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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For The load area is large and practical, and the ride and handling are very good, too

Against Early cars lack many standard safety features, and the cabin hasn't aged well

Verdict It's a practical and pleasant-to-drive workhorse, but it's far from fault-free

Go for… 2.0 HDi

Avoid… 1.4 petrol

Peugeot 306 Estate
  • 1. Tall passengers will find headroom cramped in the back
  • 2. Thanks to the generous boot, the 306 Estate is surprisingly practical
  • 3. Faulty engine control units are common
  • 4. Get an expert to check out the suspension. Worn dampers and heavily laden cars are a dangerous combination
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Peugeot 306 Estate full review with expert trade views

When Peugeot added an estate rear end to the 306, it still managed to retain the hatchback’s pretty looks. Happily, the load-lugger also held onto the hatchback’s fine driving abilities. Even in estate form, it has a lively, precise and involved feel to its steering and chassis.

The ride is comfortable, too, and the suspension is well set up to cope with heavy loads. However, you need to be careful on wet roundabouts because the car snap out of line if you corner too quickly and lift off the accelerator abruptly.

Carrying cargo is no problem thanks to the generous load area, and passengers are also reasonably well catered for. However, there’s not much headroom for tall passengers in the back, and the cabin has a dated and rather cheap appearance.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

HDI Meridian was a huge seller. Great economy and performance

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

A diesel engine is the one to go for, although not the 1.9 diesel. It pulls reasonably well low down the rev range, but it struggles in fifth gear on motorway hills. The turbocharged version has a more lively nature, but the best of all is the smoother, faster, more refined 2.0 HDi, which is our pick of the range.

As for the petrol units, the entry-level 1.4-litre engine produces 75bhp, but we wouldn't recommend it. Drive it on your own, and the performance feels reasonable, but once you factor in four more occupants and their luggage, it's all a bit of a struggle.

The 1.6-litre petrol restores some semblance of acceleration, and there are also 1.8-litre and two 2.0-litre petrol engines, one with eight valves and the other with 16.

Safety is not impressive by today’s standards, with a three-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. However, if you get a car built after June 1999, it will at least have anti-lock brakes and twin airbags. At the same time, the range also received a face-lift with new headlamps and a more modern interior.

Trade view

John Owen

Sold in limited numbers - needs to be fastidiously maintained

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

With the range stretching back to 1997, prices are rock-bottom, especially if you go for the 1.4-litre. A good one won’t be too expensive to run. Economy is impressive for a petrol engine, at 42mpg, while insurance is rated at just group 4.

The 2.0-litre petrol is best avoided. Not only is it group 12 insurance, but fuel economy of 31mpg is poor. The 70bhp 1.9-litre non-turbo diesel returns 45mpg and sits in group 4, while the 92bhp turbo unit is one mpg more fuel efficient and two groups more expensive to insure.

The 90bhp, 2.0-litre HDi turbodiesel is the most fuel efficient at 54mpg, and its insurance is very reasonable, too, at group 5. All diesels need to have an annual oil change, though. Peugeot dealers charge slightly more than the class average for service/repairs, but rates for independent experts are lower than for most makes.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

HDI Meridian was a huge seller. Great economy and performance

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

An unreliable Peugeot 306 estate can be expensive to fix if it goes wrong, and unfortunately they do tend to do this all too often. The list of faults leading to recalls is hideously long, and includes horrors such as the possibility of the driveshaft detaching from the gearbox and the potential collapse of the front suspension. It's a depressing picture.

Loose trim and frequent electrical glitches can cause misery for owners of high-mileage cars, with alarms, remote control central locking and air-con units playing up. Faulty engine control units are common, and all too often the flimsy cabin trim fails to stand the test of time. If you're buying a car that has a large number of miles on the clock, and intend to use it to carry heavy loads regularly, it's worth having an expert check out the suspension. Worn dampers and heavily laden cars are a dangerous combination.

Trade view

John Owen

Sold in limited numbers - needs to be fastidiously maintained

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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