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Used car review Peugeot 307 2001-2005

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Graham 'Smithy' Smith reviews the used Peugeot 307 2001-2005, its fine points, its flaws and what to watch for when you're buying it.

Peugeot has long been highly regarded in this country. They won respect for their worthy efforts in the early Round Australia Trials, which were regarded as a true test of a car in the early days.

In recent times they have had a more chequered time. At one time they were assembled here, but that was some years ago and they have been imported for many years now.

In those recent years the brand hasn’t always been well supported and it has lost some of the lustre it once had as a consequence.

Build quality has always been an issue with French cars and Peugeot has suffered from inconsistent quality, and it wasn’t always helped by a lack of support from dealers or importers.

MODEL WATCH

The 307 replaced the 306 in 2001 and came well credentialed having been voted European Car of the Year for 2002.

While it replaced the 306 it was significantly larger than its predecessor. While the 306 was regarded as a small car, the 307 was a size larger, almost a mid-sized model.

But along with the extra size came an airy and roomy interior, which provided comfortable accommodation for four, or five at a pinch.

While French cars are usually renowned for their comfortable, absorbent ride, the 307 didn’t fit the mould.

Peugeots have always been regarded as having a supple suspension that has delivered a most comfortable ride, without having a negative effect on the handling, but the 307’s ride was more nervous and without the absorbency of other Peugeots.

On the road it showed a nice balance with good grip and communicative steering, and a solid braking feel. Overall it was a nice package.

There were two petrol engines and a diesel offered in the 307. The petrol engines consisted of a 1.6-litre double overhead cam four that produced 80 kW and 147 Nm and a 2.0-litre DOHC four that produced 100 kW and 190 Nm; the 2.0-litre single overhead am diesel boasted 66 kW and 206 Nm.

The transmission choices were a five-speed manual, which had a rather imprecise shift, and a four-speed auto, which was quite a limiting factor when it came time to get up and go.

In auto form the 1.6-litre 307 was best described as lethargic. Even with the right foot buried deep in the carpet, and the air turned off, the acceleration could easily be measured using the progress of the sun.

In manual form it was a different story. With relatively short gearing the five-speed manual car got off the line quickly and with a good torque spread it was a nice easy car to drive.

It took 11 seconds or so to reach 100 km/h from a standstill, with another 7.5 seconds needed to cover the standing 400-metre dash. Its top speed was 190 km/h.

The 2.0-litre was clearly quicker, and quite a nice little performer, while the turbo diesel delivered at the pump.

Initially the 307 came in hatchback form, but a wagon and a convertible were added to the range in 2003.

The XS 1.6 five-door was the mainstay of the range and came with a host of standard equipment including front and side airbags, ABS with brake force distribution, cloth trim, power windows, remote central locking, air-conditioning, immobilizer, and CD player. The XS could also be had with the diesel engine.

In addition there was XSE five-door, which had the 2.0-litre engine plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and five-stacker CD system.

Atop the range sat the XSi three-door that also had the 2.0-litre engine plus leather trim and 17-inch alloy wheels.

ON THE LOT

For a taste of French flair get behind the wheel of a 1.6 XS hatch for between $12,000 and $19,000; add $2500 for the frugal diesel.

For the 2.0-litre punch you’ll need to pay between $18,000 and $22,000, add another $1500 and you’ll drive away in an XSi three-door.

IN THE SHOP

Build quality was inconsistent at first and there were a few problems as a result. The 307 seemed to be plagued by electrical gremlins that can be frustrating to sort out.

Some owners complain about the rate of brake wear that has them replacing pads and discs relatively frequently. There is also some complaint about the brake dust that builds up on wheels.

Seats tend to collapse at low kays when the cushion material breaks down.

Paint quality is also an issue so keep an eye pealed for blotchy marks and faded areas on exposed surfaces.

It seems that most owners rate the 307 quite highly when all goes well, but quickly become frustrated when problems develop.

It’s a good idea to find a dealer with experience working on Peugeots, as some dealers appear to struggle to diagnose and fix faults when they occur, while other dealers appear to be on top of things and fix problems quickly.

IN A CRASH

The 307 boasted an impressive array of airbags that provided a comprehensive package of protection when things turned nasty. All models had front airbags for the driver and passenger, plus front side airbags and front and rear curtain airbags.

With antiskid ABS braking, electronic brake force distribution and emergency brake assist, along with good chassis fundamentals, the 307 makes an attractive buy on safety grounds.

OWNERS SAY

Richard Powell has owned his 307 HDi for just over three years and has traveled 105,000 km in it. In that time the only real problem he’s had has been the replacement of two blinker assemblies, which was done under warranty and the plastic air, flow director underneath the car getting destroyed on country roads. It has proven very economical approaching 5.0 L/100 km on long trips and just over 6.0 L/100 km around town. It is very comfortable on long journeys and just seems to eat away the kilometres, but the suspension can bottom when loaded and going over rough roads. The car drives, brakes and handles well, all very predictable. It is not very quick off the mark, but once there can cruise at high speed all day and is not slowed down by hills.

Rohan Matthews has owned his 2003 307 HDi wagon for three years and it now has 90,000 km on the clock. He had problems with the gearbox, which was eventually traced to an incorrectly fitted bearing on the main shaft. He also had problems with the dashboard display, which kept failing, and the indicators, which have had to be replaced four times. The stereo head unit has been replaced four times and the latest is also faulty. The padding in the front seats is failing, even at the low kilometres. There has also been an issue with the spare wheel winch, which failed the second time it was used, and the paint quality is poor. Worst of all, he says, is the poor customer service he had received from Peugeot. Even though it is nice to drive he tells people to steer clear of Peugeot and buy a car that has the backing of a company who gives a damn.

In contrast David Cooper has had few problems with the 307 1.6 five-speed manual he owned for 2.5 years before trading up to the newer model. He says it was a great car that he enjoyed driving, made even better by changing the dreadful Dunlop tyres for Michelins at 30,000 km, which improved the whole feel of the car.

David Wryell has had his Peugeot 307 XSE for just over three years and feels it is a much better car than most media reports say. Big comfy seats that don't give him the niggling back ache that most of the Japanese cars he has owned did are unbeatable. The Peugeot doesn't float on the suspension like his last Volkswagen did and doesn't depreciate like a Renault. Dealer servicing has been very good, and combined with 7.0 L/100 km on the highway it is reasonably cheap to run.

Richard Campbell is in the depths of despair trying to sort out his daughter’s 307 XSE. It’s done just 25,000 km, and has been suffering from an intermittent electrical gremlin for two years that affects the starting. So far dealers and auto electricians have been unable to trace the problem, which is heard as a clicking noise under the bonnet without the starter engaging, or sometimes a long cranking period without the engine firing. His daughter loves the car on the rare occasion it performs and starts first time. One of the reasons she purchased the car was the safety feature of six airbags and the visibility, but she is now totally disillusioned with it.

LOOK FOR

• Patchy and faded paint

• Check all electrical systems are working

• Faulty sound systems

• Roomy and comfortable interior

• good chassis dynamics

• modest performance

• diesel frugality

• Inconsistent build quality

• Variable dealer service

RIVALS

• Ford Focus – 2002-2005 – $9500-$19,000

• VW Golf – 2002-2005 – $14,000-$23,000

• Toyota Corolla – 2000-2004 – $8500-$17,000

THE BOTTOM LINE

Roomy and comfortable smallish car with good driving dynamics, but with questionable quality.

RATING

55/100

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 11 comments

  • I purchased 406 estate which had been used by a salesperson for it's 3 years warranty period.It had 103'000 mls on the clock,i used it to pull our caravan from n.w. of the u.k.via Portsmouth to south east spain ,southern spain,portugal and coming up central spain and france.all this for 3 years.I finished after doing a tour of Europe by way of france, Italy,swiss ,slavenia,croatia, Austria,germany,belgium,holland and luximburgh. We finished caravanning and sold the car (part ex) off a nearly new car (no names no p.d.)what a silly thing to do !

    john coffey of cheshire n w Posted on 15 September 2013 11:05am
  • I bought a xse today 5 door hatchback,hopefully will at least last till the warranty runs out it is a auto,will keep you all posted

    barbara bourke of endeavourhills Posted on 27 November 2012 6:41pm
  • My wife drives a 307 XSE Auto and shortly after the 3 year warranty expired the car completely died requiring a major repair of electrical problems. More recently after having still only done 45,000kms, the gearbox problem (that others on this site mention) occurred - jumping out of top gear and getting stuck in second until the ignition is turned off. Repairs cost $1500 to replace gearbox solenoids and update software plus a brake switch problem as well. The Peugeot air-con air flow through the front vents is not great and clearly not up to Austalian conditions where you need to cool down quick on a hot day. Sadly, this experience has turned me off French cars. I also own a Land Rover Discovery that is 17 years old and I have few major problems after having done a fair bit of 4WD and long trips over the years.

    Kevin Prosser of Melbourne, Australia Posted on 13 September 2012 1:34pm
  • i have a 307 model 05 . The car is very nice , great comforts ,but on the mechanic part, am getting problem with my raken , can anyone suguest me the solution ??? Thanks

    Yav of Mauritius Posted on 07 September 2012 10:49pm
  • I have a 307 SW and have been having transmission problems for the last three years. The display comes up saying gear fault ,I have change some small pistons in the transmission but it comes back in about five months time and the dealers in Trinidad and Tobago where I am from dont seem to have a clue so I am stuck with this problem.

    Allyson Williams of Trinidad and Tobago Posted on 21 February 2012 12:17pm
  • I agree with most of the above. I have a 307 XS 1.6ltr,2003. It has done 120k and i have had to replace all rotors twice. :( Plus both front electric windows packed it in within a month of each other 6 moths ago ( cost 1000 TO FIX). And the paint is a bit blotchy in places.Overall it has been ok never died on me but parts cost heaps and car seems to be just wearing out way too soon for the number of kms it has done.

    al of perth Posted on 10 October 2011 1:34am
  • We have owned a 307 XSE 2.0 since new it's an 04 Model. Can't say it's had any issues described above apart from brake dust build up on the alloy wheels. Electrics are fine and it's driven daily. The transmission is fine in both auto and triptronic modes. It did blow taillight globes early on, but seemed to resolve itself with a different brand of globe. It's fitted with Dunlop Tyres and although it does understeer when pushed really hard into a corner, suitable use of accelerator sorts that out. If you know how to properly drive a front wheel drive car you will enjoy driving this car. The automatic transmission can hesitate at kick down sometimes, simply slipping it into triptronic and knocking it back a gear achieves a faster smoother result.

    Devon Jenson of Melbourne Posted on 07 August 2011 10:42pm
  • hello am gettting discouraged in getting a 307 2002 model second hand which has done 100,000km in Japan. Will I get the same treatment as the other 307?

    alistair kambobe of lusaka Posted on 21 June 2011 8:50pm
  • My other half owns a 307 XSE 2.0 petrol auto 2005, She's only the second owner and was delighted to find one with such low km's 33000. After about 500km the transmission began to play up, hard changing and irregular changing of gears at high speed. The problem wasn't too bad at first but then it would change really hard if i used the manual shift or if i used the cruise control, then would go into limp mode after throwing up all the alarms. I did a bit of research and discovered that it started doing this at only 25000km. The Peugeot mechanic told me it only needs two solenoids changed and the software updated, but this had been done at 25000km. So i had them done again because my other half wanted to give it another chance, so $1160 later the mechanic tells me this still has not fixed the problem. Now we understand why the km's are so low! As for the rest of the car, all the automatic functions are just annoying, it has terrible under steer and get's out of control if you even slightly touch the wheel on the hwy. It's like 90% of it's mass is beyond the front wheels, like trying to push a shopping trolley around when someone is standing on the front.

    Paul Maslen of Brisbane Posted on 25 May 2011 11:17pm
  • This is a very informative review and most helpfull. I was going to buy a second hand 2003 HDi for $10K buit will not go near this car now,,,, THANK YOU,,,,, back to the Ford or VW

    Gary Chapman of VIC Posted on 13 May 2011 2:38pm
  • We have a Peugeot 307 XS Auto 1.6 litre brought new from the dealer in early 2003. The European Car of The Year award influenced us plus the economical performance and safety. At $30k it was not cheap but is roomy and flexible without any real grunt. We have always accepted the poor transmission and lack of get up and go. We have also had the usual indicator and CD player problems but have avoided the horror electrical issues and until recently the transmission problems. All that stopped at 90,000kms, which appears to be better than many. The transmission started showing the infamous Automatic Gear Fault and Safe Mode with a minimum cost to repair solenoids of $1200. Servicing appeared to remedy the faulting but eventually we had to take the $1200 hit as it started faulting incessantly. The works were either too late or did not address the underlying problem as the transmission has failed within 10 days of the solenoid replacement. We could have immediately acted on the service advice but it beggars belief that a transmission lasts only 90,000kms on a new car serviced by the dealer, driven locally on milk and child runs. No mention of transmission issues at purchase!

    Mark Bassett of Melbourne Posted on 22 January 2011 1:25pm
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