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Giant Test

Vauxhall Astra L-v-CitroŽn GSA Club-v-Peugeot 305GL

IGNORING HALFWAY-HOUSE hatchbacks, there are more than 11O true estate cars on the British market, counting all the theme variations. About a third (more if you include those available at a discount) fall in the £4000-£5000 price bracket, the light-middleweight sector where the space race is at its most intense. It is the heart of this important market sector, where there are some strong new contenders, that attracts our interest here. Arbitrarily excluding three-door models from the reckoning - which automatically bars the new Escort estate and the much improved Allegros, among several others - we’ve focused attention on three five-door newcomers that ought to figure prominently on the shortlist of anyone seeking a serious, civilised, small estate. Citroen GS estates are far from new but the latest GSA Club version incorporates so many changes, mostly for the better, that it's due for reappraisal. At £4793 (the 1100 Special is £500 cheaper) the 1.3 Club is a little more expensive than the new Peugeot 305GL estate, custom built for the job and more than just a derivative of the saloon. For consistency's sake, we opted here for the £4754 1300 GL, but keep in mind that the faster, plusher 1500 GLS costs only £215 more, making it virtually the same price as the Citroen. General Motors’ new front-drive German estate, here in Vauxhall Astra L guise at £4556, completes the trio, though there are a couple of mechanically identical Opel alternatives, sandwiching the Vauxhall on price, that would have done equally well.

Styling, Engineering

There’s more to these estates than a simple boxy extension at the back. None could be described as big yet all are commendably roomy for their size, the Vauxhall and Peugeot notably so (see Accommodation). Inevitably, it's the GS, now in its 11th year, that’s out on a design limb. Its flat-four overhead cam air-cooled engine -the torquey bored-out 1299cc version first used in 1978 in the GSX3 - delivers 65bhp through a five-speed gearbox (a recent introduction on the estate) to the front wheels, very modestly shod with Michelin XZX 145 rubber. Suspension is Citroen's familiar - and still unique - arrangement of front wishbones and rear trailing arms operating on hydropneumatic (actually oleopneumatic) self-levelling springs -  spheres of gas and liquid - energised by an engine-powered central hydraulic system that’s also tapped to operate the all-disc brakes but not (as in the CX) the steering, which is an unassisted rack and pinion setup. The Club estate shares the cosmetic changes and aerodynamic aids of the GSA hatchback, including the chin spoilers and new grille. It also has new Visa-style satellite switchgear (good news), CX-style rolling drum speedometer (not so good) and new heating and ventilation. What it doesn’t have is the hatchback’s extra three inches, so although there’s ' fractionally more luggage area with the back seats in place, there’s marginally less with them folded flat. So why an estate as well? For a start, the extended roof gives a squared off tail and therefore greatly increased volume. Then there’s a canny tailgate design that provides an unusually low sill and easy loading. No, the estate certainly justifies its place in Citroen’s rejuvenated GS range. Old it may be, dated it certainly is not.

The Peugeot, marginally the heaviest car of the trio, is much more conventional with a transverse four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a four-speed manual gearbox in the sump, Mini style, where it shares the engine’s lubricant. This long-established running gear is inherited from the superseded 304, and has nothing in common with the Douvrin powerplants of the sister 104 or Renault 14. Considering its modest displacement of 1290cc (there’s also a long-stroke 1477cc version, as well as the 1548cc diesel) it’s a rather bulky engine, canted forward to give a low bonnet line, with cast-iron cylinders spigotted into a light-alloy block, and a single chain- driven camshaft operating inclined valves in cross-flow bi-spherical combustion chambers. Despite the eyebrows it raised when first seen more than a decade ago, the incredibly convoluted round-the-corner belt drive for the ancillaries is still in use, and no cause for concern. Output is virtually the same as the Citroen’s - 65bhp and 69Ib/ft of torque. Because the two cars are almost the same weight too, there’s little in it on power/weight ratio, although the Citroen has an aerodynamic advantage and a smaller frontal area, the benefits of which are reflected in superior performance, as we shall see. The front suspension, like that of the 305 saloon, is a conventional strut arrangement, but the rear suspension is designed specially for the estate to avoid encroaching on the cargo hold. Progressive rate coils, inclined with the dampers at 30degrees from the horizontal, spring the wheels through a system of bell-cranked trailing arms. Unladen, the car sits with its tail up, just like the 504, but that’s the only penalty, if penalty it be, of a cunning rear end that helps make the 305 such a thoroughly capacious, practical and civilised load carrier.

