Car reviews - Peugeot - 405 - 4-dr sedan
Timeless styling, compact dimensions, great handling
Room for improvement
Durability not up to old Peugeot standards parts and servicing can be expensive
25 Jun 2003
PEUGEOT, together with Daimler Benz and Renault, is one of the three pioneering companies of the automotive industry still in operation today.
The Peugeot family started in hardware manufacture, progressed to making bicycles in 1895 and a steam propelled car in 1899. Soon after, the company adopted Daimler's internal combustion engine.
Peugeot established itself in the Australian market when Ken Tubman drove a 203 model to victory in the first Redex Round Australia Trial in 1953.
The company has always made innovative, strong and long lasting cars, ranging from the 203 to the 403, 404, 504 and 505, all of which have enjoyed an excellent reputation in this country. Peugeot still makes quality bicycles and a nice line in prestige pepper grinders.
The 405 model was the successor to the popular 505 model range which went out of production here in the late 1980s and won the European Car of the Year for 1988. It adopted the modern front-wheel drive layout which allowed it to offer the same interior space in a smaller overall body size.
Standard features of the 405 sedan include air-conditioning, alloy wheels, power steering and a radio/cassette player.
Model variations include a station wagon version and a sporty sedan, the Mi16, with a twin cam, 16-valve engine, anti-lock brakes and attractive body styling features which make it a very desirable unit for those in the performance market. A turbo-diesel model was introduced in 1993.
The engine is a 1905cc, OHC all-alloy, fuel-injected unit giving 80kW and 163Nm of torque. It is mounted transversely in the frame and drives the front wheels through a four-speed automatic ZF transmission or five-speed manual box of Peugeot manufacture.
The all independent suspension is by inverted MacPherson struts, lower wishbones and anti-roll bar at the front, and trailing arms with transverse torsion bars and angled shock absorbers.
Steering is power-assisted rack and pinion with the steering wheel adjustable for height.
Ride, in the French manner, is soft but beautifully controlled and the power-assisted steering is very responsive and accurate.
The brakes, which follow the Peugeot tradition for superb performance, are ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear, with power assistance and a load sensitive proportioning valve. The Mi16 has ABS standard.
There are a number of innovative construction features on the 405 including the totally integrated reinforced polyester composite front panel, which is a single unit carrying the radiator, headlamps and electrical components, assembled off-line and then fitted to the body unit as one piece on the production line.
Concealed roof gutters and bonded front and rear screens give excellent aerodynamic efficiency while the body carries a six-year anti-corrosion guarantee.
The interior of the 405 has ample room for five people. Front seats have cloth trim and good lumbar support, instrumentation is comprehensive and easy to read and the Peugeot Lion is proudly featured in the centre of the two-spoke steering wheel.
The Peugeot 405 continues the proud heritage of reliability, ruggedness and refinement which has made Peugeot a long-lived favourite in this country. Smartly styled by the Italian designer Pininfarina, it is a combination of French chic, performance and practicality which offers excellent value in its class.
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