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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For You'll get refined diesels, a smooth ride and plenty of kit for a low price

Against The Xantia doesn't drive as well as most of its rivals, and the interior looks cheap.

Verdict It's a cheap, comfortable but dated alternative to its more ubiquitous rivals

Go for… 2.0 HDi LX

Avoid… 3.0 V6

Citroën Xantia Hatchback
  • 1. The suspension needs an overhaul every five years, so budget for it before you buy
  • 2. Clogged radiators and coolant leaks are common
  • 3. The air-con is prone to faults, so check it blows cold
  • 4. If you test a diesel and it's smoky, chaces are the fuel injectors are faulty
  • 5. Always check the anti-lock brake system, as it can be a problem
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Citroën Xantia Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The Xantia drives reasonably well. Its smooth Hydractive gas/fluid suspension soaks up everything UK roads can throw at it and Activa versions corner with virtually no body roll.

The handling is safe, but the lifeless steering stops you really enjoying it. And, although the brakes are good, the heavy servo-assistance means it can take a while to get used to just how little pressure is needed on the pedal.

The engines are, for the most part, refined. In fact, if it wasn't for the lack of support from the soft seats (improved slightly on later cars), it would make a comfortable motorway cruiser. As it is, though, those seats could make long journeys, quite literally, a pain in the back.

Inside, the design feels dated and the materials cheap, but there's plenty of comfort and safety kit, as well as a reasonable amount of space. The boot, too, is a decent size.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Great value buy now, 2.0 HDI 110 Forte most wanted

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Go for a 2.0 HDi common-rail turbodiesel. Both the 90bhp and 110bhp versions are strong, frugal and smooth - worth the premium over the older 2.1 TD and 1.9 TD.

Petrols include an 89bhp 1.6, but unless you only drive in town, try to find a 112bhp 1.8 or, preferably, the 123bhp 2.0. There's also a very pacy turbocharged 2.0 with 150bhp - the pick of the quick ones.

You can also find 3.0 V6 versions, but their 194bhp performance is pointless and the thirst prohibitively expensive.

Activa models have computer-controlled suspension that virtually eliminates body roll through corners, but we'd avoid them. Some find the experience a little disconcerting, but our concerns are more over complexity and repair costs.

As for trims, LX has all you really need. SX gives you more and Exclusive has it all. Forte is a bit basic, though.

You'll find plenty at independent dealers and in the classifieds, but be choosy. Only buy the very best.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Renowned for suspension problems - average reliability and repair costs

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

This is a cheap car to buy and routine service costs are easy to stomach, especially if you use a reputable independent garage. Their labour rates could save you up to 30% compared with those of a franchised dealer, according to Warranty Direct.

The Xantia is a below-average performer in reliability surveys, but Citroens are among the cheapest to fix. So, as long as you buy a sound model that doesn't need a string of repairs, it should be cost-effective.

The diesels certainly will be. The best - and our pick - are the 2.0 HDi models, which should give 50mpg. The 1.9 TD and 2.1 TD are good for 40mpg, while the petrol versions range from a decent 39mpg for the 1.6 to a thirsty 24mpg for the 3.0 V6.

The V6 - in group 16 - also hits you hard for 16 insurance. Most others fall into group 12 or 13, and the 1.6 carries a gentle group 8 rating.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Great value buy now, 2.0 HDI 110 Forte most wanted

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Xantia doesn't have the best reputation for reliability, but there are plenty of cars that run smoothly thanks to their caring, attentive owners. These are the ones to sniff out, so insist on a full service history.

The gas/fluid Hydractive suspension requires a pricey overhaul every five years, so check for evidence of this in the service records. Also ensure that the car sits level, irrespective of load, and rides smoothly over poor surafces. If not, suspect suspension trouble, the biggest cause of claims made by Xantia owners to Warranty Direct.

We've also heard of clutch problems on the HDi turbodiesels and faulty fuel injectors that can make diesels smoky. The anti-lock braking system can give trouble on all models. Coolant leaks and clogged radiators aren't unheard of either, while electrics can be iffy.

Finally, check that the spare wheel is still there - it should be in a cradle under the car. Some of them get nicked.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Renowned for suspension problems - average reliability and repair costs

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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