I agree the money you pay for a VTS is ridiculous. My advice is instead of considering a new or used VTS (and 99% of used ones have been thrashed and abused, which the build quality can't take) try a used Polo GTI or a new Fiesta Zetec S. I was ready to burn my VTS out, it broke down so many times. I settled on a shiny new Polo GTI, OK so it's a bit slower than a VTS, but the interior and build quality are spot on. The Saxo interior seems to be designed for midgets and designed by toddlers.
Replies to last 2 comments - if you don't like the Saxo VTS then go to another area and comment on what you do like!
I have driven the Zetec S and I disagree, and presumably so do Ford as they are bringing out an RS.
Funny that hot Saxo is the best selling hot hatch 5 years in a row, where's the Zetec/Polo?
A VTR will beat a Zetec and probably give a Polo GTi a run for the money.
You don't buy a Saxo for build, they're for fun - mine must be an odd one - it doesn't break down.
A Puma is better than Fiesta, but the Puma was beaten by the VTS.
Still, each to his own - the world would be boring if we all had the same cars.
I have recently purchased a 1999 VTS to replace my G-reg AX-GT. I am fairly happy with the Saxo, but expected something a bit more special and fun to drive. My criticisms are the dull steering, whiny cam-belt and the amount of piston-slap when starting from cold, which I think is bad seeing as the car is like new, has been dealer serviced (every 5K miles) and has covered only 22K miles. The steering may be due to the standard Michelin's, but has nowhere near the feeling of the AX (or my wife's Focus).
I have had to replace the front shocks, as the originals became very lumpy and gave a constant knocking noise even on the flat. I would replace the timing-belt myself, but tensioning requires an electronic tension gauge, so is not really a DIY job.
Apart from these gripes the car is a lot better put together than the AX and more refined, but it does share may common components and weighs in at nearly 200KG more!
I would be interested to hear if other people also have noisy timing belts and bad piston-slap (clanking noise) from cold or if mine's a bad'un!
I have a 1999 Saxo 1.1i
Bought it from a dealership 2 years ago.
Only real problem I have had has just started and that is a rumbling when going around a left hand bend. Took it back to the dealer who is replacing both drive-shafts for me. Not bad aye for a 2nd hand car. 2year warranty was part of the deal on it.
I note somebody said about replacing cam belts that you need a special electronic tensioner. I don't know who told you that, probably a dealer, but it is rubbish. Replace the cam belt and check the tension in the usual way. Quarter turn on the belt and that is fine.
I used to work for a dealership and that is how they check the tension themselves. The bit about an electronic tensioner is just for the customer so they can charge you a fortune.
Um. I have to say the Zetec s can't beat the MK2 VTR, although it is better made and better handling.
No they are great handling, but the VTR isn't as good as the zetec for handling, the VTS has lower profile and wider tyres than the VTR which might mean its on a par with the VTS, I don't no only ever driven the VTR, just guessing.
Best handling car ever = A mini, it will run rings around everything.
And the best hot hatch is the 205GTi.
French cars are built to fall apart, always have been, always will be.