How do ZXs & Pug 306s compare?

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alan s
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How do ZXs & Pug 306s compare?

Post by alan s »

I'm not trying to trigger a riot but I am curious about what if any differences there are between a ZX Cit and a 306 Pug.
The reason I ask is that I have often seen it stated that the ZX is an extremely exciting and reliable car and living as I do in Australia, we were never given a chance to see for ourselves. We do however have a lot of 306s due to them being sold here whilst the ZX wasn't, yet a quick look down any used car list will show more 306s than the rest of the other models combined and being on other boards where Pugs also feature, I am somewhat appalled at the kind of money some of these guys reckon they have spent on service & repairs to these cars.
Are there variances in models, quality control of exports or is it just a case of owners being ripped off by repairers?
I've also noticed here that very few 306s seem to attract the DIY type of owner.......did I just answer my own question with that statement??
Alan S


Post by Jon »

Ah, controversy corner has opened again for business.
Well Alan, the ZX range was introduced in 1991 with the promise of better build quality than previous Citroen efforts, and some neat innovation (for that time) such as passive rear steering achived by use of flexible rear subframe mounts, and a radio that was designed not to fit into other cars in case it was stolen. The usual suspects appeared in the form of the 1.4 TU engine, and the 1.6 and 1.9 XU petrols, plus our old friend the 1.9D. The car got very good press at the time, and in fact Car magazine voted the ZX 1.4 "The best car in the Real World" due to its economy, tidy handling and accomodation.
Various other models appeared such as the 1.9TD, the 2.0 16v, a 1.8 8v, the 1.9i was replaced by a 2.0 8v, and then there was an estate version too.
In 1993, the Pug 306 was launched. It is almost pure ZX apart from the bodyshell, and used the ZX floorpans, rear suspension, front arms, engines, gearboxes and all such major mechanical componants.
The interior and dash were of course completely different to the ZX, and the exterior styling was spot on, which soon meant that sales were brisk, and have sustained until last year.
The general trade and public had no idea that the 306 had so much ZX in its make up, and sales of all types have always been good. The 306 also commands much better resale values than the equivalant ZX, and has a better "image" too.
As regards the handling, I can't see that theres too much between the two. I would say that I've always found the brakes on the 306 to be laods better than on the ZX, as they have diffrent rear brakes (drum versions) and more sensibly sized pads too.
Whilst the 306 has been sensibly developed over the years with the introduction of new engines such as the 2.0 16V (XU10J4R), HDi and 1.6 TU, Citroen ceased development on the ZX in 1996, and replaced it with the Xsara. Again the Xsara is ZX based in most key areas such as suspension, steering, braking and floorpan, but with a new (heavier) bodyshell on top. The Xsara got all the new engines, plus a lot more safety (side impact, dual airbags etc)than the ZX offered. The Xsara is not a bad car, but I don't find the handling to be anywhere as tidy as on the ZX.
As regards the costs of maintaining a 306, well it should be the same as on a Zx or Xsara. I looked after a neighbours 1996 306 1.9Td for 2 years, and did much of the same work that I've had to do on my ZX's, i.e. Front arm P bushes, radiator, clutch, rear brakes. As the 306 had done a lot of miles and the matrix (the infamous ZX/Xantia one) was starting to leak, he sold the 306 recently for £2400 GBP. If that 306 had been a 96 ZX TD with 110,000 miles it would be worth £1000 less. That says it all.
So, if you want 306 handling, engines, gearboxes and you ain't got a lot of cash, get a ZX. They don't rust (with a few exceptions), are fairly well screwed together, and last well if looked after. I'm on my third and its still our vehicle of choice for long runs despite owning a Berlingo Multispace as well.
The ZX has done 38600 miles since I got it in May 2001 with only normal servicing and repairs. Touch wood. You can't knock that in a car thats going to be 10 years old later this year. And it got given to me!
I now expect a flood of replies telling me how people have spent 1000's on some heap of **** ZX, and the 306 is brilliant.<img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>
Lastly, try getting the correct radiator for a 306. I have counted 10 diffrent types for the Mk2, and 12 for the Mk1. Bewildering.
Jon Wood
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Post by MarkS »

The one thing that is different is the quality of the trim. 306s often have seats comming apart at the seams, the quality of the cloth is also inferior to the ZX. 306 looks far better, costs more but in truth is no better and the trim is poor.

David W
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Post by David W »

Interesting one...on another "all-makes" forum recently the 306 brigade were very keen to elevate their vehicles to a higher level.
I've no real axe to grind, we happen to own a very nice early ZX TD but I look after loads of other ZXs and 306s as well.
I see them in a nuts and bolts way and for what they can do, not for the image I perceive when driving them. Also my opinion isn't clouded by having paid the premium a 306 commands, it's natural this will make folks think they have a better vehicle.
To pick up on this point first, as Jon does, the price differences are startling. Round here almost any 306 that can crawl off a forecourt will have a £1500-£2000 ticket on it. A similar age/condition early ZX will often be £500-£1000.
With frequent experience of driving both ZX and 306 over the same route on the same day I'd say...
The 306 is a sleeker body design, no doubt that the ZX looks more dated and less exciting, ZX suits me fine though.
The 306 handling is just a little sharper but at the expense of a slightly firmer ride. Care must be taken in comparison because the 306s often have slightly larger tyres.
When comparing like models and engine sizes I can't see that there is any performance difference.
What I do prefer about the ZX is that you seem to sit up more in it, this suits me and the feel I like from a car.
Personally I prefer the interior styling/build of the ZX. As stated above the 306 seat material can seem thin and I'm not sure about the look of that "flat" dash in the 306.
So overall to me they are nearly the same car with the 306 slightly more biased to the sporty and image concious driver, fine if you are willing to pay a hefty premium for that.

