Peugeot 406 (1996-)

2 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Peugeot 406 (1996-)
Peugeot 406

John Wright

A long-haul Gaul that’s agile, with style


When it arrived here in the spring of 1996, the Peugeot 406 was a rakishly elegant newcomer that made rivals look dated. In typical Peugeot fashion, the shape was created to last for more than a handful of years. So far, so good.

For buyers keen on a used European car with plenty of style, the 406 is near the top of the list.

Regarded in Europe as a mainstream family sedan, the 406 is in the same class as a Vectra or Mondeo. In Australia, the Peugeot badge commands a somewhat higher price #8211; when the V6 version of Ford’s Mondeo arrived here, it was cheaper than the four-cylinder 406ST.

You wouldn’t choose an ST if lively acceleration were high among your priorities. Even the five-speed manual edition a little more than 11 seconds to proceed #8211; sprint seems too energetic a word #8211; to 100kmh and the standing 400 metres requires 17.7 seconds.

Automatic transmission (a $2500 option when new) makes the acceleration even more lethargic.

The ride quality, for a contemporary car, is pliant and absorbent. French cars customarily attain their excellent ride through soft, long-travel suspension, bringing with it plenty of body roll #8211; the 406 is altogether tauter and more agile.

Some rivals have a quicker steering ratio and a tighter turning circle but at least the 406 preserves that characteristic Peugeot feel with solid weighting and the sense of the steering wheel as a precision instrument. Braking is beyond reproach.

Fuel economy is slightly better than the class average #8211; expect to use less than 10 litres/100km in a mix of urban and highway driving.

In summary, the car drives very well but deserves significantly more power.

Comfort is excellent and the interior uses smart materials. There is generous room for four and the rear seat has a split-fold facility as well as a ski-port, meaning this is one sedan you can buy without wondering whether you should have chosen a hatchback instead.

Variants include the V6 SV (from October 1997) and the strikingly beautiful V6-powered coupe. If you want a wagon, your choice is between turbo diesel four-cylinder and SV.


What to look for

Peugeot 406


NRMA Technical Advice reports recalls for a fuel hose leaking in the engine bay and the engine management solenoid taking in water.

How much?

A ’96 ST sedan with 100,000km is $24,000 and a ’99 with 65,000km is $30,000. The SV starts at $34,000 and a ’01 wagon nudges $47,500. Diesel prices match STs.


The others

The Citroen Xantia, Audi A4, Saab 9-3 and Volvo S40 are not up to the 406’s standard. A 98-99 Xantia turbo, at just under $30,000, is good value. For the same price, an A4 1.8 will be 12-18 months older.

Buyer aware: This information is intended as a guide only. An NRMA inspection is a good precaution (phone 131 122). NRMA Technical Advice is on 1300 655 443 or see

REVS (9633 6333) can ensure the vehicle has clear title.

Prices and details correct at publication date.

Peugeot 406
Peugeot 406
Peugeot 406
Peugeot 406
Peugeot 406

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