Citroen Xsara Hatchback 1997-2000

Citroen Xsara Hatchback 1997-2000

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Pretty cheap to buy and run
  • Come with a lot of equipment
  • Good ride quality


  • Dated design
  • Some prove to be unreliable


The Citroen Xsara comes as three models; the coupe, estate and hatchback. By providing such a versatile car Citroen are hoping they will appeal to a wider audience of drivers. The Xsara offers more space than most of its rivals with ample boot space in the estate and enough room for 5 adults in all three models. It also comes with a range of engines that have proven to be very reliable and lively.

Exterior and Interior

The Xsara coupe comes in the form of a three-door while the hatchback and estate versions come as five doors. Inside all of them there is sufficient space to fit five adults in although, the shoulder room in the rear may be a tight squeeze for three large passengers in the coupe and there is only a lap-belt for the centre passenger in all of the vehicles. The size of the boot is quite big being larger than most of their rivals especially in the estate, and with the split-fold rear seats in all three models, this space can be increased drastically. The controls are well laid out on the dash, but they do look cheaper than that of their rivals. The seats are very soft which feels comfortable for shorter drives although they don't offer much support for those longer journeys and so may prove uncomfortable. The Xsara comes with a lot of equipment with all models coming with air con and alloy wheels as standard and most include a CD player. Most of models of Xsara come with driver and front passenger airbags as well as side airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Performance and Economy

The 75bhp 1.4-litre petrol isn't worth considering in any of the models to its lacks power which comes to light especially when the car is fully loaded. The 1.9-litre diesel also isn't really worth considering as they were phased out in 1999 for the more powerful 2.0-litre engines and so are only available in pre-facelift models which overall, were less reliable. The best engines to go for would be either the 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine or either of the 2.0-litre HDI common rail diesel engines which come with 90 or 110bhp. The 1.6-litre petrol comes with fractionally less power than the 1.8-litre, but this is hardly noticeable and it manages 36mpg, 3mpg more than the 1.8-litre and 6mpg more than the 2.0-litre petrol. The two 2.0-litre diesels manage 54mpg on the 90bhp engine and 52mpg with the 110bhp alternative. Both of these diesels are incredibly smooth and powerful and would be the better choice, especially for the estate, which may be used for ferrying around larger loads. The cars aren't too expensive when it comes to insuring them either, with the 1.6-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel models falling in group 9, the 1.8-litre into group 11, and the 2.0 petrol lies in group 16.

Like to Drive

The Xsara offers pretty good ride quality with the soft ride ironing out most of the bumps in the road. Depending on what model you choose the handling ranges from sharp and responsive in the hatchback to no feel being returned to the driver and poor grip in the estate. The body roll is also noticeable in the estate model when taking corners at speed.

Faults and Repairs

The main faults with all three models, as with most Citroens, is the electrics which can end up costing you a lot. The estate has also had several recalls with various faults over the years, however, all the faults should now have been corrected and it has faired well in various reliability surveys. Other common problems found on all of the derivatives are warped brake discs, the clutch, the suspension and the automatic gearboxes.