Peugeot 306

Here is my comment of the original Peugeot 306 : 

First rate handling and ride, sweet sohc engine, handsome styling, decent cabin. A very dynamical hatchback. 

After the revision in 1997, the comment became : 

First rate ride, deteriorated handling although still class-leading, harsh and noisy 16 valves engine, handsome styling and decent cabin improved slightly. An unsuccessful update. 

Strangely, Peugeot had done quite a lot in the update but most of them introduced counter effects - firstly, replacing the long-serving 8 valves 1.8 litres and 2.0 litres units with 16 valves versions seems to be a modernised move, but the 4-valvers was proved to be too harsh and too noisy, they are peaky, too. Now drive the 306 at low speed becomes lack of torque, at high speed becomes noisy. Oh yes, perhaps Peugeot wants to remind us that it builds Formula One racing engine. 

Secondly, Peugeot reworked the suspensions springs, dampers and bushing, these improved little bit refinement but in the price of body control and steering. Obviously, engineers did not spend too much time in road testing. Luckily, the original car handled so remarkable that such deterioration did not cost it the class-leading status. 

Finally, the slightly exterior and interior styling changes are good news. Now, because of the update Peugeot 306 is no longer the best choice in this category. Although it is still (just) leading the dynamic aspect, poor refinement and the arise of competitors such as Volkswagen Golf IV make it actually less competitive. Moreover, the deterioration created really bad image to automotive journalists.

The above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.

King of GTI : 306 GTi

Forget the normal 306, its hottest version, 306GTi (or called 306GTi-6 in some market) becomes even more exciting than ever. 2 litres 16 valves engine incorporated with variable-length manifolds enable sufficient power and a wide spread of torque, further mated with an exclusive close-ratio 6-speeds manual transmission, driving fun is assured.  

The power train becomes nothing when compare with the chassis, which provides untouchable handling excellence. Corner and then corner, it displays supreme body control with extremely high limit. Responsive and communicative steering give you the highest confidence, knowing your car is 100% under control. Which GTI could be more exciting?   

In fact, it does not need any double wishbones or multi-link suspensions like Japanese competitors, it need only strut in front and torsion beam in rear plus the traditional famous tuning technique. Best of all, supple ride means there is no compromise in handling and riding - this is a real French car !  

Of course, 306GTi is a beautiful hatchback, many regard it as the best-looking GTi. Being a perfect car, it deserves succeeding 205GTi as the "King of GTI".

The above report was last updated in 1998. All Rights Reserved.


306 1.8XT
306 GTi
Front-engined, Fwd
Front-engined, Fwd
L / W / H / WB: 4030 / 1680 / 1365 / 2580 mm
Inline-4, dohc, 4v/cyl.
Inline-4, dohc, 4v/cyl, 
variable intake.
1761 c.c.
1998 c.c.
112 hp
167 hp
114 lbft
145 lbft
F: strut / R: torsion beam
185/65 R14
195 / 55 VR15
1214 kg
Top speed
130 mph*
0-60 mph
7.9 sec*
0-100 mph
21.5 sec*
* Tested by Autocar

Copyright© 1997-2009 by Mark Wan @ AutoZine