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Xsara…What a strange name! Perhaps Citroen had a valid reason for naming two of their cars with ridiculous names, maybe we will never know.
I bought my brand new Xsara 1.4i, 5-door saloon, in silver grey in January of 2000. My husband had absolutely nothing to do with the choice of car (‘what a brave man’, I hear all you fellow males cry!), and I suppose that it was the efficiency of the dealership which finally swayed me to by this particular make of car above all of the others that I had seemingly spent days wandering around.
I didn’t particularly want a new car, but spent a while checking out some offers at the local garages and noticed that I could have a brand new Xsara for just a little more than a 2 year old one (around 7500 used, and 9995 with cash back new). This sounded too good a bargain to me, after all I am well know to be the Queen of bargain hunters (I wonder if David Dickinson is the King?).
I used the main dealership for Citroen in Derby on Alfreton Road, just outside the city centre, which at the time was called Mark Pritchard, but has since changed name to Bristol Street. This worried me a little as I found the service at this garage when I bought the car excellent, but I need not have panicked, as they remain thoroughly concerned with providing excellent customer care.
My initial instincts have proved right, I believe, and I have definitely found the Xsara represents excellent value for money. It is a very good- looking car, although not too flashy, and I think the subsequent version is kind on the eye too.
I find it a nice car to drive, as it handles well for its size, and is comfortable inside. I have comfortably carried three adult passengers in the back seat, with a boot full of suitcases too, and had no complaints about lack of space. (Sorry but I cannot comment about the suitability of the backseat for other more primal activities, as I am an old married woman!).
The driver seat position cannot only be altered in the usual ways, backwards and forwards, and the back moved up and down. You can also adjust the height of the seat, which is excellent for us lady drivers who may not be that tall. It sure helps whilst driving if you can see over the steering wheel! In addition to this you can position the steering wheel to be at a comfortable height and distance from you too. These features make the driving experience all the more pleasant.
I have driven quite a number of cars, ranging from very small (my first love was a Vauxhall Nova) to large, high performance vehicles (I sometimes get to play in Dads XK8), and in my opinion the Xsara is a good drive. Whilst it appears to be quite a large car, it certainly is quite quick off the mark, even though it has only a 1.4 engine. The added bonus of this is that your road fund licence is at a slightly reduced rate. Having just received my DVLA reminder for our other car (a 1.8), I am glad that I don’t have to pay two lots of 160 pounds!
The boot space is very generous, and I have been able to safely transport two adult mountain bikes with the rear seats folded, including all of the other biking paraphernalia needed for a day out in the hills, with no problems. The only problem I have had with the boot is that the latch has started to stick and can be difficult to open. I am sure however that at the next service this will be remedied, along with the general little problems associated with a car that has travelled over 65,000 miles!
The Xsara would be an ideal family car. I have found it to be very reliable, and it feels safe to be in. I presume that the space in the car would allow for easy fitting of child seats (although I have no kids to try this with), and if you wish to fit the seat in the front passenger side, you can turn off the airbag, so that in the event of a bump your child does not get harmed.
All in all the Xsara has proved to be a reliable all round vehicle, even after doing so many miles. Not only this, but it has proved to my other half that women can make good choices when sent out to do something that men often see as their duty!
So if you are looking for a new car, why not pop down to your Citroen dealer and test one out. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.