Used Citroën Xsara 1997 - 2004 review

Category: Family car

Section: Our recommendations

1997 - 2004 review
Citroën Xsara (97 - 04)
  • Citroën Xsara (97 - 04)
  • Citroën Xsara (97 - 04)
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Our recommendations

Which used Citroën Xsara hatchback should I buy?

Big discounts kept sales of new Xsaras afloat during its later years, so many of the ones you'll be offered are low-end models, usually 1.4 LXs. However, prices are low enough to make the gap between base-spec and everything-as-standard models tiny. So it makes sense to buy the best-equipped model you can.

The 1.6 petrol and 2.0 HDi diesel are the ones to go for, and opt for the SX or Exclusive, which are the top two trims.

Avoid the 1.6 if it has an auto gearbox because they go wrong and are expensive to fix - see below.

The 1.4 is lively for its size but needs to be pushed hard if it's heavily loaded, while the 1.8 is not noticeably quicker than the 1.6, despite being thirstier and dearer to insure. The remaining choice is the 1.9 D, an old non-turbo that is gruff and not very economical.

Trim levels begin at X, moving to LX, SX and then Exclusive. X is too basic, and you'll need an LX for electric windows and remote locking, but we'd recommend SX, which comes with air-conditioning. Top-of-the-range Exclusive adds alloy wheels and a CD player.