's seat split along a horizontal stitching seam - they all do that. Replaced with a "new" one from a donor car.

Headlining - sagging at the front when I bought it (stapled up), now sagging at the back. Looks like water is leaking in somewhere (roof rails or around window seals?), so will be removed for investigation.

General Comments:

Perhaps I am mad, but I would like to back up my headline statement with facts.

You can buy a mint example 405 turbodiesel estate for well under £1,000, and usually under £500 - I paid £375 for mine, a 2 owner car with all service history from day 1.

- It is one of the best-looking estates of it's time - designed by Pininfarina, no less;

- It handles and rides better than most midsize front-wheel drive cars, even now (it's more fun to drive than the 2007 Saab 9-3 I had as a company car previously);

- The seats are supremely comfortable for an average sized adult, and it has decent head and legroom all round;

- They are very well-equipped - this one has a/c, ABS, electric windows all round, electric heated mirrors, remote central locking and even an electronic oil level indicator (woo!);

- The upper bodywork just does not rust (and the underside, provided you look after it, is rust-resistant too);

- The rear loadspace is voluminous, indeed larger than the 406 estate that succeeded it;

- They tow beautifully, and most have built-in roof rails for further carrying capacity;

- And, of course, with the 1.9TD engine, they are good for hundreds of thousands of miles (provided they are properly serviced), fantastically economical (I regularly get 54MPG out of mine) and, as the final bonus, can run on vegetable oil.

OK, so I am biased, owning two of these Hunters (I have a 128k mile car for "spares", although it's too good to scrap!) and a 405 saloon as well - a 1994 GLDT which also has a review on this site. But, for someone who wants to spend the minimum on their car in terms of outlay and running costs, and doesn't mind getting dirty once in a while I think a 405 is hard to beat.

Finding a good one is the hard part, because many seem to suffer with head gasket failure. If the coolant is changed every 2 years this should not happen, so finding one with evidence of that - plus radiator replacement every 10 years or 100k miles - will lessen the risk substantially.

I do a full service (oil, air and fuel filters) every 5k miles, which is probably overkill, but given the parts (all Mann filters too) cost me £20, plus decent oil, I consider it money well spent. I've done over 25k miles in my three 405s in the last 12 months and have never "failed to proceed".

Buy one and beat the credit crunch!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th August, 2008

1993 Peugeot 405 GTX Estate 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Bombproof engineering, which can rack up starship miles


Usual old / high mileage stuff:

Front brake calipers


Heater matrix

Clutch at 175k (original)

Passenger electric window gone (don't care - never carries passengers)

Dampers all round at 160k - MOT fail on one leakage, but all round set fitted. Made the car feel new again.

The odd bush and bearing.

All pennies to put right with DIY skills.

General Comments:

Used solely as a station car (75 mile round trip) and the family dump car / spare runabout at weekends. It's dog-eared, rattly and battered, but we love it to bits. It's been as dependable as the tides, owes us absolutely nothing, and remains a comfy, relaxed cruiser which you still don't need to nurse along like you would with a Vauxhall or Ford at this mileage.

It has never seen a garage apart from at MOT time since we've had it. I drop the oil three times a year (about every 6-7k ish), use a genuine Peugeot "Purflux" filter and semi synthetic oil, and do other bits as they come up. the underside is still solid, the arches are solid (unlike you'd find on a 15 year old Vauxhall or Ford), and it always amazes me how sound the mechanical bits still look. Filthy, but all working as the makers intended.

The trim and fittings are definitely cheaper and flimsier than a Cavalier or Sierra/Mondeo, but the important bits are far better engineered. Mechanicals and suspension are tough as old boots. After 15 years and 250k it's only on its second clutch, original turbo, mostly original suspension. On a Sierra I once owned, I was changing bushes every 18 months and getting sills welded at 10 years old.

The ancient XUD turbo engine pulls well, and once it warms up, it's still a smooth engine even by today's standards. Runs happily on 50/50 DERV and vegoil mix. Returns about 44 mpg average on my commute to the station and back. Uses about a litre of oil over a 6,000 mile change interval. Has since I bought it, and hasn't got worse. Apart from fluids and filters, the only things on the engine that's have ever been touched since I bought it are the glowplugs and timing belt.

We've deliberated long and hard about what to do with the car. My wife views it a bit like an old smelly pet dog - annoying and embarrassing, but sort of lovable and part of the furniture. We've actually agreed to keep it until it throws a big bill at us, when we'll call time and either scrap it, or give it away for spares/repair. Common wisdom suggests it will be the turbo or head gasket that finally kills it - apparently both are on borrowed time at this mileage. We'll see. I have more faith in this tough old heap than most.

A neighbour is a former taxi driver, and reckons they're the best car Peugeot ever made, and one of the best minicabs ever. Considering what cabbies do to cars, that's praise indeed.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2008

15th Feb 2008, 01:52

Running it on a mixture of cooking oil and diesel will probably kill it... surprising it hasn't already.

21st Feb 2008, 13:46

I have had 5 of these cars and they are long -lived, comfortable and economic, capable of high mileage.

21st Feb 2008, 18:15

The XUD engine with the Bosch pump will run happily on veg oil. This is confirmed by the experts.