Used Citroen Xantia
The Citroen Xantia (pronounced Zantia) received a warm welcome from both press and public upon its arrival in 1993. As a replacement for the marque's ultra-successful BX model, Citroen's mid-ranger offered engines including 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre petrol, plus 1.9 litre diesels, both with and without turbo. Later 16v 1.8 and 2.0 additions were somewhat smoother and quieter but didn't offer much more in the way of performance. You may also find petrol estate models with turbo and the active suspension Activa. 1997's facelift added body coloured bumpers and high-level stoplights, in addition to a couple of new engines, a 2.1 turbo diesel and a 3.0 litre V6. 1998 brought more significant upgrades, in the form of a new front end and rear taillights, higher equipment spec and lower prices. Further engine modification were introduced until a distinct downsizing at the end of 2000 saw the end of the Activa turbo, the 3.0 litre V6, a 90bhp Hdi and the 2.0 16v petrol, with the Citroen Xantia superseded altogether in 2001 in favour of the new C5.
Bang for your buck
Citroen's brand defining self-levelling suspension system helped to make the Xantia a strong presence in the mid-range market, with a ride as smooth as silk and its distinctive, elegant looks have aged well
Electrical equipment levels are generous, as is interior space, both for passengers and luggage – as you would expect from a five-door family car. The keypad immobiliser system and a hidden stereo cassette module should help to deter thieves and fuel economy is impressive.
What you'll pay
As you'd expect for a car of this age, early models are plentiful and a bargain, with the first entry-level 1.6s available for £500, but it's worth stretching to £700 for a 1.8 with LX trim from the same year. A 1.9 litre DSX from 1995 will set back a still very reasonable £800, while £1,000 will get you the range-topper 2.0 litre VSX. 1996-98 models can be had for between £1,000 – £1,300 depending on engine and trim specifications, while if you're looking for a newer used Citroen Xantia for sale, start at £1,700 for S-plate onwards.
What to check
Early concerns about handbrake reliability didn't last and while there are no major reported faults, stick to dealer maintained models with comprehensive service history, as the Xantia's unique, fluid and gas filled suspension system is not DIY compatible. Check the brakes too for abuse by those not used to the short, sharp Citroen braking system.
While Citroen parts are never the cheapest, neither are they wince-inducing, with a radiator starting at £220, clutch assembly at £150, alternator at £300 and a full exhaust £225.
How it drives
The used Citroen Xantia is all about the Citroen typical ride, making speed bumps all but disappear. If you can stretch to the higher range models, the Hydractive II 'thinking' suspension system adjusts automatically to your driving style, shifting from soft and absorbent to firm and steady as conditions require. Acceleration is pleasingly eager, making the Xantia a more than worthy successor to the BX. While it's not an exciting car, the Xantia is a solid second-hand buy.