There are no suspension intrusions in the Vauxhall either. Instead of near horizontal springs, the Astra has very short vertical ones, conical in shape so that the coils compress within each other to provide the necessary travel. As in the VW Golf, these coils act on trailing arms linked to a torsional dead beam axle. MacPherson struts suspend the front wheels, driven through a four-speed gearbox, conventionally mounted in line with the lusty little ohc engine -the 75bhp1300S unit used in the quicker hatches and saloons, which gives the Vauxhall a 10bhp advantage over its two French rivals to pull much the same weight. Small, almost dinky in size to look at, the light-alloy Astra engine, the first of GM’s new three-member family, is a big-hearted performer, unusual among small engines for its self-adjusting hydraulic valve gear. Like the Peugeot, the Astra also has disc/drum brakes with servo, and unassisted rack and pinion steering. The General’s well-honed and respected mechanicals are enclosed in a rather boxy but commodious van-shaped body, lacking the aggressively butch squat of its stablemates, that’s 2.5in shorter than the Peugeot, and 4in shorter in wheelbase. That the overall cabin accommodation is just about as great underlines GM`s clever quart-in-a-pint-pot packaging arrangements with this particular car.

Performance

Advantage Astra. The engine is a prompt starter on its automatic choke, although it tends to race excessively during the stumble-free warm-up period. Blipping the throttle can reduce enrichment- but also cause stalling. In 1.3S guise, it’s a fiery and responsive little engine, eager and willing throughout a rev range that extends to 7000rpm - although one would rarely reach such revs in the estate which has no tachometer: the audio limit is nearer 6000. Pushed through the gears, all on the low side, the Astra will outrun the other two cars, but (according to our stopwatches) not by as big a margin as you might expect, considering its superior power/weight ratio. Short gearing makes the Vauxhall a busy performer but it never feels strained, not even when all out and nudging 100mph.

The Citroen matches the Vauxhall for maximum speed as a result of an easier passage through the air, and betters it for high-speed cruising, ambling along in a much more relaxed and peaceful way at 80-90mph. Acceleration in fifth (18.7mph/ 1000) is inevitably more sluggish than the Astra’s in fourth (16.1mph), although dropping a gear reveals an unexpectedly strong lugging ability that lesser GSs of yore lacked. Indelicate throttle work betrays a little snatch and clatter in the driveline, which is not as clean and taut as that of the Astra. Nor is the quality of the noise - a deep throbby roar - so agreeable when the engine, without the help of water jackets to mute it, is extended to high revs. Yet sensible use of the gearbox, making the most of the engine’s good mid-range torque, allows the Citroen to be driven swiftly and fairly quietly. The extra gear makes a big difference and the Astra could certainly do with one of the same.

The Peugeot cannot match the other two cars for maximum speed, although the optimistic speedometer, indicating 70mph at a true 65, would have you believe otherwise. It runs out of urge at a little over 90mph and lags a little in acceleration too, although the willing, free-revving engine feels quite spritely and hums away sweetly enough when cruising at 85mph. It’s also pretty flexible at low revs, without power peaks or flatspots. Despite low gearing, which helps to offset the capacity advantage of the 1472cc GLS (claimed to do 96mph and better 14sec in the 0-60mph dash), the 305GL, although fussy when extended, is not unpleasantly frenzied. Like the Citroen, it has a manual choke that needs careful manipulation until the engine is warm in stop-start traffic.

