UK CAR 
Used car review
Peugeot 406 GLX 
HDi 110 Turbo Diesel

 Movie Clips of this Car

Exterior Movie Interior Movie

 

Ah the lovely 406 my favourite saloon of recent years in lightly updated, face lifted form. 
For me the original version was just about perfect. So lets see if they have tweaked the design to greater heights.

 

Well at least they did not completely ruin the lines. Though they do appear to have just squeezed and manipulated it a little. Most notable is the new front-end treatment, and its not too impressive grill, though its probably not as prone to dirt and easier to clean.

I really cannot make up my mind as to whether Peugeot have watered down the design a touch or time has just caught up with it. Without an older car to park by its side its difficult to see the changes, but whatever causes it the new car does not look quite as sharp as the original.

Inside nothing really strikes you as new. The 406 appears to have under gone a gentle tidy up and little else. A switch has changed position here and there, and the plastics seem a little lighter in shade, but its so close to the old design to be almost un-noticeable to the naked eye.

Not that I am really complaining. The old 406 was a conservative but good design. It was Hardly cutting edge but that was a small price to pay to avoid any strange oblique French queerness, which can be so off putting to more normal European tastes.

Its is starting to get quite old now though, and when the 406 is contrasted to the plethora of fresh new interior designs finding their way to market, the old Xantia derived effort is definitely aimed more toward the traditionalist.

 


GLX specification means a good level of equipment without being overwhelmed with dodgy toys and gadgets. 
Just plain basic quality stuff. Little extra trim items like the dark shiny plastic wood trim strip which looks okay but is not quite up to the standards of brush alloy or faux carbon, which would anyway look a little out of place in here. 
The adjustable velour seats with lumbar support are of decent quality and combined with height adjusting seatbelts and steering wheel allow a good range of positions. Pollen filters a basic Air-con and good heating keep the interior comfortable in all weathers, and the normal electric mirrors mean there is no need to invoke the electric windows.

 

The biggest real change is the HDI engine. PSA groups take on the common rail theme. It produces the same 90bhp as the 1.9 turbo Diesel or even 110 in mildly hotted form. 
Its difficult to compare like with like as the HDi runs an extra 100cc displacement, and its response is very different. It pulls from lower and has less obvious turbo take up. Which on first impressions ruins the fun factor of the surging turbo boost. Though longer term is less wearing as it is less fussy about gear selection. It also seems a trifle nosier than I recollected of the older motor. It may be that’s its not so much nosier as much as more guttural tractor sounding.

Still if the figures are anything to go off its between 8 and 10.5mpg more economical. Now whilst you can take Government figures with a large pinch of salt it does suggest major economy improvements have been made available.

My only worry is that it may have been made at the expense of some performance, as the new motor does not feel quite as nippy as the old item.

Perhaps the HDI 110 would put back some of the feeling of oomph and make the car a little more lively to drive. 

Oops it was the 110 
I have been informed.

The gearbox seems to have gone to a more secure stable, read slower model. The change feels solid but does not seem to have quite the slick speed of change of old. Perhaps it’s to encourage holding of high gear, using the torque and enhancing the fuel returns.

 

The real beauty of the 406 was its fantastic ride and handling balance. It combined a good ride with brilliantly sharp steering response to provide a really enjoyable ride, no matter which engine was under the bonnet. Every version I tried from 1.9 turbo Diesel to 2 litre turbo was really good fun to drive with terrific steering response for a front driving chassis.

Now I have to say that whilst the ride is still good the steering and handling do not seem quite as sharp. Not that it handles badly just that the steering seems to have been dulled down a little.

It’s still safe and stable and corners as well as ever but the steering does not seem as delicate and responsive as old. Perhaps it’s the extra 80kilos kerb weight the newer car in carrying that has taken the edge off the feeling.

It could be that the car is just getting old and testing newer cars has pushed it back down the field, or maybe Peugeot like many car makers are dumbing down there models just like GCSE exams.

I was hoping PSA would have sharpened the 406 up even further, I was disappointed.

 

 

All the buzzwords of safety and security get a mention on the spec sheet.

Child Locks, Deadlocks, Engine Immobiliser, Locking Fuel Cap, Remote Central Locking, Visible Identification Number, Front Twin Airbags, Side Impact Protection, Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts, Three Rear 3 Point Seat Belts, High level brake Light, Antilock Braking System, Height Adjustable Headlight Aim, Front fog lamps

Pretty much all you want save the Alarm really

But like most modern cars it does feel a little like your just ticking off the boxes. It has all the things you would expect, but only because it would be difficult to shift without them.

A few little extras like external temp gauge, and limited function computer make the mix but are of little real use and probably only need 50p worth of electronics to organise.

I personally used to like the ignition keyboard code lock and still think it would be a valid inclusion on most cars.

 

Passenger air bag is activated and de activated via the centre consul using the door key.  

 

 

The 406 really feels like its getting old now. Which is a real shame as it was a car with real flair and was a breath of fresh air amongst the massed ranks of mid range hatchbacks.

Being a saloon will still attract a few of you who really do not like hatchbacks, but it will alienate more. That’s a shame because most of the time the saloon layout is perfectly practical for many. There is plenty of room front and rear for passengers. Though lets be honest 4 is way more comfortable than the claimed 5.

Small French feet are still an advantage to the driver though as PSA persist with their close placement of the pedals.

 

It’s not a bad car by any means. In fact it’s still a solid reliable family performer. It’s just that time seems to march on ever quicker in the Auto world and today’s hot thing is tomorrows damp squib. With all car makers now going either gloriously retro or cutting edge weird it looks very dated and average without any real highlights that make it stand out from the crowd.

But if retro winds you up and cutting edge is just a little too weird the 406 represents a safe unassuming way to go. Its just a shame the chassis no longer seems to have the edge and flair to make it something special. For me I would have to try the 110 before making a choice. ED it was the 110!

 

Sample data Click here to access specifications for over 30,000 UK cars. 

Car information and car pictures.

Many more used car road tests. 

For all Peugeot cars specifications and data from:
www.ukcar.com click here.