A new design for the 309
Up until its launch in 1985 in continental Europe, the Peugeot 309 suffered from severe critics concerning its general design and its dashboard which is said to be quite oldish and not welcoming. Even though, UK car magazines don’t see it that way and see the car as a small Mercedes. But everyone agrees on the build quality and especially on the interior plastics which are of bad quality. The boot is also a very discussed issue, the boot sill being too high to load heavy items and thus not practical at all. All these critics were of great concern to Peugeot which intended to satisfy them. Peugeot decides to resolve them in 1988 and launches the Peugeot 309 mark 2 one year later, on June 1989.
The first decision was to concentrate on a great facelift and the car benefitted from an all new exterior design. A new three-line grille is fitted and the tail lamps have a shape resembling the rest of the Peugeot range.
The most obvious improvement was done at the rear. The tailgate is entirely new. It’s now a metal part which supports the glass (and not the contrary), tail lamps are red and smoked to resemble the ones of the Peugeot 405 and the boot sill is now lower in order for it to be more convenient to load heavy items. The all new tailgate is now one of the best of its category enabling Peugeot to talk up the new low boot sill which is only 677 millimeters compared to the competition which have higher boot sills: the Volkswagen Golf’s is 770mm high an the Renaut 19′s is 730mm.
The interior is also facelifted with an all new dashboard which build quality has been improved using better plastics than the previous one. The stalks are now identical to the ones of the Peugeot 20( and 405 in order to reduce production costs. A new steering wheel is fitted to all models apart from the GTI’s one which remains identical but is now made of a leather material.
All trims are new too with darker colours to reinforce build quality impression.
Exterior rear view mirrors remain identical but are now cable controlled to improve precision.
In continental Europe, the Peugeot 309 is now equipped with TU engines in most countries, replacing the old Simca E1 and G1 engines which are still used for the UK market until 1992.
The TU1 1124cc engine replaces the E1 1118cc Simca one and the TU3 1360cc engine replaces the G1 1294cc one, thus gaining some horsepower. TU engines are said to be more powerful as well as more reliable. They also consume less fuel.
XU engines with 1580 and 1905cc displacements receive the new BE3 manual gearbox and reverse is now aligned to the fifth gear.
With the exapansion of the diesel market, Peugeot reconsider its 309 range and can now offer prospective buyers a all new 1769cc turbo diesel engine developping 78hp.
Determined to be ahead of the competition, Peugeot took the decision to equip the 309 with the 1905cc 16-valve engine. Compared to the 1905cc 8-valve engine, Its power rises to 160 hp, allowing the 309 to reach a top speed of 140 mph. The Peugeot 309 GTI can now stay the most powerful and fastest in its class. Aesthetically, it differs very little from the 130 hp GTI: bumpers and body mouldings are black instead of red, upholstery features a Quartet Blue trim (not red), interior carpet is Electric Blue and the car is available in Miami Blue. The final version receives side repeaters (in France it’s the only model which has them) and for reasons of production cost, tail lights are identical to the rest of the range (it should have been completely smoked).
The car was unfortunately available in continental Europe only due to RHD conversion being too pricy and unpractical.
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