For economy, there’s not much in it: all three cars bettered 30mpg in our hands, with the Peugeot returning the best overall figure - allowing for an odometer over- reading by 5 percent - of 32.4mpg. The last 305 we tested (a GR saloon) also topped the economy table, underlining the frugality of Peugeot’s 1300, although official consumption figures suggest that the higher geared GLS/SR 1.5 is even better. One might expect better things of the Citroen, with its much higher gearing and good shape, but here - as always -it is no better than average. According to official figures, it’s the Astra, despite its low ratios, that is potentially the most economical of the three.

Handling, Roadholding

All three cars score well here though the two extremes - represented by the typically Germanic Astra and the individualistic GSA - are poles apart in feel and character. What they have in common is plenty of ability. In the VauxhaIl’s case it‘s achieved with firm suspension that gives the car sharp, precise handling and fine-edged manners. Steering is light and accurate, but not especially quick, so quite big inputs are needed on tight turns, and a fair bit of twirling on manoeuvres. Even so, the Astra's agility and responsiveness give it real fun-car handling, supported by as much grip as you could reasonably expect from 155 section tyres. Body control is outstanding (all three cars have anti-roll bar control at both ends) and the onset of predictable mild understeer is easily detected despite a certain deadness in the steering. Backing off will negate it, providing just the right amount of fail-safe throttle steering.

The Citroen is heavier at the helm - parking can be quite hard work, and is a real problem for women - but its steering is positive and more informative than the Astra's when you're cracking on. Terminal understeer sets in earlier, as you'd expect on skinnier tyres, so the GSA's ultimate cornering power is not so high on tight and medium speed bends, especially in the wet, where the Michelin XZXs are far too slippery. Backing off will tidily curb front- end plough, though, and the tyres, narrow in section though they are, cling to uneven surfaces with a reassurance that gives the Citroen an immense feeling of security. Marvellously stable on fast sweepers and at speed in gusty wind, it is difficult to imagine getting into deep trouble with the GSA. Sharp steering inputs throw into prominence the sudden keel of the body on its soft springs, but under fluid control the Citroen is seldom less than well poised and never ragged. Quick starts on the turn betray more front-drive reaction through the steering than in the less communicative Astra: whether that’s a virtue or vice depends on whether you like to be in close touch with the machinery or not.

If anything, the Peugeot 305 estate handles even better than the saloon, no doubt because of its stiffer rear springs and more weight aft, which inclines the handling towards the neutral without making it tail happy. Unladen, the 305 rides on tiptoe at the back but even on bumpy corners it keeps a firm footing, and can be thrown around in a thoroughly spirited fashion. Pressed to the limit, which is respectably high on 155 section tyres, it is still mild but predictable understeer all the way, as with the other two cars. The 305 also follows the form book in tucking in gently and safely on a trailing throttle if you start to run wide mid bend, allowing fine placement adjustments when hard pressed over twisty roads. Despite a recent ratio reduction (to make parking easier) the light steering is quite responsive and informative, with no more than a hint of the stodge that afflicts so many French cars. As with the Citroen, sharp changes in direction are accompanied by body tilt, though to a lesser degree, whereas the Astra corners all square with hardly any roll.

Heavy loads in the Peugeot and' Vauxhall inevitably compress the rear springs and to some extent upset the attitude: starting so tail-up, the problem - not a serious one in either car- is less acute in the Peugeot than in the Vauxhall. The Citroen, of course, is immune from load sensitivity with its self-levelling setup that retains an even keel no matter what you stuff in the back. Nor is the ride and handling upset by the carriage of cargo. Despite the space-saving geometric ingenuity of the Peugeot’s and Astra’s rear suspension, neither has the innate advantage of the Citroen when it comes to coping with heavy loads. That’s a very strong attribute in the GSA’s favour.

The fully powered brakes of the Citroen are less convincing. There’s virtually no travel in the pedal- effectively a pressure- sensitive valve - and delicate footwork is needed to apply and feather the brakes smoothly. The GS arrangement is less ‘touchy' than that of the CX, though, and you quickly adjust to it. Make no mistake about the stopping power: it’s fantastic. The disc/drum brakes of the other two cars work admirably, those of the Astra needing a firmer push than the more strongly servoed Peugeot’s. Both are pleasantly progressive, so delicacy is not as critical as it is in the Citroen.

