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I like French cars!
My last 5 cars have been French and there has been nothing to tempt me away from them.It was easy, then when I needed to buy a second car 10 months ago to make the decision. Preferably the car had to be fairly big, my other car is a Citroen AX, but I needed a family car. My Peugeot 505GTi had been stolen 18 months ago and I had tried to cope with just the little car. It was fine until we wanted holidays or outings- not enough leg room for my lanky teenagers and not enough luggage space! Have you ever been on holiday with four females? The luggage requirements are immense - and yes we all do need to take one huge suitcase each and at least three pieces of handluggage per person!I missed my huge old bus so much!
I was pushed into getting the extra car when the AX had to go for a major operation (courtesy of an RAC blunder- maybe an op on that sometime!). It was going to be away for 3 weeks. I teach in a boarding school in the middle of nowhere. You know the sort- ex stately home.The upshot was, no car no work. If I don't go in for any reason I do not get paid. Such is the sorry lot of the music teacher. I was left then with no choice; I could hire a car or I could buy another cheapish second hand one. So there we have it- I set off with my only available five hours to go car shopping.
I had given myself a budget of a maximum of three and a half thousand. Ideally I wanted diesel and an estate car. Sadly, that was not to be as time to shop was very limited indeed and nowhere in a travelleable distance had anything in my price range.
I won't bore you with all the others I looked at as this is a Xantia opinion!
I finally settled on a 1993 Citroen Xantia SX. It cost £2,000 with 6 months tax and a three month warranty.
It is a large family car with many good features.
It is very comfortable and roomy with plush velour seats. There is loads of leg room for everyone. The windscreen is large and the drivers seat is adjustable in every conceivable direction, thus giving the driver optimum visibility.This is extremely handy if you are a bit of a half pint like me and with short legs! I am only 5'2" and this sometimes gives me difficulty driving certain cars. I always struggled with my Dad's classic MGB roadster - life is unfair sometimes! Younger sister goes off in it, long blonde tresses streaming behind her in the wind, whereas me? I have to drive it virtually lying down! Do we feel an op on sibling rivalry coming on?!
Oh well, back to the Xantia... it has a good quality stereo,map pockets behind the front seats and a not ever so large glove compartment. The instrument panel is comprehensive and easy to see. Oh, it has a useful little nook behind the hand brake to put your mobile phone in! It has a touchpad just in front of the gear stick. This is the immobiliser control panel. You have to punch in a four digit pin or the car won't start. Don't forget to tell anyone working on the car about it or give them the pin! I have been most unpopular on two occasions . One was quite recently when a friend offered to see why it would not start. We thought I had bought a fivers worth of duff petrol the day before. After a couple of hours he came in and said there was no petrol getting through at all, could I go and try to start it while he looked at the engine at the same time. Fine, I had just finished my mornings teaching so I got into the car. I put in the key, tapped in the code..... "Kim, what are you doing?" "Putting in the code, Kev!" "Code?!! It has an immobiliser?" "Erm- yes. Oh dear, very sorry!" Needless to say he had sorted the problem out, probably two hours before he said! It started first time. I was Not popular, I can tell you.
For those of you that don't know, this means that the suspension is self adjusting.It goes up and down.I had never had this before and it is a bit disconcerting to start with, or if you regularly drive another car.
WARNING!!!! When you start the car you need to wait for the suspension to come up and level itself before you drive off. There is a warning light that says STOP which goes out when it is ready to drive. It is easy to forget. I recently parked in a multi storey car park which had wood barriers low down on the concrete in each bay. I think it is to stop you driving too far forward and scratching your car on the wall.I alway use this carpark, so I know the wood bit is there. However I had not allowed for my "special" suspension and the car had gone down too far onto the wood. This would have posed no problem at all had I noticed, or had I waited for my suspension to come up. I forgot. We heard a very slight noise but I didn't think anything of it until daughter no 1 said " Mum- is that your number plate lying in the parking bay?" . Just as well she noticed as I would not have done. I am always in too much of a rush you see. You must also be careful parking too near to kerbs for the same reason. That can do nasty damage to the uderneath of your bodywork! No, I haven't done that as well! Not yet anyway! The moral to this tale is that if you concentrate and don't rush into driving off you will have no problems at all. I am just a twit!
It does give a fabulously comfy ride, though. There is a lever inside the car to adjust the level to a very high position for servicing. You are not supposed to drive with it in that position, although I know some people do to go over high ground. It isn't a good idea,although I have done it to go through a flood!It makes the car really judder and jerk.Try not to do it, is my advice. There is a special position for if you are heavily laden and that is very useful when you go on holiday.
BITS AND BOBS:
Electric sunroof, electric windows with one touch control on the drivers which is a nice safety feature and central locking. I believe the later models have air conditioning.Mine doesn't but the heater and blowers do a very good job and there is the sunroof so I am not complaining.
It is a big engine so it is not wonderful. I think I get about 30mpg on the motorway and less around town obviously. It has a big tank and it costs me about £70 to fill it.
SERVICING: Just hope nothing goes wrong with the suspension! The costs are fairly standard and on the whole things in the engine are reasonably accessible. It is French though, so parts are on the pricey side.
The car handles really well. It has powered steering and ABS braking system. It turns on a sixpence. The acceleration is very good. I often leave people standing at the lights!
Yes! It is huge. The back seats go totally flat too, if required. This has facilitated bringing back quite large pieces of furniture from Ikea. We girls can get all our luggage in easily and I was able to move daughter no1 back from uni in Birmingham in on go. It took three trips in the AX.
I am sorry I cannot remember my insurance group, but it only costs about £100 more per annum than my AX, which I think is quite good.
It is a super car, and when I replace it it may well be with a newer model. Without doubt, the French are the experts on comfort and style
We used to have an elderly BX, gave many years of faithful service before the suspension finally - and uneconomically - died on us. A reliable workhorse of a car, but I share your problem with the big car/short legs dilemma. (Conversely my husband resents folding his 6 foot frame into a tiny hatchback! We now compromise with a medium Mazda and endless adjustments). Off topic, I really appreciate both the compliment of your Trust and your interesting comments. Cazz xx
water-witch 29.10.2001 23:33
No, they don't all have the hydraulic suspension, it is mainly the big cars!My little AX doesnt have it.