We tried it for you : Peugeot 604 SL

After our first drive with the MG B, we tried for you another car, better known in France, a Peugeot 604 SL, almost a limo.

History of the Peugeot 604

Peugeot 604 appears in 1975 at Geneva show. It’s aim is simple : become the high-end model.
To strenghten this idea, the “best” french engine of the time, the V6 PRV (for Peugeot, Renault, Volvo, an engine also used in Alpine cars) is placed under the hood. The car is available in 1976 with this engine on the Peugeot 604 SL. The engine develops 136hp, and this is a big car : 1.77m wide, 4.76m long and 1.43m tall.

This car will be used by french leaders. Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, french president elected in 1974, chose the Peugeot 604 as a presidential car. In 1978, the SL dropped to 122hp, and a new version, the Ti, featuring Bosch fuel-injection system, allows a power of 144hp.

In 1980, to try and boost the sales, Peugeot installed a Turbo Diesel engine. The car was sold until 1985, and stopped after 152.252 cars built.

Driving a Peugeot 604

The Peugeot 604 SL we show you here is a “model-year” 1976 car, so from 1975. It’s  one of the first cars built. The V6 engine starts loudly, but the automatic starter reduces the noise after a few minutes.
I get myself behind the steering wheel and I can find a comfortable driving position. The leather seats offer a really soft feeling, as usual in a french car. Its easy to adjust the position and we can test the pedals. The throttle is on the floor, the bite point is high and the brake pedal is as hard as a rock.

I start and can confirm a part of the data on the car : the weight is very high, 3086 lbs, and it’s definitely designed for highways rather than winding roads.

The V6 does its job, with a good torque that allows a comfortable cruising. Power is high enough for the weight, and I reach without any problem 96 mph in fourth gear. If you have to overtake another car, no problem, change down a gear, and you discover why the engine was also used in Alpine cars. Over 4000 rpm, it starts to kick you in your seat. The gearbox is easy to use, with its curved lever. Only the rear gear is difficult to find.

The power-steering is precise and it really helps to manoeuvre the car, since i’m not really a body building addict. The feedback in the steering wheels is good and you know where are headed. Concerning the brakes, it’s better to anticipate. The weight, the hardness of the pedal and a braking circuit in need for maintenance tend to make you really careful.

The Peugeot 604 was aimed for french rich “bourgeoisie” and was often driven by a chauffeur. Let’s get to the back seats then.
We are comfortably seated, and we enjoy the features. If youfeel warm, you can ask to the chauffeur to open the electric roof. Other times, other customs, you find ashtrays everywhere, one in each door, and another one in the middle. The comfort is however wasted by the vibrations coming from the exhaust and the differential.

I left the car smiling, it’s a really enjoyable for long travels, despite its 22mpg fuel-consumption.

Driving Peugeot 604

In France, a Peugeot 604 is between €3,000 and €5,000 for the Ti. An Heuliez limo was also available, but the price is here around €15,000.

In UK, don’t look for one, it’s almost impossible to find.


4 etoiles



– Comfort V6 is a gas-guzzler –
– Big interior space Weight and size –
– High end noisy engine –
Rarity 4 etoiles
Price €3,000 to €5,000 (£2,400 to £4,000) for “normal” versions €15,000 (£12,000) for an Heuliez


Craig Jeakings

Great article!

Thank you Craig !

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