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For my sins, in 1998, I rashly volunteered to take over the Xantiana column in the CitroŽnian...

The column is now written by Chris Andrews.

My late Father ran an early base model 1,9D which is pictured left, below left and below.

My wife bought a Turbo Diesel LX in August 1998 and it is pictured below.  This was then replaced by a VSX TD Estate.

There were no mechanical problems to report on my wife's car although my Father's suffered a few minor problems.

The following is an edited version of my first Xantiana column - if you want to read the unabridged version, join the CitroŽn Car Club.

Both 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.

Christina’s 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.

The 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.

Overall, 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