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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For It comes with a fine turbodiesel, seats up to eight and has sliding doors

Against The driving position is poor and even the priciest models lack safety kit

Verdict An old-school people carrier that could do with better safety provisions

Go for… Post-2000 diesel

Avoid… Early cars

Citroën Synergie MPV
  • 1. Look elsewhere for high quality - the interior plastics look and feel low-rent
  • 2. Check underneath the car, as problems with leaking cooling systems are common
  • 3. Make sure the gearbox works smoothly. If not, rain water may have got in and caused damage
  • 4. Ensure the clutch operates smoothly - the release bearings can fail after only 30,000 miles
  • 5. A couple of recalls have affected the Synergie, so check the necessary work has been done
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Citroën Synergie MPV full review with expert trade views

There aren't many eight-seater cars, but the Synergie is one of them. Five-, six- and seven-seat versions were also sold, and it's easy to get to the back seats in all of them thanks to sliding rear doors.

Less impressive is the amount of space inside. As in many MPVs, the third row of seats has to be removed before you can carry much in the boot, and they're heavy and awkward to move.

Even if you're on your own, things aren't great. A steering wheel that only adjusts for height contributes to a distinctly poor driving position and the interior plastics look and feel low-rent.

Citroens have traditionally been known for a cushioned, comfy ride, and the Synergie is no exception. But, the downside to this is that the car can bounce along undulating roads, making those in the rear queasy.

However, there are no complaints about refinement: the Synergie's cabin is quiet, with minimal wind and road noise, and the 2.0-litre diesel is impressively smooth, too.

Trade view

James Ruppert

It will sell provided it is a seven-seater and has a diesel engine

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Synergie was initially sold with a 123bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 92bhp 1.9-litre diesel. The 1.9 diesel was detuned to produce 90bhp in October 1999 before being discontinued a year later, while a more powerful 2.0-litre petrol with 138bhp and a 110bhp 2.0-litre diesel were introduced in May 2000.

Of all these options, the 2.0-litre diesel isour pick, because of its better pull and light thirst.

All Synergies have air-conditioning and twin front airbags, but side and curtain bags weren't fitted, and some of the seats make do with a lap belt rather than a full three-point seatbelt.

Stepping up to a mid-range SX car brings climate control and an electric sunroof, but only the flagship Exclusive models came with a CD player, alloy wheels and heated, electrically adjustable door mirrors as standard.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, low bills and low failure rates, but watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Citroen's traditional pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap strategy is good news for used buyers, because it means depreciation is heavy from new. Even the 2.0-litre diesel, which commands the highest second-hand prices, looks affordable next to many rivals of a similar vintage.

This model will be easy on fuel, too, because it returns a healthy 49.6mpg on average. The 1.9-litre engine it replaced is far less impressive, averaging just 34.9mpg. That's little better than the 30.7mpg that the 138bhp petrol can manage.

Insurance bills, too, should be comparatively low for all Synergies, with the petrol cars sitting in group 10 and the diesels group 12.

The tale is mixed when it comes to maintenance, though. Citroens are among the cheapest cars to repair and service, with dealers charging less per hour than their counterparts at Ford, Vauxhall and Toyota. However, this all has to be weighed against Citroen's poor reliability record, which could end up costing you.

Trade view

James Ruppert

It will sell provided it is a seven-seater and has a diesel engine

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Citroen has consistently finished near the bottom of our reliability surveys and posted below average scores in the annual JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey.

While the Synergie isn't one of the worst offenders, claims by Warranty Direct customers show that leaking cooling systems are common and that the clutch release bearings can fail after 30,000 miles. The latter problem is particularly bad news, because it costs around £1000 to fix.

Rain water has been known to get into the gearbox, too, and 2.0 diesel models built between September 2000 and May 2001 were recalled when it was found that rain reaching the engine bay could cause a malfunction that reduced power assistance to the brake pedal and increased emissions.

Synergies built between January and July 1998 were also recalled as a precaution against the handbrake wearing prematurely. As you would with any car, ensure the relevant work has been carried out before you buy.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, low bills and low failure rates, but watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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