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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's stylish and practical

Against The ride and handling are poor

Verdict It has four seats and it's fairly elegant, but it hasn't aged well

Go for… 2.0 SE

Avoid… 1.6 auto

Peugeot 306 Cabriolet
  • 1. Camshaft seals and cam belts must be changed every three years or 36,000 miles
  • 2. The hood is electrically operated, so make sure the mechanism works smoothly and the hood itself is free of leaks
  • 3. The heated glass rear window is better that the plastic ones on the 306’s contemporaries
  • 4. The clutch can break if not checked. If it feels too stiff, it probably needs attention
  • 5. Opt for the post-’97 vehicles and stick to the 2.0-litre petrol engine
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Peugeot 306 Cabriolet full review with expert trade views

With styling by Pininfarina, an Italian design company more famous for designing Ferraris, the 306 was a choice drop-top when it was introduced in 1994, being both classy and practical. It can seat four and its chiselled good looks have a lasting style. However it's starting to feel its age.

The 306 hatchbacks have a great reputation for precise handling and good cornering, but the loss of the 306’s metal roof has a big effect - imperfect road surfaces cause the whole car to shudder.

Build quality is poor by today’s standards and the cabin has a distinctly ’90’s feel. But, at least the insulated hood does a reasonable job of keeping out road and wind noise, and the heated glass rear window is better than the plastic ones on the 306’s contemporaries.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not the most reliable. Still has reasonable image. 1.8 SE best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There was originally only a 2.0-litre engine option available. With just 123bhp, the car wheezed its way from 0-60mph in a sedate 10.8sec. In ’96 a roadster edition was launched which included a removable hardtop and a host of extra goodies as standard.

The whole 306 range was revamped in ’97 and the car was both longer and better equipped than before; 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre versions followed, the roadster edition continued and multipoint fuel injection finally came along in 2000.

It’s better to go for the post-97 vehicles, but the 1.6 and 1.8 are both fairly feeble, so it’s best to stick to the 2.0-litre. There is an automatic option on the 1.6 and 2.0 cars, but this isn’t recommended.

Go for the higher-specced SE or one of the limited edition models; private sellers are the best place to pick one up.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Needs to be mint, 2.0 SE from late ’90s on with air-con still sells

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Service intervals are every 9000 miles, so if you intend to use the car a lot you should budget accordingly, especially as engines can require a cambelt change every three years or 36,000 miles. However, to offset that you should be able to halve your labour bills by using an independent garage rather than a franchised dealer.

Insurance is surprisingly expensive. The 2.0-litre car is in group 14, although this does fall to group 10 for the 1.6-litre. Despite the different engine sizes, fuel economy is fairly consistent. You should expect mid-30s on the smallest engine, falling to about 30mpg on the 2.0-litre.

According to Warranty Direct, the 306 family does have a number of weaknesses, including axles and suspension, brakes, engine and electrical system. So, you can expect to have to fork out for repairs.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Not the most reliable. Still has reasonable image. 1.8 SE best

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

You’re likely to come across a lot of high-mileage cars, and some will be in a tatty condition; avoid those that look excessively tired.

The hood is electrically operated so make sure the mechanism works smoothly and easily, and, while you’re at it, check the hood for leaks, cuts and general wear. Walk away if the roof or its operation are suspect.

The clutch has a design flaw, and can break if not checked. If it feels too stiff, it probably needs attention. The 306 also has a habit of wearing out suspension bushes more quickly than expected. Camshaft seals and cambelts must be changed every three years or 36,000 miles, so check when it was last done, in case there's an unexpected bill around the corner.

There’s a list of recalls on the 306 family as long as your arm, and some are important, so you should make sure they’ve been carried out. Go to vosa.gov.uk to check what was necessary.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Needs to be mint, 2.0 SE from late ’90s on with air-con still sells

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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