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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For It's cheap to buy and gives a refined drive, with a comfortable ride

Against You'll find more reliable, roomier estates with smarter, more modern interiors

Verdict It's a sensible buy as a low-cost family estate, and its ride quality is superb

Go for… 2.0 diesel

Avoid… 1.8 petrol

Citroën Xantia Estate
  • 1. The self-levelling gas/fluid suspension gives the Xantia a real advantage over some of the competition
  • 2. Check the suspension carefully - the car should sit level at all times
  • 3. The air-con is prone to faults, so check it blows cold
  • 4. The axles and suspension are the biggest source of problems on Xantias
  • 5. Clogged radiators and coolant leaks are common
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Citroën Xantia Estate full review with expert trade views

It's a bit of a left-field choice, but there's much to commend Citroen's family estate. The engines are all pretty refined but, above all, the Xantia really scores for its superb ride quality.

Its Hydractive gas/fluid suspension keeps the ride height level, regardless of the load you're carrying in the rather small boot, and wafts the car over poor surfaces with real composure. The handling is less impressive, but it's reasonable enough.

The steering is short of feel, however, and the servo-assisted brakes take a little getting used to - even a gentle dab on the pedal can cause the car top stand on its nose.

Inside, function and practicality take priority over style, but you get a fair amount of kit. The seats were improved on later cars but, even then, they're soft and lack support. If you do a high mileage, this may be a deal-breaker.

However, as cheap, versatile family wheels with a decent load bay and distinctive styling, the Xantia's worthy considering.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Good-size car for your money but beware that suspension problems can cost

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Our favourite is the 2.0 HDi turbodiesel - either with 90bhp or 110bhp. This smooth and impressively frugal direct-injection, common-rail unit is far better than the older 2.1-litre TD engine. There's also a 1.9 TD, but it's no match for the 2.0 HDi.

Of the petrol models, avoid the 1.8 if you're planning to make the most of the Xantia's load-carrying abilities. It may have 112bhp, but it lacks low-rev pull.

Instead, go for a 2.0-litre model, available in normally aspirated form (135bhp) or turbocharged to produce 150bhp.

All models have plenty of comfort and safety kit compared with their contemporary rivals. That's why we'd be happy with LX trim (one up from the basic Forte), although SX ups the ante and Exclusive tops the range with an impressive array of toys.

You should have no trouble tracking a Xantia down. Independent traders and classifieds are good places to look, but be picky and buy on condition, not mileage.

Trade view

John Owen

Value load lugger - beware costly suspension repairs. Should ride low and level

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Xantia is cheap to buy and run if you choose a reliable, well cared-for example. Get a wrong 'un, though, and the repair costs may soon add up.

The Hydractive gas/fluid suspension needs a costly overhaul every five years. However, the occasional repair should be easy to stomach since Warranty Direct reckons Citroens are among the cheapest cars to fix.

The diesels are extremely easy on the wallet to run. Our pick of the range, the 2.0 HDi, should be good for about 50mpg with sensible driving. Expect to get about 40mpg from the 2.1 TD and 1.9 TD.

Even the petrols are reasonably light on fuel - mid-30s to the gallon with the 1.8 and 2.0, around 30mpg for the turbocharged 2.0.

Insurance, too, is respectable - group 12 or 13 for most of the range - and routine servicing won't slay your finances, especially if you use a reputable independent garage.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Good-size car for your money but beware that suspension problems can cost

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

It makes sense to track down a car that has a full service history, because the Xantia is prone to gremlins.

Check the suspension carefully - the car should sit level at all times and the ride should cushion you impressively from bumps and potholes.

The Hydractive gas/fluid suspension needs an overhaul every five years (which isn't cheap), so look for that in the service history. Warranty Direct customers suggest that the suspension and axles are the biggest cause of concern.

The electrical systems and air-con (check it blows cold) are also prone to faults, and there are reports of trouble with the anti-lock braking system. Clogged radiators and coolant leaks are common, too.

On HDi turbodiesel modes, ensure the clutch works smoothly, and watch out for smoky engines on all diesel models, which can be caused by faulty injectors. Finally, ensure the spare wheel is still in the cradle under the car and hasn’t been nicked.

Trade view

John Owen

Value load lugger - beware costly suspension repairs. Should ride low and level

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford
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