Peugeot's 306. A cracking buy.
Six months ago, I wrote a piece telling everybody in the market for a cheap car to buy a Peugeot 306. At this point, I'd run one for perhaps two months. Do I still feel the same, six months down the line? There's only one way to tell, and that's to look at it objectively.
I found a matching car - indeed, the one pictured above - with twice the mileage but three years newer a plate. That said, it was a late registration in that colour and as a MK1. That car is £950. Given that we paid £1500 in 2003, and I see no reason to sell for less that the car pictured, it has cost under a hundred pounds a year in depreciation. That's as close to depreciation-free motoring as what was then an eight year old car can offer.
It's quick enough, being powered by a 1.8 four of some 103bhp. The automatic gearbox provides a decent kickdown - not so much in terms of outright urge but I suspect this is more down to the car's age and the fact that short journeys do not endear themselves to peak engine condition. I always feel as though I'm in control too - drive a 306 and you understand instantly why the GTi6 was THE hot hatch to beat in the 90s.
I needn't repeat words I wrote six months ago, and which are freely available on this blog if you're interested. Suffice it to say the car is economical, spacious, airy, and scrubs up incredibly well for a 15 year old family hack. The radio is again excellent, with either a column stalk or buttons within reach which can be used to adjust the sound without taking your eyes from the road.
Another advantage to an automatic gearbox I could not foresee is it's usefulness in injury. In August I managed to damage the ligaments of my left ankle rather badly. My limp was rather pronounced despite the fact I tried concealing it from family members and friends, yet I was still able to drive in complete and utter comfort.
I mentioned the unique build quality of the French - and really, it's not as bad as I made it out. Yes, one piece of trim is held on with Blu-Tack. Yes, one piece until recently resided in the glovebox. But said piece, following some nifty modifications with a penknife and a file, went where it should have been from the factory. A bit of tape to secure the fix lest it break again did the job, and the car is now as close to concours (but filthy - I never wash cars in cold weather) as it can be. I'm still looking for a replacement steering wheel, incidentally - if anyone has a good beige four spoke wheel for a 306, get in touch.
If anything, my praise for Peugeot's peppy people's car is higher than ever. I really do understand the car's appeal, and for the ridiculously low sums they command now, as a Bangernomics advocate I heartily recommend you buy onewhilst there are still some decent ones left.