Economical runabout, but not for long commutes
Battery failed, new replacement was just £25 but! previous car owner had lost the manuals and code for radio, so we never had the radio working (Citroen cars appear to need special tools to take the radio out, so we never managed to get it recoded).
Heater ventilation fan only ran on full speed. Also, the mounting of the switch in the dash was broke, so got a replacement from the scrapyard (though most AX's there also had broken switches!). This didn't fix the speed problem, so probably the resistor pack on the motor itself failed.
Needed new brake discs at 64,000 miles due to driver (not me!) failing to mention a loud grinding noise after wearing pretty much all the pads right through...
Only patch of rust on the car (a '94) was a 50p sized hole in the inner wing, but not load bearing (MOT not a problem).
Bad in a crash, car was written off when a low speed bump into a wall caused £700 damage (not me, again!) - these cars can be picked up for less than that now.
This wasn't my car, but I spent a lot of time in it.
This car was either very well maintained by previous owners (as mentioned above, no history or manuals came with it) or Citroen make very hardy cars. The motor, gearbox, clutch, suspension, brakes were all immaculate. Probably the first engine I've seen which didn't have a spot of oil anywhere externally at all!
The gearbox was good, but the gear stick was something else - it had a lot of free play. I've seen worse and it was perfectly usable, but it was something that would have been sorted had the car itself lasted more than 6 months.
Performance wise, considering it's a 950cc motor the car is very happy to fly around town. Well, with no passengers. Most of the performance comes from it being very light, not from horsepower. Having a 4 speed gearbox does limit the car on motorways. You can hold 70mph easily, but the poor engine is revving away to do it. Add passengers and it gets very sluggish on hills. High winds can be very disconcerting when you first drive the car at speed: its light weight results in you being blown about all over the place.
I wouldn't like to use this car to commute long distances to work every day, but for the local town, the school run, first car, etc. it's ideal.
Never a problem with economy, as you'd expect. High mpg is pretty easy no matter how you drive.
Handling is really good, quite a surprise after driving Rovers and Volkswagons: steering is very precise with not too much roll. Quite difficult to lose traction even on 155 tyres unless you really badly misjudge something.
The interior seats four adults in relative comfort, as long as the front seats aren't too far back (shortest person drives, basically!). Rear seats aren't too comfortable really (no adjustment, but what can you expect) but the fronts are fine. One adult and two kids in the back is probably the limit.
Honourable mention goes to the large door pockets: this is one of the few cars with real space to stow useful items for driving, like drinks bottles!
The driving position feels quite high inside the car. The pedals are really quite small and oddly shaped:
- the clutch pedal moves down at an odd angle such that I often found it easier to control if I pressed on the extruded bit of metal on the pedal arm, rather than the rubber pad itself. (Difficult to describe and sounds odd, but test drive an AX and you'll see what I mean!)
- Quite often I'd go for the brake and hit the accelerator at the same time.
- The accelerator is right up against the wheel arch: I drove the car for probably a couple of weeks until I realised I'd never pressed the pedal more than half way down! I'd try to floor it, and my foot would hit the arch - the car was a bit quicker after I learned to push the accelerator down at an angle.
Boot space isn't too bad.. good available height and fold down/removable rear seat provides enough room to move a typical first year uni student's belongings around the country..
I'm not too happy about the spare wheel being under the car, rather than in the boot, but can see an advantage: you don't need to unload a full car to get the spare when you have a flat.
We're currently looking for a replacement, the most likely seen so far is a Peugeot 106 - almost exactly the same car! Shares most of the same bits from chassis up. So I suppose yes, we would buy one again.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd April, 2004