Very comfortable and relaxing when driven correctly. Because of all the hype about the ZX handling superbly it was tempting to over-drive the car when first purchased, which was frustrating as it went a bit wayward. I have learnt that the softish suspension setting on the Aura model needs more respect than perhaps the Volcane setup. This is not to say it handles badly at all - it is just a question of driving smoothly and learning mechanical sympathy. Perhaps this is even more satisfying to drive as your mind is more alert. It can still be flung around quite nicely though.
The engine is peppy and will rev high producing very little torque steer in first. However, it is quite coarse over 4000RPM. Luckily it is tuned for torque low down so taking it up to 3700RPM is usually enough for normal driving.
Solid enough for the amount of cash I paid for it - time will tell..
Starting my comments above, it has been a pain in the bum. I took it to a main dealer in 1999 for its service which cost me £450. I thought that would be all the expensive business out of the way and I could relax and enjoy years of trouble free motoring.
Well, nice thought but not quite reality. It ran OK for the next year, but I was getting more and more annoyed with the driving position. It feels like being perched on the car rather than in it, and my back started hurting on long journeys. The handling also started to get me down. Fine, it goes round corners fairly nicely if you take it easy, but the body roll is crazy - it virtually scrapes its mirrors on the road. If you want to push a bit harder, you need to first set it up for the corner (by this I mean turn in, wait for the body to catch up in its rolly-polly way, and then adjust your line accordingly), then hope you don't get a load of understeer because if you do you are not going to get rid of it easily, especially in the wet.
Then the next service was due so I took it to the dealer expecting a reasonable but still Citroenesque style bill, and they stung me for £850! £850 that I didn't have (like most people I presume). Having just moved house and shoved all of our resources into the new place it was a lovely surprise from Andre Citroen's ghost - I warmly thank him.
In general, I have come to think of the car as sloppy. Sloppy build quality, sloppy seats, sloppy handling, sloppy refinement, but on the other hand it is not sloppy as a money eater - in this it is highly accomplished.
And as for the bodywork, my daughter managed to noticably scratch one of the doors with her finger nails in a fit of four-year-old rage. What quality finish. Oh, and make sure there are no flies around when you open a door as they will surely leave a lovely dent in it. What quality materials.
What about the engine? - more flat-spots than Eddie Irvine's tyres, and as rough as toast all the way up the rev range. It rattles, leaks/burns oil by the gallon (honestly - after its service in June I have already put 1.5 gallons in!!!), and is no pleasure to drive.
I wouldn't be so annoyed with these problems, but the fact that I have only done 17,000 in the car and it has only done 44,000 since new is incredible.
On the plus side, it has four wheels, a heater and a brake pedal (oh, don't start me on those damn brakes - AAARRRGGGHHH).
I think a lot of my gripes have been brought on by the fact that I have been driving many different cars in the last couple of years, of varying ages, and getting back into mine always feels incedibly disappointing.
I'm afraid I am abandoning Citroen to their incredibly busy service departments across the world and going for something Japanese next. You just wouldn't believe how well bolted together a Nissan Primera feels after driving the ZX - even one with 70,000 miles on the clock. And the handling, and the driving position... Maybe I'll be unlucky with that as well - I'll keep you posted.