UK Car Road Test

Peugeot 307 XS 2002

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UK Car. Road Test Peugeot 307 2.0 16V XSi

Did this car replace the 306 or is it a 405 replacement in hatchback form?

Introduced in 2001, in 3 and 5 door versions initially with the coupe cabriolet and estate introduced later, the 307 is very popular, particularly in diesel format. 
The petrol versions generally have poor performance and are quite unexciting. At least in small bore format. 
This 2.0 16V should impress then, I  think.

The shape of this car reminds me of a Frenchwoman I once knew with its classy lines and sumptuous shape. Externally it is charming, oozing with elegance and with subtle colour contrasting. 

Well, that applies to the 307 in general but not this baked bean-coloured one. Who would buy this colour? Gross or groovy. What do you think? 

Colours can be linked to gender - females generally buying silver, for example, and men buying red. So who would buy this? And who would paint such an attractive car this hideous colour? 

The answer is - Peugeot would. 

Why? The only thing attracted to it would be a slice of toast. And that would have to be French toast. After a lot of Chablis.

Moving on from the first and rather large impression.

The interior is very sporty with sports half leather trimmed seating, leather coated sports steering wheel, chrome dials and aluminium fascia. All very attractive and inviting (to someone as young as myself that is.)  ye jest methinks, ED: 
It is not sumptuous and comfortable-looking; it is hard and practical in a Germanic way.

The interior cabin is very roomy with ample head height combined with good leg length front and rear. The rear seat is capable of occupying three adults of moderate size.

Matt black door trimming is classic and does not detract from the car's wonderful elegance. 
The side protection mouldings and sill sections are all colour keyed to the car which is in neat contrast with the very large silver alloys.

The 307 interior is very dark in colour co-ordination, but remains bright inside due to the enormous front windscreen and the size of the glazing in general. 
The front screen is actually angled with the dash being fed steroids before production. This kind of appearance is more common in people carriers than hatchbacks.

Dark orange 

Light orange


I can't resist -  see how great this car can really appear.



The XSi model is towards the most expensive in the 307 range and money spent does have its advantages with the features fitted. 
I can't say, however, that I am overly impressed with the usefulness and quality of the features.


A 12V accessory point is fitted near to the ash tray so it can be used in a multitude of ways. Useless then, in real terms as this car is not a camper van. 

The cup holders are too close to the handbrake. Again, useless. 
Not a lot of thought has gone into the ergonomics; can you imagine any kind of coffee cup fitting into it and allowing you to retrieve it? 
It may be great for the marketing brochures but reality is another issue.

Another feature which I found bemusing is the multi play CD. If VW can make a single slot 6 disc player, why can Peugeot only supply a stacker system taking up half of the console?


I may be appearing very negative at this point but you have to look at the picture above and somehow justify a compartment for the drivers spectacles. 
You now can receive points on your valuable drivers licence for using your mobile telephone whilst driving but this brings in another dimension. Imagine forgetting to put your specs on as you start the engine and then trying to remove them from the compartment with limited vision just because you can. Is this permissable by law or will you be nobbled for driving without due care and attention?

The air conditioning and ventilation is, in contrast, very useful, practically impossible not to understand and very efficient.

The automatic wipers are standard now on a lot of Peugeot cars and are operated by putting the wiper stalk in the Auto position. This is then controlled by a rain sensor on the inside of the windscreen. This all sounds very good but the sensor is quite low on the screen and somewhat impairs the drivers view which I found a little irritating. 
The reason it's so low is because the screen is so big that the wipers cannot reach high enough otherwise. The wipers also have a little quirk when you set the Auto on - every time you stop and restart the car, the wipers start working temporarily. 

The 307 is very popular in the UK; it competes with the Astra, Golf, Focus and a myriad other models. So far I am not convinced it should be as popular as it is.


The engine is a 16V double camshaft, sixteen valve, four cylinder, transversely mounted unit complete with Bosch fuel injection and control modules.
It drives the front wheels through a five speed transmission. The bhp is 139 and average in today's hot hatch market.

Turn the key and the starter motor cranks the engine noisily, creating an obtrusive metallic sound. 
Once started the engine idles with ease and is reasonably well insulated from the car's cabin. 

The clutch is very light to operate and the gear selection is easy and not too complicated, maybe a little notchy in typical Pug fashion but very acceptable. 
The gear ratios are close and request that the engine breathes considerably to perform impressively. Good for keeping on the boil when  putting the hammer down, but a little tiring day to day.

Around the city the XSi is well mannered and easy to drive; the gear selection and engine power is ample for the red-light-to-red-light-day-to-day commuting. 
This car is, however, supposed to be a relatively high performer and should offer much more.

