1997 Citroen Xantia V6 Activa 3.0 V6 petrol from Switzerland

Summary:

Comfort and sports in a unique package!

Faults:

Air conditioning failed due to leaks - has to be fixed.

Some suspension bushes had to be replaced at 150'000 km, which I consider normal.

Some minor leaks in the cooling system appeared at 160'000 km - could be fixed by sealing fluid.

Rear wheel bearings recently started to squeak (165'000 km).

General Comments:

I think this is one of the best handling cars, while it's still very comfortable to drive (soft suspension and generous leather seats). Interior and boot are roomy, and I like the airy feeling that is given by the large glass area.

The equipment is very complete, although one may miss some things that are present on more modern cars, like radio central locking (rather than infrared) or immobilizer without the keyboard. With the fully electrical leather seats, a perfect position can easily be found, but I wonder why they aren't equipped with heating. Another point that could be improved is the lack of storage space in the interior - the glove box is really a joke, and only suitable for very small gloves ;-)

The V6 engine is one point I like very much about this car. It can be driven between 1000 and 2000 revs easily, but also revs up to 6500 - which gives very decent acceleration and good sound, too. When driven peacefully, gas mileage is quite astonishing. The drawbacks of this engine are sometimes expensive maintenance and the heavy weight on the front axle, which makes the car a bit clumsy in corners.

Otherwise, it's a car that likes curves, and on sinuous roads with little traffic, the Activa system makes handling marvelous. Fast driving in the Swiss Alps or French country roads is where this car is a pure source of fun. Good steering and brakes add to this, but they lack the specific Citroën feeling I liked so much with my CX I had before.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th August, 2009

1997 Citroen Xantia SX 1.8 16v from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Not 100% reliable, but you'll find it difficult to find anything in the same class for the price

Faults:

Interior didn't fare well - looked OK when I bought it, but seats wore quickly, and seat belt was starting to go when I traded it in.

Found an irritating design flaw - the rear suspension height corrector lever was easy to dislodge (looked like a miniature plastic spoon), which happened a few times whilst driving. Not too hard to fix, but DO NOT ATTEMPT IT WHILST RELYING ON THE JACK!!!

Clutch cable snapped - dealer wanted a ridiculous amount of money for this (over £600 +VAT), but can be done for around £50 at a backstreet garage.

Strange problem when accelerating - on frequent occasions (especially when foot-down after changing into 2nd) the engine would judder as though there was a fuel feed/electrical issue (nothing found at service)

General Comments:

Despite its aforementioned problems, I loved this car. It was reasonably quick & responsive, fairly economical, comfortable, easy to drive, and I would seriously recommend this car to anyone who is after a low-cost, but not low-quality vehicle.

Does however have a slight "cheap" feel in some areas (stereo, dashboard controls etc.), but if you can live with this, it is well worth the buy as it's a lot of car for not a lot of money.

I would, however, recommend that this car is only purchased by those who are either a) mechanically proficient, b) know someone who is, as there were many small faults and issues that would have cost easily many hundreds had I taken it to a dealer each time.

Lastly, there are many things that can (and do) go wrong with these cars - whilst many are easy fixes, it is worth having an (experienced Citroen) expert check it out before you buy, as they are easy to "patch up till it's off the forecourt"

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th January, 2008