Accommodation

One’s first eyeball impression is that the Peugeot, which has the longest wheelbase and overall length, must be the roomiest car of the trio. For people it is, for cargo it’s not, at least not with the seats in place. We were surprised to find that the Astra has marginally the biggest goods deck whether the rear seat is up or down. At 65in, it is a couple of inches longer than the Peugeot’s when extended, and wider by the same amount at the tail end. Between the modest wheelarch intrusions, there's nothing in it.

The Citroen’s straight-sided deck is neither as long nor as wide, although it’s much the lowest of the three, with a sill height of only 16.5in when the suspension’s not energised. There’s not even a bumper to lift over - or to soil your legs against- as Citroen have thoughtfully fitted the central section of it to the tailgate so it lifts out of the way, making loading as easy as it could possibly be. The tailgate is initially a little heavy to lift in consequence, though. The GS also has an extendable (and removeable) cargo cover that hides any goods behind the back seat. In the others, everything’s on view.

The tailgate of the Astra has only one gas strut support (both the others have two) and it doesn't lift so high or make such a good umbrella. But at its widest, it’s the Vauxhall that has the most yawning chasm, if not the tallest. The Citroen wins here (because of its very low floor and under-bonnet spare wheel), but the tailgate opening is almost a foot narrower than that of the other two cars. Nor is the stepped-deck extension as flat when the back seat is released (not as easy as it might be either) and tumbled forward. The Astra's back seat is particularly easy to tilt and replace, and it forms a completely flat extension. Neither has a split rear seat like the Peugeot, which gives the 305 three-seat-plus-luggage versatility, a very strong point in its favour. So is its ability to carry the heaviest (9.6cwt) payload, which is nearly 2cwt more than Citroen say the GSA can handle. The Vauxhal|’s payload is 9.4cwt.

The Peugeot’s individual back seats are also very simple to fold, and they can be removed altogether, making the deck even bigger than the Astra’s and vast by the standards of other small estates. Tall heavyweights may feel a bit hemmed in behind the low set single-spoke steering wheel of the GSA, which is narrower than that of the others. The low scuttle and switchgear satellites are very close to your knees, and there’s not much clearance _ between thighs and steering wheel either. With the deep central console (housing the radio) closing in on the left, and prominent door protrusions on the right, the driver is in more of a cockpit than a cabin. Nor does the seat go back far enough; another few inches of rearward adjustment would not go amiss for anyone over 6ft tall. The other two cars seem - and are - more spacious in the front, though that‘s not to say the GSA is cramped. Rearseat legroom is almost as generous as that in the Peugeot.

The 305’s dash design allows for generous stowage of oddments, with a scuttle-top tray, BMW style, a useful cubby and a large under-facia shelf. There's much less putting-down space up front in the Citroen and Vauxhall, though both have rigid door pockets -the Astra cavernous ones to supplement a long central tray.

Comfort

Aside from the possible problem of cramping for tall and corpulent drivers, comfort levels in the Citroen are unsurpassed by very few cars regardless of price, let alone by others in its class. Over the sort of undulations caused by foundation irregularities - humps, hollows, cambered ridges -the ride is outstanding, as close to the proverbial magic carpet as you can get. It is less impressive over sharp and broken edges, which can deal quite harsh and thumpy blows to the hydropneumatic springs, especially when dawdling: at speed, the GSA has a marvellously smooth and compliant stride. The seats are generally excellent too, softly cushioned high-backed armchairs that lack only a little lumbar support and fine micro-adjustment for the backrest- found only in the Astra among this trio. Plaid cloth upholstery, repeated on the doors, makes the cabin much more luxurious than those of the other cars, particularly the Peugeot which has rather plasticky, utilitarian decor (the more expensive GLS is much better appointed).

Despite the strong springs required to cope with heavy loads, the Peugeot also has an excellent ride, typically French in its pliant ability to smooth out the rough without undue disturbance, especially when the car’s laden. But, like the Citroen, it's rather thumpy over cats’ eyes and ridges, and tyre roar on coarse surfaces is quite loud. The front seats are not as good as the GSA’s: insufficient lumbar support causes slight slouching behind a wheel that’s higher set than in the Citroen and the cushions are far too short. The back seats, too, are flat-faced and not very supportive.

