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My parents bought a 2003 model Peugeot 406 2.0 petrol saloon brand new and I was lucky enough to be among the first to drive it.
From the outside, the 406 saloon looks great, though the coupe definitely has a sportier look. It has a pair of large headlamps seperated by a plastic honeycomb grill (which I never liked btw). Ours came with default 15 inch alloy wheels and a boot spoiler.
In my opinion, the 406 saloon is among the best handling cars in it's class. The steering wheel is soft but secure and you have the impression of being in complete control of the automobile. The only downside to me is the increased pressure one has to apply before the horn blares. (I can't figure out why Peugeot made it so hard anyway). Acceleration off the line and the 2.0l petrol engine gives out of raw power. The best Ive been able to do is from 0-100km/h in about 9 seconds. The power of the engine is well appreciated whenever downshifts are required for quick get-aways and overtaking. Ours came with a 5-speed manual transmission, which is a delight to use as gear changes are easy with only minimal engagement of the clutch. The ride is smooth and the suspension absorbs uneven pavement with ease. Wind noise is very minimal though the deep hum of the engine is heard at high rpms. The centre console consists of well laid out controls for automatic digital climate control/air conditioning that are easily within reach. Our 406 has a control knob on the steering that allows you to change tracks, cds, volume, audio input, etc by just touching one of 4 buttons making it possible to control the audio without having to take your eyes off the road. The tachometer and other gauges are brightly illuminated and easily read. Our car came with automatic headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers and electrically folding mirrors. One the things I like best about this car is the audio. A 10 speaker JBL sound system gives out high quality sound from whichever input source.
Each window has lighted switches that remain illuminated for about 10 seconds or so after the car has been turned off. In addition, the window switches remain functional for at least a minute after the ignition has been switched off. This has come inhandy on several occasions.
Seats front are comfortable with adequate lumbar support. I'm over 6 feet tall but even after adjusting the driver's seat backwards, the rear passengers are still comfortable. The downside is that the front seats only have a manual control knob which you turn to tilt the seat forwards or backwards.The rear seats are truly meant for two adults as adding a third will result in cramping. Over the years the leather seat covers have started to fade too though I feel they should have endured their looks a bit longer.
The trunk is surprisingly large and in my opinion has enough space to take up most of the luggage of its passengers. (unless if you've got 5 kids and three dogs in which case I'd recommend you purchase the wagon instead).
Maintenance costs for our 406 have been minimal and quite affordable. The 2.0l petrol engine has good fuel economy. Sometimes i've been able to average over 40mpg on the highway and a little less within the city. The only problem that has been recurring has been the repeated wearing away of the cam belt. The Peugeot service garages I've visited for routine oil and filter changes over the years have been exceptional.
Overall, I think the 406 is a great car to buy for personal and/or family use.