Welcome to the International Peugeot 309 Owners Club!

  • Sponsors

  • Sponsors

perfect buyers guide for the 309 all models included(useful)

Changed your clutch, removed the engine? Let us know the pitfalls and what to watch out for

perfect buyers guide for the 309 all models included(useful)

Postby -goodwood gti- » Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:51 pm

Buying Guide Peugeot 309

309 GTi Buyers Guide
(and other sporty 309 types)


The Peugeot 309 was introduced to the UK in February 1986 as a replacement for the 305. It was mostly built at Peugeot's Ryton plant in Coventry, partly in the hope of making inroads into the British fleet car market. The styling was not to everyone's taste, and build quality was a bit flimsy, but the 309 was mechanically sound and a practical car to own, making it reasonably popular with private buyers. The 309's most outstanding feature was it's handling balance, which put it head and shoulders above the other cars in it's class at the time.

If you want to know if your car is a French or British built car, the easy way to check is by the first 3 characters of the chassis number. Ryton built cars start SDB, and French cars start VF3.

It was initially available with 3 petrol engine options, and in 3 or 5 door hatchback form. A diesel version, using Peugeot's excellent 1.9 engine was added to the range in September 1986. The line up was completed in April 1987, with the launch of the 1.9 GTI version which had the performance to match it's acclaimed handling. A 160bhp 16v GTI was available in France, using the same engine as the Citroen BX 16 valve, but, sadly, it wasn't imported to the UK.


1118cc Petrol

1986 to 1989
4sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
90 mph, 18 secs 0-60
37-45 mpg
GE in 5dr form
XE in 3dr form
1124cc Petrol

1991 to 1992
5sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
90 mph, 17 secs 0-60
37-45 mpg
Only available as a "Style" in either 3dr or 5dr form.
1294cc Petrol

1986 to 1991
5sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
95 mph, 15 secs 0-60
38-46 mpg
XE, XL or Style in 3dr form
GE, GL, GLX, GR or Style in 5dr form
1360cc Petrol

1991 to 1993
5sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
100 mph, 14 secs 0-60
38-45 mpg
Style or Zest models in 3dr form
GL, GLX, Style or Zest models in 5dr form
Fuel injection versions available (all with catalysts)
1580cc Petrol

1986 to 1993
79bhp (up to Aug 88), 80bhp (Aug 88 on), 115bhp (XSi, SRi & GRi)
5sp manual or 4sp automatic gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
120 mph, 9.5 secs 0-60 (XSi)
105 mph, 12.5 secs 0-60 (carb models)
35-40 mpg
XL Auto or XSi in 3dr form
GL, GLX, GR, SR, SRi and GRi in 5dr form
1905cc Petrol

1987 to 1992
130bhp, or 122bhp with catalyst.
5sp manual, Front Wheel Drive.
125 mph, 8.0secs 0-60
GTi model only, in 3dr or 5dr form
Goodwood GTi special edition available from 1991, with metallic green paint, leather, CD autochanger, remote opening rear quarter lights and option of wood steering wheel and gear knob (much sought after).
1769cc Turbo Diesel

1989 to 1993
5sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
105 mph, 13 secs 0-60
44-53 mpg
GRDT, GLDT or GLXDT in 5dr form only
1905cc Diesel

1987 to 1993
5sp gearbox, Front Wheel Drive
100 mph, 15 secs 0-60
45-55 mpg
XLD in 3dr form
GLD, GRD, Style or Trio in 5dr form only

Things to look out for


Far be it from me to suggest that the British build had anything to do with it (and I have it on good authority that the French built 309's were even worse), but 309's seem to me to attract rust more than, for instance, 205's, so check areas like the sills, wheelarches, front subframe mounting points, the lip of the boot and the boot floor for rust. Check for signs of leakage into the boot, most were caused by faulty seals around the tail lights. Peugeot did manufacture a kit to rectify this, but they obviously assume all the affected cars were either cured or have rotted away, as the kit is no longer available as far as we know. Water that leaks into the boot runs forward and sits in the wells beneath the rear seats, which become soggy as a result. Badly stained rear seats can be a good indicator of a leak.

Check carefully for signs of accident damage, particularly on GTi's. Also on GTi's, look out for signs of it having been stolen/recovered - One key should work the doors, hatch and ignition.

The rear window plays a significant part in maintaining the structural rigidity of the car, and can occasionally break, so have a good look for signs of cracking. Check that the rear hatch is aligned correctly, if not it can gradually wear the paint off one the rear wings as it rubs against it. Also on the subject of the rear hatch, check that the heating element connector is sound and intact, they frequently get yanked off and then bodged back together. If it's been glued, chances are it won't work, but if it's been soldered, you may well find that the glass goes bang fairly soon (if it hasn't already during the soldering).