So, onto the faster dual carriageways and then the motorway. 
The engine provides a maximum 127mph and quotes a 0-60 in 9.8. I must add that it is very hard work to achieve this as the car is nippy but not quick. 
When you depress the accelerator and get the revs above 4,500 or so, the engine wakes up and hastily rushes to work. But up to that point, it is less impressive than it's diesel counterpart which offers much more torque and response for the same accelerator depression. Which is OK overall though not as fast but nontheless entertaining and far easier to drive.

Clean and modern

Even stylish

So what is the advantage of this petrol 2.0 over the HDi? Yes, it's quicker but takes a lot of driver effort and fuel to achieve this.
I do like driving and very much enjoy the rush and surge of power when driving fast. 
I do not enjoy this car though, as it's very noisy when driven hard and in no way close to the expectations I had before driving it. 
The diesel car will out-perform the 2.0 in many instances. Most of us don't want to rev the proverbials off our cars to get any kind of performance.
If I do drive a car so hard I would expect rather more than this car offers.



The 307 has independent suspension with struts front and rear on all models. 
The XSi is uprated to cope with its power output and enhance its overall handling. The tyres are particularly large, giving lots of unnecessary extra grip which is most efficient in dry conditions but very detrimental in the wet or on ice or snow. The car's body weight is not enough to apply any great downward forces, or warm the tyres most of the time and so the car is liable to slip and slide under adverse conditions.
Oh, and wait till you have to replace them! The cost is about the same as Africa's national debt.

Throw this car into a sharp corner at speed and you can easily encourage it to lift it's rear wheel as the rear anti roll bar is very torquey and tight. 
The general road holding and steering is very hard and positive. 
I do like cars with such hard suspension but, again, this is not the little beauty it appears to be.
The whole car irritatingly rattles over uneven surfaces. Front wishbone drop links are very common on the Peugeot range and of poor quality and this 307 is no exception. 
I know they are not expensive to buy, I question why this car, with a mere 20,000 miles, rattled more than a 1970 baby's pram with cheap coloured plastic ducks attached.
The rear shock absorber mounts are also dubious. 
This one, again, with only 20,000 miles had more bangs on the ear than the Waterboys as every bump in the road echoed through the car. 
Of course, Peugeot declined to replace the parts involved under warranty which is in very bad taste as most of the 307 cars I have driven have the very same fault. 
If the 307 is manufactured and supplied with such poor quality parts, Peugeot should be responsible for the warranty claims without insisting it is the driver who has caused the failure.
It does not take a rally driving taxi driver to wear out the suspension on these cars. Normal mundane driving tasks will do it with easy aplomb.


In essence, the road holding is very good as the car handles equally as well as lots of others but I do get the impression that it is physically falling apart whilst you are driving. 
This should not be the case with modern cars and there can be no excuse from Peugeot. A better parts policy would greatly enhance the drive factor. I accept that more expensive parts would not improve overall stability but they would bring the engineering up to an acceptable level where it should be.

Car safety is now comparable. We have NCAP and other informative ways of testing a car's safety values. The 307 does well on paper which obviously translates that it's looking after it's unfortunate occupants in the event of a collision.

This airbag can go to market...

this ugly one should go home

Impact door beams, air bags, safety cells, anti submarine seating and other technical wizardry are very effective.
The body shell itself has crumple zones intended to absorb a huge quantity of impact which all sounds great and indeed it is. Over the years as cars are getting faster, the engineers are getting better at preserving the inner space around the shell. I am, however, no rocket scientist and therefore ask why the front wings are made of flimsy plastic? Push one lightly with a single finger and watch it bend. Surely a traditional steel one would add to the strength or am I wrong?

As with many cars the passenger side can be deactivated by simply adjusting the switch. This  is particularly useful for protecting small children in baby seats. Am I not alone in thinking that small children are safer in the back and if a safety device is fitted it should be utilised at all times?
The fuel computer also has an outside temperature gauge fitted to alert the most stupid driver that it's freezing outside and you are likely to skid.

In general, this car in particular is in an awful colour and has many suspension defects for such a small mileage. I would certainly not consider buying one and could not recommend one to anyone but the tax man. 

Even the indicator stalk failed during my use. Peugeot, however, accepted that this is a defect that they are covering for some unknown reason and they fixed it for free. But they still stood their ground that the suspension defects would have to be paid for. At a cost so great it was almost twice as much as an independent garage would rob you for.

Anyway, back to the car - the luggage space is very capacious and the fuel capacity is large, allowing you to take it to its home city of Paris whenever the urge takes you.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that most of the 307 cars I have used have a problem with the carpet (which attaches to the sill) coming adrift which is most annoying and there is no resolution. Well, there is but that would be up to Peugeot in the first instance to make it in a better manner with better materials that actually fit.

Plus points for this car are its road holding and interior seating quality, along with 20,000 miles servicing.

Minus points are the build quality and drive. I hate to admit it but I prefer the high powered diesel than this frantic revving petrol.

UK Car. Road Test Peugeot 307 XSi


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UK Car Road Test Peugeot 307 XS 2002

UK Car Road Test Keywords: Hatchback307 XS