The legendary Peugeot 205 was cult classic and an era defining car. From the controversial television advert where it outran the helicopter to it's huge success in the rally world the 205 was an instant hit and production ran for almost 15 years.
Then came the 306.......
Now don't get me wrong the 306 is a fairly good car, competitevely priced, good handling and probably still one of the better selling small cars of the 90's but my experience has not been a good one!!
You're probably waiting for me to launch into a tirade about everything that has gone wrong for me with this car but I'm going to flip the script and do my best to concentrate on the positives! I'm not going to go into too much technical detail as I don't think that is what would attract the average 306 buyer.
I'll start off with the engine. As desribed above I am going to talk about the 1.4 petrol model. As 1.4 engines go, this is actually not bad at all. I wouldn't call it fast by any stretch of the imagination but for town driving it has above average acceleration and if you didn't go near a dual carriageway you would probably think it was 'nippy'. Anything over 40mph though and you notice things getting a bit 'rougher'. On the motorway you will really struggle with anything over 80mph. It is quite economical however and I don't know the mpg but I do know that £20 would be a bad week on petrol for me with a 10 mile round trip to work during the week .
The handling is also quite responsive and I'll be honest it is better than an awful lot of small cars, the roll on the corners is noticeable but considering all 306 cars on the road these days are at least 10 years old the handling is still good and provides a nice solid ride. The ride itself would not be classed as sporty but it is not that smooth either and you will feel the bumps. The brakes are also well above par.
The looks speak for themselves and would generally be classed as quite sporty. It has some nice skirts and the exterior trim is all body coloured in the phase 3 version that I have.The Peugeot alloys that are available suit it perfectly and are definitely recommonded. As with all cars there are plenty of aftermarket styling products available and some really do compliment the 306 well. If you can find a subtle sun strip and a shark fin aerial it really brings out the natural aggresive looks of the car. If you look on one of the many 306 websites there are plenty of examples around.
Moving inside then and this is where the car excells for me as it is an integral part of the driving experience. It is very comfortable. It has half leather seats all round and the front seats have side supports to keep you in your seat on those fast corners. It has a good factory sound system and it also has a stereo control toggle on the steering column whch was quite high tech back then. The other controls are all where you would expect them to be and everything has an ergronomic feel to it. My only gripe was the lack of bottle holder but.... how bad??
As small cars go, it is actually quite roomy inside and it could not be faulted for it's use of space. The boot is also quite spacious and I know that is high up the list of considerations.
All in all this is quite a good car on paper but unfortuntely it has been let down for me on it's reliability as I have had to replace half of the engine in the 2 years I've had it. This could be down to neglect by the previous owners but this view has been endorsed by enough mechanics for me to accept it.
The 205 is still considered the best hot hatch around but the 306 was a worth successor.
Then came the 307.........
Just so that you know before you begin to read this opinion, I am about to tell you all about our car but don’t expect any technical specifications because all that side is completely lost on me! I will just be telling you what she is like from a traveller’s point of view! I don’t actually drive. Our first car was a second hand Nissan Bluebird. She had been well looked after and suited us well for a while. Her only real problem was her insatiable thirst – she drank petrol by the tankful! So, regretfully we decided that we had to part with her and we began looking at options for buying another car. We visited all the local dealers to get information on second hand cars that were about 12 months to two years old as we thought that was where the best bargain would come. We also made a list of all the things that we would like the new car to have such as air bags, 5 doors etc., and we split these into two categories – those we MUST have and those we’d rather like. We decided that our top price would have to be around the £10,000 mark. We’d saved a fair bit and could afford a small car loan as well. On our visits to various car showrooms we saw quite a variety of cars that were nearly right for us and we had some laughs along the way. We went to our local car supermarket and it is one of those places where the salesmen hunt in packs and pounce on you as soon as you get out of your car. One such gentleman said to us ‘What are you looking for?’ almost before we’d switched off our engine so Dave answered him by saying ‘A car’ – the salesman never cracked his face! Anyway we looked at all the second hand cars and some of the new ones at various places and eventually decided to take a trip to Regal Motors at Bilston from where we had been hiring Peugeots before we had the Nissan. And there she was ……̷
0;…… It was as though someone had put the car we wanted there at a price we could afford, just to wait for us to find her. God works in mysterious ways. She had 5 doors which was THE main requirement as far as we were concerned as we have elderly parents who are not now agile enough to clamber over a folded front seat to get into the back of a car. Come to think of it – I struggle these days! She had ABS (Antilock Brake System) which I had seen demonstrated on the television a few weeks before and I was amazed at the difference it made in the ability to control the car. Dave has really noticed the benefits, particularly when driving along winding roads. The handling on the corners is much more accurate and as a result safer. There are twin air bags again an excellent safety feature, but one I hope never gets used. She has electric windows and sunroof but no air conditioning, which is what we wanted as the air conditioning tends to use up a lot of fuel and we wanted the new car to be as economical a possible. In fact the only thing on either of our two lists of requirements that she didn’t have was a CD player and we thought we could manage without one of those! We can always have one fitted at a later date if we want to anyway. I have just realised – I haven’t actually told you what the car is! Mind you I suppose you could guess by which category I have posted this opinion in! She’s a V reg Peugeot 306 Meridian in Ocean Blue, so even the colour was one that we liked. It was May 2000 when we first saw the car and the date of registration was the previous December which is why there was about £2,000 knocked off the asking price, as the new registration letter was about to become available. Even better was the fact that she only had nine miles on the clock! We have never regretted it for an instant. It is roomy, comfortable, econ
omical, nippy, and good-looking too! What a beauty. Oh and she only uses about half the petrol of the old car too!