Used Peugeot 306 Hatchback 1997 - 2003 review

Category: Family car

The Peugeot 306 is cheap and great to drive, but newer designs trump it for quality, refinement and safety

Peugeot 306 Hatchback (97 - 03)
  • Peugeot 306 Hatchback (97 - 03)
  • Peugeot 306 Hatchback (97 - 03)
Used Peugeot 306 Hatchback 1997 - 2003 review
Star rating

What's the used Peugeot 306 hatchback like?

The Peugeot 306 is a pretty hatchback that set new standards for how small cars should drive. It has grippy handling and plenty of steering feel, as well as a controlled, absorbent ride, all of which helped the car to win plenty of awards in the mid-1990s.

The designers have tried hard inside, too, and the dash has a novel twin-glovebox design, but it looks cheap. The soft seats and offset pedals won't suit everyone, either, and cabin space is average, although boot space is good.


The Peugeot 306 is cheap and great to drive, but newer designs trump it for quality, refinement and safety

  • Good to drive, comfortable ride
  • cheap to buy and run
  • The handling can be dicey if the car's driven hard, seating is poor for taller drivers and safety kit is sparse

These are tough cars, but they were last sold in 2001, so they are getting on a bit and need plenty of care. Service intervals are set at 20,000 miles or every two years for petrol engines from S-plates onwards, but it's best to keep to the 12,000 mile/yearly visits Peugeot suggests for diesels, whatever you're driving.

Euro NCAP awarded the car three stars for occupant protection, but one star for pedestrian protection, which is disappointing.

Ownership cost

What used Peugeot 306 hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Peugeot 306 hatchback?

Prices are so low that future value losses scarcely figure in the equation. So depreciation, which is usually the biggest single contributor to your motoring bills, can be pretty much forgotten.

Servicing is cheap, but because you are buying an older car, you should budget for several repair trips a year. Luckily, most spares are inexpensive and easy to find, and you can expect any competent garage to tackle most jobs confidently.

Fuel economy is average - expect 30mpg from a 1.6 petrol. But, for the best, stick to one of the fine diesels - the 2.0-litre is capable of more than 50mpg.

Our recommendations

Which used Peugeot 306 hatchback should I buy?

The outstanding model is the 2.0 GTi-6 hot hatch. Quick, slick and rorty sounding, it proved a hit from its launch. Prices have dropped to make them a bargain, but performance hatches lead hard lives, and you'll need patience to find one that's never been crashed and has had caring owners.

The best of the rest is the 2.0 diesel Meridian. Initially a special edition, its popularity soon meant it joined the 306 range permanently. Alloy wheels, a smart body kit, half-leather seats, air-conditioning and a CD player make it an attractive package, and the 90bhp diesel is strong and frugal.

Otherwise, there are 1.4 and 1.6 petrols, a 1.9 turbodiesel and a non-turbo 1.9. Trim levels ran from L through LX and GLX, with XS and XSi covering a pair of rather feeble sports hatches.

The three- and five-door hatches are the commonest, but there was also a big-booted saloon (withdrawn in 1998) and a handsome cabrio. A face-lift in 1997 improved its looks and increased kit levels.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Peugeot 306 hatchback?