Peugeot 406 Saloon 1999 - 2004

Peugeot 406 Saloon 1999 - 2004

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Fuel-efficient and powerful diesels
  • A good looking car that is suitable for everyday use

Cons:

  • Reliability issues with older cars

Overview

The 406 is a medium size family car that replaced the 405 in 1996. Like its predecessor, it shared a platform with an in-house competitor, a similar class Citroen car. The old 405 was built on a Citroen BX platform while the 406 took its base from the Citroen Xantia. Although Peugeot's suspension is not as sophisticated as that of the Xantia, the 406 has a good quality independent suspension featuring struts with compensating valves. Overall, the 406 has been a great success and is known as the car who was destined to win the European Car of the Year (to everyone's surprise, the Fiat Bravo snatched the prize by a couple of points).

Exterior and Interior

Compared to its predecessor and many of its competitors the 406 is aesthetically pleasing. It's a good looking car with modern proportions and high-quality interiors. Unlike the 405, which was designed by Pininfarina, the new sedan and estate was created by an in-house design team, and they've done a great job. Pininfarina, on this occasion, only received a commission to create a sports version. The Peugeot 406 coupe is a very special car. Not only designed, it was also built by the Italian design studio Pininfarina. With the utilitarian 406, the sports version shares only the platform and the top of the range 3.0-litre engine. Everything else, including the updated interior, was built by Italians. The interior is spacious and comfortable. There's nothing fancy in the interior design but the overall impression is tasteful and elegant. In 1999, the car received a slight face-lift that made the design even more inspiring.

Performance and Economy

You'll feel that any petrol engine that has less than 100bhp option is too weak for this car. Thus the 1.6-litre petrol engine is better avoided. Both the 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre units provide good dynamics and average around 34-36mpg. It is, however, the diesel engine, that makes this car so appealing in the used car market. The 2.0-litre HDI version gives the car 51mpg. A specially equipped 406 diesel car set the record for the longest trip on one full tank of fuel crossing Australia without a refill, an impressive feat, although not recommended in the normal diesel version.

Like to Drive

With smaller engines the car feels heavy and slow. Despite having an identical wheel base to the Volkswagen Passat and being 2 inches shorter than its German competitor, the 406 still manages to be a heavier car and it feels when being driven. If you like to drive a car that feels heavy and also want to keep the fuel bills to minimum, the 406 is a good choice. It has to be noted that unless you go for the Pininfarina Coupe, driving experience is rather average, although handling is precise and acceptable.

Faults and Repairs

The repair costs of the Peugeot 406 are low but the cars generally require regular attention. Failures occur in many parts, including engines. Old Peugeots receive a rather harsh critic concerning reliability. Things were soon improved and the engineers managed to solve the majority of the issues within a couple of years. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to avoid the 406s made before 1999. Doing so will also get you a face lifted version with a higher level of equipment. Make sure you explore the history of a used Peugeot 406, especially if it's a diesel. The 406 was a very popular taxi and business leasing car, which means that some of the cars have seen overloading and a lack of maintenance compared to the number of miles travelled. If you don't mind, ex-taxi 406s can be purchased for a ridiculously low price.