The Astra, like most German cars, is very firmly sprung and lacks the suppleness of its two French rivals. The suspension is very well controlled though, so vertical movement of the body, despite underlying jitters, is not of the gut-jarring, teeth-rattling sort. Firm yes, harsh no - and by no means uncomfortable. Some people, especially those with queasy tums, may even prefer the ride to that of the softer French cars. Like the suspension, the seats feel very hard, disconcertingly hard at first after the snug cushions of the Citroen. Yet no one suffered from numbness, let alone aches and pains, after a long stint at the wheel, reaffirming that the German approach of giving priority to anatomical shaping rather than pillow embracement is, in the long run, arguably better than that of the French who take the opposite view. The GM seats are too low for many people though.

Extended in the gears, the enigmatic Citroen can be disturbingly raucous. Yet when cruising in top it is delightfully quiet, underlining its superiority as a motorway cruiser. The sizzling transmission, tyre thump and roar, and high-pitched gear whine detract a little from mechanical refinement. But on the whole, the GSA is relatively peaceful. The rorty engine of the Astra creates as many decibels as the Citroen’s air-cooled boxer - considerably more during fast cruising - but it’s a nicer noise, a crisp thrum rather than a gruff roar, and is less intrusive, or perhaps we should say less objectionable, when hammering through the gears.

Driven with restraint, the Peugeot is quieter, less rorty than the Astra, but not so relaxed or peaceful as the Citroen on a motorway. Persistent gear whine soon passes unnoticed, but wind and tyre noises can be quite intrusive, depending on the road surface and weather conditions.

All three cars have effective heating and ventilation systems. The Peugeot’s water- blender makes the setting of the illuminated temperature control very sensitive - it tends to be on or off- but output is good and the central ventilation, comprising a diffuser on top of the facia and conventional grilles on its face, is particularly efficient and easy to operate. There are no supplementary facia-end vents, though, as in the other two cars. Those in the Astra serve as side-window demisters, linked to the effective heater controlled by simple vertical slides. Central fan-boostable multi-directional vents deliver ambient air only, and plenty of it. In the Citroen’s excellent new setup, it’s the side vents (chip grilles have superseded the old eyeballs) that deliver cold air. Those in the middle are linked to the heater which, despite the problems associated with air-cooled engines, work very well. Three slides give progressive regulation.

Driver Appeal

If taut, roll-free, sharp-edged handling tops your priorities, the Astra's your car. Nor can its superior performance be lightly dismissed. In the main, it has good controls too, though the precise gearchange is sometimes reluctant to slot into first at rest, let alone on the move, and second can need a heavy hand to overcome baulking synchromesh. A much bigger niggle, and one we’ve aired before, is the awkward height of the brake pedal, set several inches above the accelerator, so you have to lift your foot (and perhaps bump your knee on the steering wheel) rather than simply pivot it.  A potentially dangerous setup.  The switchgear including two chunky labelled stalks is excellent, though once you’ve fathomed out the C|troen’s ingenious satellite setup which you play me an accordion with your fingertips, everything else seems a but archaic. It may not be very pretty but ergonomically it's brilliant though non self cancelling indicators can remain an irritation and the drum speedometer viewed through a magnifying glass that picks up every reflection going is not for us. Still these things are among the many idiosyncratic ingredients that help give the Citroen its individuality and that’s one of its greatest attractions. Compared with the first GSA we tried the action of the gearchange despite its slightly clonky waggle-stick lever was delightful- light and easy and pleasant to use. Clutch takeup is fluid and progressive so smooth driving is no problem But the handbrake would be better if the trigger release was  an the right side of the handle

The 305 has a very conventional Eurostyle dash and control layout (Peugeot have dropped their long running round-the- square lights stalk you now simply twist it). As in the other two cars the instrument panel is pretty sparse and dominated by a speedometer with very cluttered imperial and metric calibrations which make it difficult at a glance to take a snap reading. The switchgear in the main is well placed, the pedals nicely aligned the gearchange particularly light and easy to stroke through its gate. But why a truncated hockey-stick knob which is unpleasant to pull?

