01 November 1999

Auto Trader

Peugeot 306 GTI-6 1997-2000

Introduction

Peugeot 306 GTi-6

Hot hatchbacks fell out of favour a few years ago thanks to spiralling insurance premiums, but things have calmed down now and it's OK to enjoy yourself again.

The idea of a powerful engine in a humble hatchback has always been appealing, and Peugeot has long been a master of the art.

The 306 GTI-6 has a six-speed gearbox and the most muscular engine in the class, a 167bhp 2.0-litre.

Reliability and Quality Reliability and Quality - 6/10

Image Image - 8/10

Performance Performance - 10/10

Ease of Driving Ease of Driving - 8/10

Safety and Security Safety and Security - 8/10

Roominess Roominess - 6/10

Running Costs Running Costs - 6/10

Comfort Comfort - 6/10

Fun to Drive Fun to Drive - 10/10

Stereo Stereo - 6/10

Value for Money Value for Money 6/10

SummarySummary - 7/10

For: Huge performance, terrific steering and handling, tidy looks.

Against: Not for novice drivers.

Sum-up: The GTi-6 is brilliant, though not such a pure driving experience as the old 205 GTi or the stripped-out 306 Rallye special edition.

Reliability and QualityReliability and Quality - 6/10

The interior isn't the last word in innovative design, but it's screwed together quite firmly on current 306s. Build quality is good overall, and the cars are fundamentally reliable apart from common problems with the central locking's remote control. The GTI-6 has leather and Alcantara trim.

ImageImage - 10/10

This hottest 306 lives off some of the 205 GTi's reflected glory, but it's a right-stuff statement in itself, helped by Peugeot's strong rallying presence. Viewed as an expert's choice of serious road-rocket, rather than a poser's hot hatch, though it's still not as cool as the now discontinued Rallye.

PerformancePerformance - 10/10

Torrential. There's good pull from low speeds, but above 4500rpm these 306s really fly. Shortish overall gearing and six forward gears make it easy to keep the engine singing to beyond 7000rpm, and it sounds great with its hard-edged snort.

Ease of DrivingEase of Driving - 8/10

Despite the potential blasts of power, these 306s are docile in traffic and easy to drive smoothly. A slick, well-defined gearchange makes it easy to find your way through the six gears, too, and the brakes are wonderfully firm and progressive.

Safety and SecuritySafety and Security - 8/10

A three-star NCAP rating is a good result, and the GTi-6 has a full complement of driver, passenger and side airbags. It has deadlocks and an alarm, as well as an immobiliser - all necessary as the GTi-6 is a very desirable commodity.

RoominessRoominess - 6/10

The 306 is averagely roomy for a smallish hatchback, and boot space benefits from the unintrusive suspension design.

Running CostsRunning Costs - 6/10

Group 16 insurance will prove expensive, servicing is cheap with major attention needed just every 20,000 miles with an interim check at 10,000. Residual values are currently strong for the GTi-6, and are likely to stay that way.

ComfortComfort - 6/10

This 306 is surprisingly supple over bumps; the GTi-6 isn't exactly quiet, but its engine does sound great. The trim is plush, with a leather-covered steering wheel, and there's air conditioning and electric windows as standard fit.

Fun to DriveFun to Drive - 10/10

The GTi-6 has possibly the best steering of any hot hatchback, well-weighted, ultra-positive, full of feel right down to the granularity of the road surface, but never too heavy. It feels smaller than it is, because it's so light and deft on its wheels. It's possible to spin it on a wet road, though, if you're not ready with the steering and accelerator.

StereoStereo 6/10

The GTi-6 has a posh system with a CD-stacker, and the RDS traffic information function.

Value for MoneyValue for Money - 6/10

The GTi-6 isn't cheap, but it offers unrivalled entertainment in its class. It's not such a pure drive as the stripped-out Rallye (now discontinued), however, and seems over-specified when viewed alongside that version.