It may be useful to know that we think that 205 and 309 doors are interchangeable if you are looking for a scrapyard replacement for a bashed item.


Petrol models tend to get a bit smoky and noisy with age and the 1.9 engine went through a period during which sub-standard valve seals were fitted (between 1989 and 1991). Affected engines can suffer from excessive oil consumption in later life , but there are no real problems otherwise. Cambelts on petrol engines need replacing at 48,000m intervals. With 5,000m oil changes and 50,000m cambelt changes, the diesels will go on for ever. The 1.3 was the old Horizon engine, famed for its rattly tappets - they will simply need adjusting, so should not be a worry (and you could talk the price down too...).


As with the 205, the gear linkage (made of bits of coathanger and little ball joints) will not take too much heavy use. Early gearboxes are fragile, and very early (early 86 only) gearboxes need to use multigrade engine oil, not gear oil, or they quickly get ruined - this is a common mistake made by garages. Clutches on diesels should last 150,000m.

Steering & Suspension:

Clunks and rattles from the rear end when going over bumps and potholes usually mean that the damper bushes or the rear subframe mountings are worn, replacement of the rear subframe mounts is not a cheap job and will not leave much change out of £400 at a dealer. Noises from the front suspension are usually caused by the bushes for the anti-roll bar drop links to the front struts being in need of replacement, but this is not too difficult a job.

On models with power steering, check for whining noises on full lock, which would indicate a tired power steering pump.


No problems in general, but check for judder on GTi's which would suggest warped front discs. The rear calipers on GTi's are prone to seizure, if this is happening it will be obvious from the state of the rear discs themselves. Be careful when ordering replacement parts, as a number of different manufacturers of brake components were used.


The airflow meter on injection models can cause problems, it is a flap-type potentiometer and the tracks can wear and the flap can stick, this can lead to hesitant pickup, incorrect fuelling and a rough idle. Distributor wear on the GTi can lead to a lumpy (or should that be lumpier?) idle or even stalling and cold starting can be a problem. On models with central locking, check that it works on all the doors (and the hatch).

Check that the extra lights fitted to the front valance of GTi's (2 fogs and 2 spots) are working, as they are expensive to replace and the contacts tend to rust away due to exposure to the elements.

The heater control illumination lights in the dashboard are difficult to replace as a lot of the dashboard has to be removed first, so this can prove to be an expensive little job.

Cooling System:

Check that the thermostatic fan comes on when the temperature goes up, and that the heater works efficiently.

Wheels & Tyres:

Check the tyres for uneven wear and signs of tracking problems. The alloys on the GTi are prone to damage from "kerbing" if the wrong sort of tyres are fitted; the proper tyres have a ridge on the sidewall which helps to stop this from happening.


The Peugeot 309 is now reaching bargain basement level, with sound, early cars being available for just a few hundred pounds. Decent 1989/90 GTI's go for between £1,500 and £3,000, and the popular diesels will fetch up to £3,500 for a 1993 model.

Best Buys

Five door models are better buys, offering greater practicality than the three door models, for a premium of only around £50. The 1.6 injection cars (pre catalyst) offer the best all round package, with surprisingly good performance, good economy and low insurance grouping. Post facelift models (Oct 1989 on) are worth a bit more as the build quality was much improved. Diesels hold their value better than the petrol models, so, even though you have to pay a bit more for a low-spec diesel, than you would for a fully loaded GTI of equivalent age & mileage, you won't lose out when it comes to selling it on. The GTI's will achieve classic status in the years to come, so don't be afraid of buying a decent one to keep for a long while.


1.1 models are a bit gutless and generally less economical than the 1.3, in fact, moving up a step the 1.6 is hardly any thirstier than the 1.3. The XE and GE spec models are almost worthless. Beige (Panama Beige to give it it's full title) used to be a popular colour - it isn't any more however, and some of the "Limited Editions" are distinctly tacky. Don't buy a diesel without a full history.
-goodwood gti-
Senior Member
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: nottingham.

Re: perfect buyers guide for the 309 all models included(useful)

Postby robertt » Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:37 pm

Isn't this article from 309 Central?
| 1993 Goodwood - undergoing restoration |

Past Masters:
| 1994 Goodwood | 1988 205 1.6 GTI white |
User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2006 4:46 am
Location: Wilmslow, Cheshire

Return to Dummies Guide to....

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests