Citroen Saxo Review from Austria

1997 Citroen Saxo VTS 1.6 16v

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 1.6 16v Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance85000 kilometres
Previous carNissan Stanza

Summary:

Seriously fast but seriously flawed

Faults:

Things seemed ominous when I first went to pick up the car (it was delivered late), and I discovered that the petrol gauge wasn't working. Since then, things have only gone from bad to worse.

The engine oil temperature reading goes into the red zone at high speeds - still not cured by the dealer after 3 years of allegedly trying. Oil leaks from the camshaft cover, splattering all over the engine - still not cured (2 yrs). Decals fall off occasionally, plastic wheel extension arches come undone repeatedly, engine has very rough idle and ticks loudly (dealer says that's normal). The dashboard rattles violently on Vienna's many cobblestone streets, and windows rattle incessantly when opened. Sunroof leaked and had to be repaired twice.

The car failed catastrophically on one occasion (+/- 50 000 kms/ 2 yrs) - a temperature sensor in the engine apparently malfunctioned, causing the car not to start.

The front tyres wore out prematurely (one and a quarter Summers worth of driving).

Gears don't feel happy being changed when driving the car hard (2nd and 3rd gears offer resistance).

General Comments:

Apart from the 106 GTi, no other new car can provide the surge that the VTS gives between 4000 - 7000rpm's, or the accelerative ability at high speeds, for the price. The car's best attributes are its acceleration flat out in 1st and 2nd gears, and its motorway prowess. I regularly drive on German autobahns as fast as the car will go, and it has always felt very stable. Handling is a bit hairy through fast Alpine corners though.

At lower revs, however, (i.e. city driving) it's very sluggish, and is not at all satisfying to drive.

The car is flimsy, and is very badly put together (everything that can fall off, does).

Depreciation is oh so painful.

The driving position is awkward (too high), and neither the front seat or steering wheel is adjustable for height.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st March, 2000

8th Mar 2001, 02:33

I have had a T reg Saxo VTS now for 5 months and I have experienced 2 of the problems you have, the rattling and rough ticking over. When I took it back to the dealer in Sale, Manchester I was told the car is designed to tick over rough to control the high emissions of the car??? They just don't want to know.

I have learnt if you have a problem with a VTS, sort it yourself as I have done, I now have no problems (touch wood) with the car that are causing me a headache.

20th May 2001, 13:32

The Saxo VTS, the rough idle is down to two things:

1) Blocked or worn hydraulic tappets.

2) Knackered oil pump.

Trust me they are not supposed to do it. My warranty has just forked out four grand to rectify the rough idle and ticking problem. Dealers will try and fob you off, basically because it is such an expensive problem to cure. They had to replace: hydraulic tappets, cams, timing belts, oil and fuel filters, oil and fuel pumps, re-tune and reprogram the cars CPU. Don't give up, they have to fix the faults. If no luck, seek legal aid.

Average review marks: 5.5 / 10, based on 1 review