The Peugeot 405 belongs to the small group of cars that have had a truly international career. Launched across Europe in 1987, it won the coveted European Car of the Year in 1988 and landed on U.S. shores shortly after. Peugeot has historically turned a decent profit by outsourcing production of its 400- and 500-series sedans all around the world, and the Paris-based automaker wasted no time in selling the license to build the 405 to partners overseas. By the middle of the 1990s, the 405 was built in France but also in the United Kingdom, in Egypt, in Chile, in Argentina, in Zimbabwe, in Poland, in Taiwan and in Iran.
The car’s most successful export market was Iran, where the Pininfarina-designed ex-Car of the Year is still in production today and reigns as one of the most popular new cars on the market. Starting in 1991, the 405 sedan was assembled from complete knock-down (CKD) kits shipped from France but Iran Khodro claims 98-percent of the parts that make up the sedan are built by local suppliers today.
The 405 is sold across Iran through the Peugeot dealer network and it is also exported to neighboring countries such as Iraq and Azerbaijan. Two models are offered: The standard 405 and a more upmarket variant called Pars.
Peugeot 405 GLX & SLX
The 405 is broken down into two trim levels called GLX and SLX, respectively. The entry-level GLX looks nearly identical to the 405 that was sold in Europe while the SLX benefits from a minor facelift that brings a more modern grille, transparent headlights and round fog lamps. Out back, the 405 SLX gains revamped tail lamps, a small trunk-mounted spoiler and up-to-date emblems.
Both models feature a noticeably raised suspension in order to cope with Iran’s rough roads. The SLX comes standard with alloy wheels but the GLX gets by with the same plastic hubcaps that were found on the European-spec 405 over 20 years ago.
The story is similar on the inside, where the GLX is all but identical to the 405 that was distributed across Europe. The SLX stands out thanks to fewer hard plastics, a four-spoke steering wheel and a CD/MP3 player.
Mechanically, both versions of the 405 are powered by a gas-burning, eight-valve 1.8-liter XU four-cylinder engine linked to a five-speed manual transmission that spins the front wheels. It makes 97 horsepower and 109 lb-ft. of torque, enough to send the 405 GLX from zero to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 10 seconds and the 405 SLX to the same speed in 11 seconds. The difference is largely unexplained but it should be noted the GLX features a smaller fuel tank than its more expensive counterpart.
Lastly, a compressed natural gas (CNG)-burning variant of the 1.8 mill is offered at an extra cost.
Billed as a more upscale alternative to the 405, the Pars is offered in several trim levels but they all look roughly the same on the outside. Generally speaking, the Pars stands out from the 405 thanks to a more modern front fascia that is slightly reminiscent of the 406 and a redesigned rear end characterized by narrow tail lamps and a new trunk lid that houses the license plate.
The interior is very close to that of the 405 but is is relatively well appointed and it can even be ordered with imitation wood trim on the center console, the shift knob and the dashboard. Keyless entry, A/C and power windows all around come standard, and heated seats are offered at an extra cost.
Pars buyers can choose from a wide variety of engine and transmission combinations, including a 1.6-liter 16-valve TU four-banger that sends 108 horsepower and 104 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels via either an automatic or a manual gearbox. Other engines include both eight- and sixteen-valve variants of the 1.8-liter mill that equips the 405 and the aforementioned CNG burner.
Note: Iran Khodro briefly offered yet another variant of the 405 called the Peugeot Roa. While it looked very similar to the 405 GLX, it was powered by a longitudinally-mounted Hillman Avenger-sourced 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that sent power to the rear wheels.