Skip to main content

Posthumus Review: 1990 Peugeot 405 Mi16

Everyone's first car has a special place in their heart, and for those of us with a passion for cars this effect is amplified. This was mine: a 1990 Peugeot 405 Mi16. I was with great restraint that had I held off buying my first car for nearly six months after I'd passed my license test, although finances (or more accurately, lack thereof) also played a substantial part. Having just scraped together just enough money for a car that might be worth owning, I trawled online car advertisements for weeks looking for the right vehicle. My list of criteria was short (ABS, somewhat economical to run, a touch of class) although armed with limited resources, this substantially limited my choices, especially given that I refused to own a family sedan of the Australian-built variety. Before buying the Peugeot I had test-driven five cars, all Saabs. Two GM 900s and three 9000s. The better of the two 900s I had bid for on ebay, but it sold above my budget, while the best of the 9000s made me desperately wish I had an extra thousand dollars at my disposal. All the rest were pretty much rubbish. So, when I this 405 Mi16 came on the market I was hoping to find better value within its French sheet-metal. I had a soft spot for Peugeots, and I had been reliably informed that the Mi16 was the only first-gen 405 worth owning.

Getting behind the wheel for the first time for a test drive, it was love at first steer. The amount of pleasure I was experiencing from the car's direct, flat steering could only be described by the massive grin on my face. At that moment, I knew I had to own that car. Some negotiations followed to squeeze it into my budget, and I returned home with that grin still firmly plastered to my face.
The car's taut suspension set-up, competent chassis and slim weight (at least by today's standards) were its best qualities, although its 1.9L twin-cam fuel injected engine came in a close second for fun factor (although not outright power). Happily revving all the way to its 7500rpm redline, any harshness expected from a four-cylinder was muffled by throbs of French emotion that the engine liberally ejected. I wasn't particularly quick, but thanks to its engine it felt fast and was an awful lot of fun to get up to speed.
Sadly, my French love-affair ended after just five short months when my inexperienced hands took a u-turn too fast and ended up planting the Peugeot's front end into a rendered brick fence. Fixing it would've cost twice the car's value, and so its life ended there. I sold what remained to a Peugeot 205 owner who wanted it for its engine.
In those five short months, admittedly the 405 had been far from an owner's dream. Less than a week after taking possession, the check engine light started coming on intermittently fixed only by an expensive trip to a Peugeot dealer and a new knock sensor. If stalled, the engine required a fifteen minute time-out before starting again. Coupled with a clutch that seemed to vary its take-up position depending on temperature, this once left me stranded at traffic lights at a busy intersection during evening peak-hour. The day I crashed, I had only just picked it up from spending three weeks at the mechanic while a mysterious intermittent fault with the car's cooling fan was laboriously investigated.
And yet, despite all of its shortcomings, I can't help but remember this car fondly. I'm sure part of that is a result of how much of an involving drive it was compared to my next set of wheels (a Saab 9000CS), but more on that some other time. 


Popular posts from this blog

Car Lust: Audi A1 Sportback

It has been quite a while since I last posted anything here. To be precise (I do like to be), it has been exactly 284 days since my last post.  Since then many things have kept me from posting, and with every week that passes it has only become harder to give any attention to HaveCar WillDrive. But this week I have come down with such a terrible bout of car lust that I couldn't help but share it here. Yes, I am lusting badly for an Audi A1 Sportback. You may be asking yourself "what could be so exciting about a tarted-up overpriced Volkswagen Polo?" At first glance you may have a point, but let me explain.

Review: 2003 Mazda 6 Luxury

If you are looking for an unbiased review on a used family car, I suggest that you leave this page immediately. For this is a review of a car that is quite close to my heart, my dad's 2003 Mazda 6 Luxury sedan. This is the first car I ever drove, and the a car I regularly borrowed when I had just passed my license test. Even once I've had my own car, I have borrowed the Mazda on multiple occasions, either for holidays not suitable for my then current transportation or just because I wanted a spin in my first automotive love. I've been thinking about writing this review for quite some time, but I was waiting for the timing to be right. Having recently spent a whole week driving this car according to my usual routine, reminding me all of the car's joys and shortfalls alike it feels like that right time is now.

Car Lust: Renault Megane R.S. 250 Monaco GP LE

As it happens, I have quite a soft spot for hot hatches. This might suprise you, as my usual purist aproach to performance would require the engine's power to be driven through the rear wheels, and this is a class of vehicles dominated by front-drivers (as well as some all-wheel-drive cars too). However, having spent a considerable amount of time enjoying driving front-wheel-drive cars, including on some quite challenging roads, the idea of simply focussing such a vehicle for better performance is quite appealing. Of the front-drive hot hatches available in Australia today the RenaultSport Magane was aleady a top pick, so this week's announcement that we will soon receive 50 examples of the Renault Megane R.S. 250 Monaco Grand Prix Limited Edition was more than welcome.