Used car tests

Peugeot 307

The Peugeot 307 arrived in a blaze of publicity six years ago. Its spacious interior, massive choice of engines, strong dynamics and good safety rating made it a hit with new car buyers. However, with its all-new replacement, the 308, arriving in dealers this September, how does it rate for second-hand buyers?

With a huge variety of trim levels and bodystyles, there’s a 307 for virtually every occasion, ranging from a practical SW estate to the fashion-conscious coupé-cabrio. However, the 307 isn’t without its problems, so if you’re in the market for one, our guide will help avoid the major pitfalls.

What to look for Electrical problems are the 307’s Achilles’ heel. However, choose one of the facelifted cars built after September 2005 and you’ll find that the revised wiring loom makes for much better reliability. The 307 has also been the subject of an unusually high number of recalls. Many affect only a handful of cars, but you need to ensure any potential purchase has been sorted.

Alternatives? THe compact family hatch sector is packed with talented rivals. The latest Honda Civic or its practical predecessor provide stiff competition. Alterna­tively, the Toyota Corolla is unfalteringly reliable, although it’s dull to drive and to look at.

If you want something that offers entertainment on a twisty road, you should consider either the Volks­wagen Golf, Ford Focus or Mazda 3. Of this trio, the Ford is our choice, because there are plenty available, it’s dynamically superb, is reliable and cheap to buy and run.

How much? There are 307s available for well under £3,000, but they’re all high-mileage and low spec. Reasonable 1.4-litre petrol cars start at £3,200 privately, while an equivalent 2.0 HDi carries a £250 premium. Facelifted examples start at £6,500 for a 1.4 S, while diesels begin at £8,000 for a 1.6 HDi. The 307 SW is a great load-lugger and £9,500 nets you an 05-reg 1.6 HDi, while £800 less gets a 1.6-litre petrol. If it’s drop-top motoring you want, the 307 CC starts at £9,500 for an 03-plate 2.0-litre, but add £4,000 to secure an 05-plate diesel edition.

Running costs Petrol 307s need attention every 20,000 miles or two years, with services alternating between minor (£155) and major (£340). On pre-December 2006 cars, new cambelts are required every 80,000 miles or 10 years – later models can cover 100,000 miles (typically £340). Diesels need attention every two years or 12,000 miles for 1.4 and 1.6-litre units, or 20,000 miles for 2.0-litre and post-December 2005 1.4s. The schedule runs minor, minor, major, with costs of £155 or £360 respectively. Cambelts are required every 10 years on diesels, or at 144,000 miles for 1.4 and 1.6-litre cars and 96,000 miles for the 2.0 HDi. Post-December 2005 engines last 160,000 miles, but expect to pay £400 for the work.

Reader review Lyn Jennings from Southampton has owned her 03-reg 1.6-litre auto since it was six months old. Despite many problems, she’d consider buying another: “The brakes are poor, engine rough and the auto is jerky and saps performance. Forward visibility isn’t great, and I’ve lost track of all the electrical glitches, some of which still aren’t resolved. However, it’s spacious, comfortable and well equipped. But I’d only buy another if it didn’t have the reliability issues that mine has.”


With more than 200,000 sold since its UK launch, there are plenty of 307s to choose from. However, a ranking of 91st out of 100 in this year’s Driver Power survey proves there are plenty of owner­ship issues, including a range of potential mechanical and electrical glitches. Buy a facelifted car and you’re less likely to have a problem – but no matter what you purchase, check its history very carefully.

Extra Info

RecallsApr 02: Ignition switch fire risk on cars built up to Oct 01.Aug 02: Potential front shock absorber problems on 307s assembled during Aug 01.Nov 02: Incorrect brake fluid used on cars made in Aug 02.Dec 02: Front brake pipe may chafe on anti-roll bar on cars built in May 02.Jan 03: Risk that auto models built Aug 02 can be started with selector in any position.Sept 03: Possibility of cuts in tyres of cars made Aug 03.May 04: Chassis members may not be welded correctly on SWs built Feb 04.Jun 04: Some cars produced without a rear seat anchorage strengthener in Jun 03.Jul 04: Failure of throttle stop could lead to a reduction in braking assistance on 307s built Oct 01-Jun 03.Jul 04: Lower axle swivel joint may not be tightened correctly on cars made Mar-Jun 04.Sept 04: Exhaust recirculation valve bracket may break on cars made Nov 01-Oct 03.Apr 05: Possible seepage on the fuel return pipe of HDi cars made between Jul and Dec 04.May 05: Excessive oscillation of throttle valve affects CCs made Oct 03-Jan 05Jul 05: Risk of fire in engine bay of cars made up to May 03.Nov 05: Corrosion of electrical connections could cause short circuit on cars built up to Sept 05.Dec 05: Brakes may fail on cars produced Sept-Oct 05.Feb 06: Fuel may leak on cars built Jun 01-Oct 02.Jun 06: Rear axle fixing bolts may become loose on 2.0-litre petrol cars; Peugeot is unsure how many vehicles are affected.

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