RE: Shed of the Week | Peugeot 306 XSi

RE: Shed of the Week | Peugeot 306 XSi

Friday 20th September 2019

Shed of the Week | Peugeot 306 XSi

Decent hot hatches are becoming a rare sight in Shed country. The XSi bucks the trend



Shed has a pal in the spannering trade. Letโ€™s call him Spud. In terms of mindset, Shed and Spud are very much alike. Neither of them has much time for politicians, smartphones or modern cars. They both enjoy hearty English food: none of your foreign muck.

Every now and then Shed invites Spud round for Sunday lunch. The two men usually have some sort of animal-based pie accompanied by various vegetables from the tuber family, all covered with a nice thick sheet of gravy. Mrs Shed of course has no interest in Shedโ€™s meat and two veg and generally goes for a pigโ€™s head, medium rare with extra wobble.

Once the food has been consumed, the men retire to their equivalent of the snooker room (Shedโ€™s comfortably furnished workshop) where the Meerschaums come out and the conversation turns to cars. A favourite topic is โ€˜motors that should still be available to buy new in the showroomsโ€™. Not that either of them would ever be seen dead in a new car showroom. Itโ€™s only a conversation though, innit.


Anyway, this weekโ€™s Shed โ€“ย a Peugeot 306 XSi โ€“ย has come up more than once in that particular strand of conversation. Referencing โ€˜Peugeotโ€™s golden ageโ€™ in regards to chassis excellence may seem like a clichรฉ to some, but clichรฉs come about for a reason. In the case of the 306 XSi the clichรฉ took root in its perfectly judged mix of very acceptable performance, sweet steering and almost mystically supple suspension. Unsurprisingly, this car also crops up in another regular Shed and Spud topic: โ€˜what car would you choose if you had to run away from the missis at high speed without attracting too much attention from the custodians of the law?โ€™.

A car like this isnโ€™t for everybody. Buying any mainstream European car thatโ€™s more than 20 years old might be seen as a leap too far. But thereโ€™s a lot of reassurance in the ad about rust (none) and mechanical tightness (plenty), and the great thing about cars this old is that it usually takes something pretty major to write them off. Theyโ€™re not lumbered with the sort of electronic gizmos that, in Shed and Spudโ€™s opinions, are part of a Bilderberg conspiracy to create a new world order by keeping the general population poor

This 1998 specimen is a phase 2 car with the new front-end visuals. Launched in that same year was the Rallye, a stripped-back, 65kg lighter, UK-only version of the GTI-6. Even tired and leggy examples of the GTI-6 will burst our ยฃ1,500 budget, and Rallyes are an order of cost above that. The first three ads on the cars for sale section of the GTI-6 + Rallye Owners Club website quote ยฃ2,700 for a 158,000-mile Rallye, ยฃ3,000 for a 100k GTI-6, and ยฃ2,700 for a stripped-out Rallye that hasnโ€™t been on the road for a few years.


All of which makes this very clean and well looked after 77,000-mile XSi highly attractive at ยฃ1,400. What donโ€™t you get in the XSi that you get in the GTI-6? Well, a six-speed gearbox, obviously. Although Shed refuses to quote weight differentials as youโ€™ll find a thousand different figures depending on where you look, he is fairly sure that there is slightly more weight in an XSi, which in the crossed eyes of someone like Mrs Shed is actually a good thing. The GTI-6 wins on power, too: 163hp gave it a 0-62 of around 8.5sec, versus the 10-sec time dished up by the XSiโ€™s 135hp or thereabouts.ย 

You wonโ€™t worry about any of these shortcomings as you flow along Britainโ€™s off-road tracks โ€“ย sorry, A and B-roads โ€“ in your XSiย at speeds of up to 125mph, enjoying your Willy Wonka Get Out Of Jail Free card, your cheaper insurance and your slightly better fuel consumption relative to the GTI-6. Though that last one is marginal, in all honesty. The XSiโ€™s technical mpg advantage would easily be reversed if you thrashed it for not being a GTI-6, which is hardly the carโ€™s fault.

If you do drive like that, you might have to reset any prejudices you may have about unreliable French motors because these 306s are known to take a beating. 306 clutches can get a bit heavy with age: the fix there is to wear heavier boots. The XSiโ€™s lack of urge at higher speeds relative to the six-speed GTI-6, plus what feels like an immensely long second gear, are nicely compensated for by its low-speed flexibility (torque peaking at just 4,200rpm) that makes it a pleasure to drive even when youโ€™re not in the mood.


The MOT doc runs to December and has advisories for a wiper blade (which you assume will have been done by now) along with some light wear to the offside front suspension. The belts on this one were done last year/6,000 miles ago, so youโ€™re OK for another 44k. Coil packs blow and heater matrices burst: check the front carpets for dampness. Airbag warning lights do work, which along with the creaky interior can be annoying. The airbag thing is often underseat wiring thatโ€™s been stretched once too often by seat adjustment.

That front suspension advisory is worth looking at, if only to check the front springs as well because they are known to snap. Engine mounts can fail (listen for a clonk under sudden acceleration), as can rear brake compensators, leading to brake seizure. 306 body panels seem to be peculiarly vulnerable to shopping trolley attack. There are plenty of outfits like PugSpares around to service most if not all of your needs.

But for all this 306 XSiโ€™s positive attributes, its brilliant driveability, the fact that itโ€™s a three-door and the fact that they can be mended without recourse to the dealer network, Shed and his mate Spud are very much in. If you are too, youโ€™d best act fast because there arenโ€™t many XSis left, still fewer in this condition, and (Shed thinks) probably about one hitting the Shedmanโ€™s perfect sweet spot of condition and price. This one.

