UK CAR Reviews: Peugeot 306 GTi-6
The Peugeot 306 GTi 6 must be one of the finest hot hatches. Itís driving characteristics and performance is very enjoyable and not easily usurped.
This sector of the market has been very competitive for some time. The competitors for its market would be the everlasting or so it seems VWíS Golf GTi, Honda Civic VTi, Ford escort RS, Vauxhall Astra GSi etc.
The Peugeot tested is the 1998 model with the side air bags and leather with suede trim.
The car to look at is almost nothing special, many of the 306 turbo diesels look similar from the outside. However itís wide rimmed alloys and tyres do suggest something a little different to the trained eye. The GTi 6 badge on the rear will also probably be read more than once by the uneducated. Fully colour coded trims enhance the exterior a great deal.
The interior is very good, the sports steering wheel gives a reassuring feel and the supportive sports leather trimmed seats are very comfortable.
Fitted equipment is generous with lots of standard features including air conditioning, abs braking, electric windows, height adjusting seat, alarm, immobiliser, remote locking with deadlocking and much more.
With the engine running at idle there is nothing to suggest that there is a 16V 167-bhp unit ready to explode into life with very little encouragement.
The gear stick is a little different in that the sixth gear is under the traditional fifth gear and reverse is next to it. You are cautious the first few times you select the sixth speed just in case you accidentally go into reverse at high speed and dismantle your gearbox in double quick time. To stop this there is a lever to lift the access the reverse. But I do wonder whether after some wear it will protect it in years to come. You only have to get it wrong once and bye bye gearbox and hello to Mr nice repair man, and bye bye to that months salary.
Anyway it does take a long time to actually get up to sixth gear and when you are you are going that fast you donít quite have the same impetus to race the gear change as at lower speeds.
The 306 does accelerate as you would expect, it does it probably better, in that it produces lots of torque and power at low revs and carries on developing the power right up to the redline.
The 0-60 in this GTi-6 is a mere 6.7 seconds that is very quick for a small car but it does do it with ease and efficiency carrying on well past this low speed in comparison to its top speed of 137 mph.
The gear change itself is very slick with very good steering and braking assisted with front and rear discs and ABS for safety.
The car handles in an outstanding manner with front and rear anti roll bars fitted, up-rated springs and dampers give it a very surefooted direction. As in many cars with such hardened suspension it is very easy to actually lift one of the rear wheels off the road if manoeuvring off a pavement or a very uneven road as the anti roll bar at the rear is very taut.
But donít let this bother you it does not do this on the road unless you are driving as though you are on a race circuit and then it still doesnít matter as this version of the 306 can still handle itself with ease and still accurate direction.
The engine is very much the same as the early 16V used in the Citroen BX 16V many years ago and then fitted to the Peugeot 405 MI 16. It was indeed at that time very advanced apart from the oil leakage, which thankfully has now been designed out. The sparking plugs all have their own coil and amplifier these however can sometimes give misfires. Servicing is every 9,000 miles and is not expensive.
The tyres can be a little costly and will need replacement often, particularly on the front if the car is driven hard as it will break the front grip with ease in lower gears.
The car is very theft proof in that the immobiliser system is automatic and very difficult to bypass, deadlocking is also a good deterrent and the music system can only be assigned to another Peugeot making it almost useless to the average less than intelligent or caring thief.
This little car overall is very good in all aspects it can be used daily to commute, it is quite assertive on high-speed motorways and an absolute pleasure on country winding A class roads.
The build quality is outstanding for its size with very little noise apart from engine and exhaust but it only does this when you are driving hard indeed you may even turn down the radio to hear it properly.
The exterior panels however are very prone to car park dents and do crease easily. So it is advisable to park away from the supermarket maniacs in their 2x4 spaces if you want to maintain the cosmetic appearance.
Oh I forgot to mention the steering. Well it is very precise with good feedback the assistance is very well balanced and it is a pleasure. BUT!!!! Try parking or a three point turn in a restricted space and the 306 GTi 6 comes into a world of itís own. Three point turns become a seven and the parking space become a 2x2 space the lock to lock is not equal to the size of this excellent car. Peugeot I guess have done this to protect the drive shaft CV joints from popping out before you eye balls when accelerating hard on lock.
Overall an excellent car and the steering lock is probably the only negative aspect of owing a GTi-6 well apart from the purchase cost and insurance. They do hold very good residual values for clean models.
Review supplied courtesy of ukcar