Peugeot 405 (1987-)

DEADWALKING

French reign of Tehran continues unabated

HAWKE was PM, Icehouse dominated the airwaves, Kylie was still a Neighbour and Peugeot was the fear of Volkswagen. How things have changed...

Except in Iran, weirdly, where fans of the 1980s can at least relive the brilliant driving dynamics of the Peugeot 405, the pretty Pininfarinapenned mid-sizer that made most contemporaries like the Volkswagen Passat feel bulky and bloated. It won the European Car of the Year award by a margin that’s still a record.

The flagship Mi16 was an especially cracking drive.

“Cracking” also describes the lightweight Peugeot’s quality, with brittle cabin plastics that felt flimsier than George Michael’s heterosexuality in the chartbusting Faith video of the same era.

That the Tehran-built 405 has continued relatively intact (though in stronger Series II form) since the late 1990s is therefore all the more remarkable, proving the veracity of the original design.

For nine years from 1987, the 405 really helped move the French brand forward from the old 504/505 days, backed up by the enigmatic 205 and popular 306 hatchbacks. And things just got better when the 406 replaced it from late 1996.

18 YEARS

AGE IN HUMAN YEARS

199

AFTERLIFE

Iran’s most modern vehicle.

You may laugh; at least they’ll keep making cars beyond 2017

HIGHLIGHTS

The most fun family mid-sizer in its day

LOWLIGHTS

Undermined by iffy quality