I owned this car for about a year and got to see both the good and bad points.
Possibly the best feature of my XSi was its road holding capability. Excellent chassis setup resulted in the best handling car I’ve ever driven. The suspension setup was good, with a relatively supple ride at low speeds. The 1.4 engine produced lots of torque right through the rev range and the car looked exceptional (gunmetal grey). Fuel Economy was also quite good.
A lot of people look on the XSi with fond affection, but the bad points far outweigh the good. The engine is thrashy, which is probably why so many get abused, you really have to hammer the thing to get the best out of it. The close ratio gear box makes motorway driving unbearable. The engine screams at motorway speeds, sound insulation is awful and the whole car gets buffeted around by cross winds. Generally felt very unstable and unsafe at high speeds. Feels a lot quicker than it actually is due to the ‘tin can’ nature of the car and being very low to the ground. Performance is okay, not a patch on modern day hot hatches. Build quality is awful, rattles all over the place and generally felt shoddily put together with patchy reliability. Insurance -