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Post by James. »

I was looking for a cheap reliable car. So I looked for a diesel, and as I have had both hips replaced I also wanted an automatic. apart from a few old Mercs the first one I found was a cit XZ 1.9D Avantage. I was amazed when I drove it! it corners extremely well, is comfortable, has a good driving position. And over a recent hol covering 880 miles in the UK it returned 38mpg ! that's great for such a large engine and brill if you bear in mind its an auto?
Past cars have been. Daimler DB18..... Jaguar 3.8 "S" type (NOT the MK ll) "E" type V12. Daimler 420G, Jag series one two and three. Triumph stag. Rover 2000 (poor mans rolls) Triumph 2.500 with overdrive. Reliant scimitar. MGC (3litre) . SL 350 merc (on loan to me for nearly a year) ...
I have never paid more than £1,200 for any car and that's what my ZX cost me.. I love it.. I should have got one 10 years ago! :-) The one I have has now got 14 ally wheels with the slightly wider tyre, I also fitted fog lamps and a foot rest? oddly enough that's not built in on the auto??? Its bog standard grey, gets lost in a crowd of two, but I intend to keep it forever!!!
Cheers James...

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Post by AndyGimpy »

Well the Zx 1.4 gets my vote on this. Yes they are not as stylish but from the point of comfort and triming they are better than the 306. They are a very good reliable and economical car to run. You can get your arms just about anywhere when you need to, No funny suspension to play around with and not short of power down the motorway. Mines done 104.000 miles and still going strong(touch wood)Yes its the ugly 3 door but hey that means its different from all the 5 door versions you see. I hope she still goes strong for a lot longer because I'm not looking forward not being able to do those normal DIY jobs you can no longer do on more modern cars. NOt bad for £750.00 2 years ago with 76000 on the clock when I purchased her.

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Post by adrianeaton »

We had to make a judgement call between the ZX and 306, not once but twice!!
When we were looking for Jane's 1st car we wanted something solid that she could knock about in and feel safe driving. Both the ZX and 306 made the shortlist. I'd driven both before and liked them. Due primarily to the price difference we opted for a ZX 1.8i Furio (3 door, and I quite like the shape!) as we could get a 7 year old car with 34k miles and FSH for £1500 - against similarly specced 306's costing £3k+ at the time.
I actually prefer the dash layout and design of the ZX and don't think it's dated as quickly as the 306's. I also prefer the steering - all 306's I've driven have had appalling steering lock, even fairly lowly spec XS's. Where the 306 stands head and shoulders above the ZX is the body design, which looks far fresher and is also much stronger - hence the much lower insurance groupings (from memory the 306 is mainly group 5 and the ZX about 12, although cost doesn't vary greatly!)
We've now passed the ZX on to my parents and they love it to bits - they prefer driving it to their Saab turbo convertible! It's now done 60k and nothing major has dropped off - it's had 4 tyres, an exhaust and a few bushes but has never let us down apart from a clip on the clutch cable snapping.
We've replaced the ZX with a Xsara VTS (Jon - these handle [;)]) and were considering a 306 GTi-6 as well. However cost got in the way again! The 306 will still fetch £8-9k whereas our less than 3 year old VTS cost less than £6k at a dealer with 19k miles only.
For my money, the Xsara is the better buy, although image is non-existant! I think that's the major factor - the 306 has image in spades whereas the ZX and Xsara are considered 'Grandad' cars. The 306 has had far more popular and a greater range of performance models (1.6XS, through XSi to S16 and GTi-6) whereas the ZX has only had the Volcane and 16V really (I don't count the Furio in this class!) and the Xsara only has the slightly dull looking VTR/S 'Coupe'.
It's amazing how much decent (and popular) performance models will 'lift' the image of an entire range.

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Post by mspah »

For some unknown reason Citroen have a bad name, when in comparison to Pug. Not sure why, I've driven both the Pug 306 1.9TD and i have a ZX volcane 1.9TD, The engines are identical, apart from mine has no air-con, but i'm sure mine shifts more than the 306. But i think they are much of a likeness and i'd rather have my ZX anyday, they are rare and when looked after with some minor modifications to them they look just as mint as any Pug.
My ZX has unforunately been out of action for 5 days i only brought it Wednesday and i get it back today after taking it in on Friday morning.

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Post by alaws »

We have two ZX's, a 1.9TD and a normally aspirated diesel.
For all intense and purposes the zx's are exactly the same as the 306's mechanically.
The quality of trim is dependant entirely on the model, the higher the spec, the better the quality.
The ZX's are lighter in weight than the 306's, and hence are faster when compared to a 306 of the same engine size. - But does that mean they are less safe?
The main reason we went for the ZX's was the price. As discussed earlier the secondhand price of the ZX's is a lot lower than that of a comparable 306. In my eyes that means you get more car for your money.
Having had several ZX's now I intend to stick with them. I know they don't 'look as good' as 306's but I prefer them. The only problem now is that because production stopped over 5 years ago finding low mileage decent ones is getting harder.