If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful car that’s actually well equipped and full of character, the Citroen Xsara could be the one for you. It’s an ‘oldy’ but a ‘goody’, and delivers great value for money. While it might not be super stylish and high tech like some of the latest offerings from the French manufacturer, it does the job very well and never seems to complain.
The Xsara was produced between 1997 and 2006, and was the last of the ‘older’ generation of Citroens. Available as a 3 and 5 door hatchback as well as a 5 door estate, it was quite popular during its time and sales figures were very impressive indeed, not least because of its incredibly low price. To look at the Xsara in its usual guise, you wouldn’t immediately think it to be a motorsport contender, but in actual fact it is one of the most successful rally cars of all time. Numerous WRC wins, awards and championships give it a serious pedigree.
The regular road going car however is quite friendly and approachable in terms of design. It has a happy appearance to it from the outside and seems quite docile. It’s much the same story on the inside to be honest, and you can tell it’s a low priced vehicle. The finish isn’t the best around and there’s not a great deal of room, but you do get a good sized boot and a lot of safety equipment. The cockpit isn’t the most intuitive place to sit, but it seems to work.
Out on the road the Xsara is easy to drive and gets on with things pretty well. The steering is competent and can take you through town, on motorways or around car parks with no trouble. While the ride isn’t exactly the most refined out there, it’s not massively uncomfortable, but harsh country roads could be a step too far. You’ll also find some punchy and quite frugal engines, with the 2.0 litre diesel being the best.
The simple fact is this is an older car, so it’s not going to be as well designed, equipped or as good to drive as modern ones; expecting it to be is just naïve.
Being very well priced in its time, you really can have a field day now because there are some amazing second hand bargains on offer. Motors.co.uk lists over 150,000 different cars for sale at low prices, and quality is very high. What this means is that you won’t have to look that hard to find a decent used Citroen Xsara, and then you’ll pay next to nothing for it.
So really the Citroen Xsara is an out-dated car that still has quite a lot of appeal. It’s a friendly looking motor that is rather plain in terms of interior design and driving experience, but that doesn’t matter. What you get is a solid car for very little money, so that makes it an ideal choice for new drivers, people on a budget or even families looking to save a bit of cash.