Car reviews - Peugeot - 505 - 4-dr wagon
Space, safety, longevity, comfort, toughness, styling
Room for improvement
Tardy and thirsty engines no V6 option offered
25 Jun 2003
IF ever a station wagon could be labelled a workhorse, it is the Peugeot 505. Extremely strong and designed to carry eight people, it is the ultimate in practical family wagons.
Intended to convey the average French Catholic (read large) family over roads in many cases similar to our own, it has a ruggedness and style that suits Australian conditions.
Since winning the first Redex Round Australia Reliability Trial with a 203 model in 1953, Peugeot has built a reputation for solid cars suited to this country.
The 403, 404 and 504 models consolidated the base with many rally wins, good resale value and long life. The 505 continued the trend.
Introduced in 1980, the 505 was for a short time assembled in Australia and then fully imported.
The family wagon was released in 1983 and started selling steadily to those buyers requiring accommodation for more than five and yet not prepared to buy one of the crude "people-movers" of the time.
The latest of the 505 wagon series is the family wagon, introduced in 1990.
It has an alloy single overhead cam, 2.2-litre, fuel-injected engine driving the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission and the traditional Peugeot design torque tube which joins the gearbox solidly to the differential.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts and coil springs at the front and solid axle with coil springs and panhard rod at the rear.
Brakes are discs at the front and drums at the rear, power- assisted with load sensitive rear proportioning valve.
The wagon has three rows of seats and can accommodate up to eight people.
A feature of the vehicle is its versatility with a seating capacity of two, three, four, five and eight people and a load capacity ranging from 0.6 cubic metres to 1.94 cubic metres. The two rows of rear seats can be folded in different ways to achieve the variations in space. Total load carrying capacity is 590kg.
A feature of the Peugeot is the strength of the chassis and underbody. With forged front cross member and suspension links and rigid body structure, twin side impact beams and integral rollover cage, it has plenty of primary safety.
Inside, the velour seats are comfortable in the traditional French manner, the front seats being heated and with lumbar adjustment.
Interior appointments include matching door trim inserts, comprehensive instrumentation and heated and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors.
Heater and ventilation controls are unusual but clearly labelled with cool air available on the face with heat to the feet - a Peugeot standard feature.
Air-conditioning/climate control is standard. Headlights are height adjustable by a twist knob in the cabin. Power windows, central locking and radio/cassette are standard.
Ride comfort is always a feature of French cars and the 505 rides and handles well due to supple springing and long wheel travel.
The engine gives adequate power although with a full load and auto transmission the wagon's acceleration is hardly neck snapping.
The brakes are powerful and fade free and the power-assisted rack and pinion steering is precise with good road feel.
For people with a large family, fuel economy is important and the 505 should return about 12.0L/100km in city driving, falling to 9.5L/100km on the highway. The fuel tank holds 70 litres.
The Peugeot 505 wagon is the ideal family vehicle for those looking for strength, reliability, versatility and European ride comfort and handling.
The later purpose-designed people-movers have made up ground in terms of safety and equipment but the Peugeot has the record on the board.
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