As in most estates, everyone has a good panoramic view out of all three cars. All have rear wash/wipe systems - and essential they are too, the back windows are quickly plastered in bad weather. That of the Astra has an efficient pantograph action, the Citroen’s a two-switch control - one for wash/wipe, the other for intermittent operation. It seems a silly bit of penny pinching on VauxhaIl’s part to deprive Astra estate owners of a dipping interior mirror when hatchback users are supplied with one. The Vauxhall doesn‘t have a clock either (only the Citroen does here) or a trip mileage recorder.  

Conclusions

A premium of a little over £200, assuming you pay the full whack, is a small price to pay for the Citroen’s five-speed gearbox, self-levelling suspension and superior cabin appointments, so initial outlay is not a deciding factor here. Depreciation could be though. Even with a two-year 65,000- mile warranty on the suspension, traders (outside the importer’s own dealer network) still tend to be wary of used Citroens because they don’t understand them. Values take a tumble in consequence, which is good news for the secondhand buyer, but not for the original owner who has to weigh that heavy depreciation, however misguided, against the car's other virtues. And they are many and varied. Faced with a long cross-country journey, four up with luggage, the GSA is the car we‘d choose of these three in which to travel. For comfort, it’s in a class of its own with a marvellous ride and four good seats. Moreover, as a load carrier it has the innate and unique advantage of a suspension system that’s unaffected by weight, so the GSA’s poise and meticulous manners remain consistently good. However, to us it’s still the car’s strong, highly individualistic and - once you’ve got used to it - very rewarding character that remains its greatest attraction.

If it’s sheer carrying capacity you want, then clearly the Peugeot and Vauxhall have more to offer. Normally, the Astra has the slightly larger cargo deck, but to set against that is the Peugeot’s split rear seat that can easily be removed entirely to give even more room than in the Astra. Such versatility is a very strong suit for a family workhorse, let alone a farmyard one. The 305’s unusually long wheelbase also gives it the most spacious cabin for people. Economy, lightweight controls, comfort and good handling are other attributes of this pleasant and practical car.

The dashabout enthusiast is likely to find the rorty Astra, with its strong performance and sharp all-square handling, the most entertaining to drive. As a holdall hotshot, it’s the ace of the pack, an efficient, economical, capacious estate with a touch of the thoroughbred in its road manners. But it doesn’t have the versatility of the Peugeot or the comfort and character of the peaceful Citroen. 


VAUXHALL ASTRA PEUGEOT CITROEN
Capacity (cc) 1297 1290 1299
Bore (mm) 75 78 79.4
Stroke (mm) 73.4 67.5 65.6
Compression (to one) 9.2 9.2 8.7
Valve gear ohc sohc Twin ohc
Carburettor Varajet 11 Solex Dual choke Weber
Power (DIN/rpm) 75/5800 65/6000 65/5500
Torque (DIN/RPM) 74.4/3800 69.4/3750 72.2/3500
TRANMISSION


Type Manual four-speed Manual four-speed Manual five-speed
Ratios/mph/1000 rpm


First 3.636/4.29 3.91/4.6 3.818/4.47
Second 2.188/7.13 2.2617/7.5 2.294/7.45
Third 1.429/10.92 1.49/11.5 1.500/11.3
Fourth 0.969/16.1 1.01/16.9 1.133/15.08
Fifth - - 0.9118/18.74
Final drive ratio (to one) 4.18 4.067 4.125
CHASSIS AND BODY

Construction Integral, all steel Integral, all steel Integral, all steel
Front suspension MacPherson struts, coils, anti-roll bar Independent MacPherson struts Hydropneumatic, transverse arms,
Rear suspension Transverse torsion beam, trailing arms, coil springs, anti-roll bar Independent trailing arms, coil springs Hydropneumatic trailing arms, anti-roll bar
Steering Rack and pinion Rack and pinion Rack and pinion
Turns lock to lock 3.9 4 3.8
Turning circle 33.4ft 35.6ft 31.6ft
Wheels 5.5Jx13 5Bx14 4.5Jx15
Brakes Disc front, drums rear servo assisted Disc front, drums rear servo assisted Discs all round powered
DIMENSIONS (inches)