Here's the ad.







Author
Discussion

yme402

Original Poster:

59 posts

51 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Lovely example. D-Turbo gave same looks and very similar real-world performance along with 45mpg from the unburstsble XUDT engine. One good thing about old Peugeots of this era is that despite dodgy electrics, they don’t tend to rust that much.

can't remember

874 posts

77 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Hot hatch? It's not even warm. Struggling to see how an old middle of the road Pug is worth more than £500 to anyone other than a collector of the beige.


Mr Ponkerson

364 posts

41 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Wonderful shed from a wonderful era of warm/hot hatches (ignoring golfs).

itcaptainslow

2,508 posts

85 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Now that is nice. If I were in the market for a new daily purchases would be made...

Anyone who hasn’t driven a decent condition 306, even a bog spec one, really needs to. They really are lovely things to drive!

No Face

163 posts

138 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
I’m always suspicious of a car for sale with the tow hook attached.

Leonardo101

41 posts

23 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Brilliant shed, I've had several Peugeot including 306 gti all done over 100k & totally reliable & they never rust, try saying that about your ford's & vw's!?

Roboticarm

399 posts

10 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Other than a 205 this is pretty much the only Peugeot I've fancied getting.
Mates had a few when we were in our early 20s, a 1.4 which was about as fast as walking and a few d turbos which were brilliant.
I'd love a Rallye but the xsi is in budget

Mike1990

740 posts

80 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Looks like a good example of car that’s getting rarer and rarer as the years roll by.

135bhp might not be that much these days, it’s warm-hatch territory and its a fairly light car i believe so should feel nippy enough. The modern equivalent 308 GT-Line has 140bhp, XSi badge sounds better though.

PerfectDark

42 posts

56 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
No Face said:
I’m always suspicious of a car for sale with the tow hook attached.
These don’t have a detachable front towing eye - they’re from a time when manufacturers didn’t have to wrap the poor sod that is about to get flattened in cotton wool!

Also the 0-60 will undoubtedly be quicker than 10. The GTI6 was timed at low 7’s by Evo. There was a quote on here from way back that always makes me chuckle about Pug 0-60 times - “Peugeot do it 4 up with a full tank and Brian Blessed at the wheel”.


adam.

267 posts

160 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Hands down one of the finest handling FWD hatches I've ever driven.

Not as high-revving or as electrifying as the yard-stick DC2, but full of feedback and very rewarding.

They've also aged beautifully, IMO.

skidskid

156 posts

90 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
I loved mine! These have aged really well and I saw a 306 cab the other day for the first time in years and it looked so right.

jamesb2001

31 posts

64 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
I loved mine too. 75,000 in it between 1998 and 2001. Good fun to drive, looked the dogs dangly's to my 23 year old eyes and my mates. And with a petrol card, it was free smile

I seem to remember that it went wrong though. And by the time it went back (to be swapped for a mk4 Golf to cut my tax bill) it was rattly and worn.

I need a shed to go to the station in for the winter but think I'll leave memories as just that

Gad-Westy

9,772 posts

162 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Super cars. I never drove an xsi but every other 306 I e ever driven handled beautifully. Bet this would still feel fantastic on the right road.

edoverheels

83 posts

54 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
I had a five door one as a company car because of young family etc. Still one of the best cars across a B road because of the speed it carried on difficult surfaces and brilliant fwd handling of course. It was fast enough but the engine was dull. Couldn’t get a GTI 6 at the time because of the lack of doors.
Very fondly remembered car and I still think about it occasionally because I still often drive the same route that I used to commute with it.

LP670

554 posts

75 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
306, 309, 205, 106...... Peugeot went rapidly downhill after those IMO.

Gareth1974

2,158 posts

88 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
A 306 XSi was the first ‘performance’ car I ever bought, back was I was 22 - M354 UMT, it was 6 months old when I got it.

Mine was the phase one version which I feel looked better than today’s shed.

The figures don’t sound remotely impressive these days though, although back then it felt quite fast, but the best thing about it was the way it handled.

It also was the car I’ve kept the longest (7 years), and the only car I regret selling, as would quite like to have it in the garage now.

Lotusgone

165 posts

76 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Years ago, I got to drive a lot of cars in a day courtesy of a lease company looking for fleet business. The 306XSi I drove down country roads that day stays in my memory as the best handling car of the day - I even preferred it to the 300ZX and Prelude. Not blindingly quick, but best Q-Shed of the year?

CarlosSainz100

71 posts

69 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Best friend used to borrow his mum's XSI all the time. We looked the dogs danglies as 18 year olds burning round the local B roads.

The suspension was so supple and yet taut and not the least bit wallowy, and the steering had so much feel engineered into it.

Why can't they make modern suspension work like that??!

TonyG2003

172 posts

41 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Fantastic memories of my “s” Reg 306 XSi (looked identical to this one and even same last part of the reg plate). Not a very quick car - mid 8s 0-60 but great handling and lots of fun to drive. Mine was a year old when I got it and I had it for 3 years.
Super reliable too.

CarlosSainz100

71 posts

69 months

Friday 20th September 2019
quotequote all
Gareth1974 said:
A 306 XSi was the first ‘performance’ car I ever bought, back was I was 22 - M354 UMT, it was 6 months old when I got it.

Mine was the phase one version which I feel looked better than today’s shed.

The figures don’t sound remotely impressive these days though, although back then it felt quite fast, but the best thing about it was the way it handled.

It also was the car I’ve kept the longest (7 years), and the only car I regret selling, as would quite like to have it in the garage now.
Unfortunately the DVLA checker says it was last mot'd in 2010 ☹️