The following is an edited version of my first Xantiana column - if you want to read the unabridged version, join the CitroŽn Car Club.
my wife and I now have two apparently identical and very bulky plips on
our key rings. This has come about as a result of our both running
modern CitroŽns. Presumably the two CitroŽn family is not all that
unusual. A suggestion to the folks at Slough (since they read this
publication) - please ask Paris to: a) reduce the size of the plips,
and b) produce them in colours other than black
I have now driven the Xantia and the following are my observations on it.
Xantia is an LX with manual window winders. In an Iconoclast some time
ago, I was critical of the fashion for electric windows (too much
weight - increased fuel consumption, etc.). The one thing I failed to
realise is that small children find a manual winder a great temptation.
The solution is simple - a mechanical lock for the rear winders.
Xantia represents a considerable improvement over its predecessor, the
BX, in all areas but one - the BX’s steering is much more informative
than the Xantia’s which is both very light and lifeless. Doubtless one
becomes accustomed to this. Suspension
is less prone to pitching under acceleration or braking and the car
does not roll as much as the BX. Ride quality on this non-Hydractive
car is very good - better than on my XM and better than the BX. Road
noise is better suppressed than on either the BX or XM too. Engine
noise is also much lower than on the BX and the gearchange is much more
precise. The 1,9 turbo diesel has more torque than the 1,7 turbo diesel
but there is a little bit of turbo lag which was rarely apparent with
the smaller engine. Once the turbo is on stream however, the engine is
very smooth and powerful. Subjectively the Xantia seems quicker than
the BX but this might be a manifestation of the lower noise. The car
accelerates without any drama or fuss. The brakes squeak at low speeds.
I am impressed by the Xantia. It represents a considerable improvement
over the BX, especially in terms of refinement and build quality. In
some areas, it even betters the XM. I quite like the styling although
Xantiae are so common these days that it has regrettably become
somewhat anonymous. With the BX, there were plenty of body style
variants - spoilers, smoked plastic panels in the C pillars, differing
bumper treatments, etc. all of which created the illusion of
individuality. To my untrained eye, all Xantiae look the same.
Differences where they do occur are so subtle that one must be an
“anorak” in order to appreciate them. Furthermore, the shape is not as
“different” as the BX was in comparison to its competitors.
One final gripe - the glove box continues the grand CitroŽn tradition of being minuscule - unlike that fitted to the XM.
© Julian Marsh 1998