Wheelbase 99 103.1 100
Front track 55.1 54.4 54
Rear track 55.4 53.1 52
Overall length 165.6 167.6 164
Overall width 64.5 64.1 64
Fuel tank capacity (galls) 11 11 9.5
Kerb weight 1995 2156 2127
CABIN DIMENSIONS (inches)

Front headroom 38 36 36
Front legroom (seat forward/back) 32.5/38.5 32/40.5 32/39.5
Rear headroom 36 35.5 33.5
Rear legroom (seat forward/back) 24.5/30.5 33/25.5 26/34
Front shoulder room 53 54 52
Rear shoulder room 53 52.5 49
Luggage length (min/max) 42/65 41/63 36/60
Luggage width (min/max) 44.5/51.5 44.5/49.5 37.5/42
Loading height 21.5 22.5 16.5
Tailgate opening (min/max) 44.5/51.5 44.5/49.5 37.5/42
Rear opening height 30 32 33.5
MAINTENANCE

Major service time 3.1hr 4hr 4hr
Sump (capacity/oil grade) 6.4/10W30 7/10W40 6.2/20W50
Oil change intervals 6000 5000 5000
Time for removing/replacing engine/gearbox 3.7hr 14.00/8.00hr 10.10hr
Time for replacing clutch 1.1hr 1.00hr 8.4hrs
Time for renewing front pads 0.8hr 1.00hr 0.8hr
Time for renewing exhaust system 0.9hr 1.25hr 1.1hr
Number of UK dealers 600 243 270
MECHANICAL SPARES PRICES

Engine £196.00 (short) £710.09 (new) £362.85
Gearbox £408.00 £396.44 (new) £292.57
Clutch unit £35.05 (exch) £85.95 £36.25
Brake disc £13.50 £21.39 £18.34
Fuel pump £11.10 (exch) £8.56 £13.56
Exhaust system £72.30 £54.68 £44.57
Dynamo/Alternator £82.00 (exch) 43.64 (exch) £54.23 (exch)
Starter motor £57.00 (exch) 41.40 (exch) 50.94 (exch)
Speedometer £16.55 (exch) £24.23 £27.42
BODY PART PRICES


Front door (primer) £27.70 (outer skin) £68.09 £73.19
Front bumper £13.97 £59.81 £47.53
Bonnet (primer) £51.00 £79.68 £49.42
Windscreen £27.60 £21.26 £49.42
Headlamp unit (each) £23.10 £27.06 £36.33
TOTAL COST INCLUDING CAR TAX & VAT

Price as tested £4669.38 £4579.70 £4792.72
ACCELERATION



0-30 0-40 0-50 0-60 0-70 0-80
Vauxhall 4.1 6.2 9.1 13.3 18.7 31.0
Peugeot 4.5 7.1 10.7 15.2 22.0 -
Citroen 4.4 7.2 10.5 14.8 21.0 31.5
IN TOP 20-40 30-50 40-50 50-70 60-80
Vauxhall 13.2 12.8 13.1 15.5 20.3
Peugeot 13.0 12.5 14.0 17.5 23.5
Citroen (fifth) 16.5 16.6 17.7 18.1 23.2
SPEED IN GEARS* First Second Third Fourth Fifth
Vauxhall 28 46 71 99

Peugeot 29 48 74 92

Citroen 29 48 74 98** 99
* at 6500rpm in intermediates ***favourable conditions only
FUEL CONSUMPTION Test mpg Range Urban 56mph 75mph
Vauxhall 30.5 28-38 28.8 45.6 34.3
Peugeot 32.4 28-37 29.7 44.1 31.0
Citroen 30.8 28-37 28.8 40.9 32.1
©2010 CitroŽnŽt/1981 Car. Many thanks to Steve Park.