Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

All units are fairly lively and refined - even the diesels. 1.4 and 1.9D can be a bit breathless in upper gear, but the 1.6 (in 90 and 100bhp forms) and 1.8 offer good performance for only a small drop in economy. The lively 1.9 turbo-diesel is fun to drive, while the 2.0 HDi, offered towards the end of 306's life, offers up to 54.3 mpg - 11.5 mpg better than the 1.9.

The sports choice is the 2.0 in either 8v or 16v forms. Both are quick enough to satisfy enthusiastic drivers. GTi-6 was the first mainstream car with a six-speed gearbox and comes pretty close to real hot-hatch territory.

The 306 has a light chassis and offers a superb drive. There's an outstanding level of grip and good body control. Cornering is quite flat and the ride is smooth. Precise steering and effective brakes inspire confidence. A good drive and one that's not matched by the latter 307.