Citroen has done much to shed its quirky image of late. Reliability has been added to an armoury which already included Technically advanced engineering. The Xantia HDI sums new Citroen up in a nutshell. Firstly it has the old Citroen values: Hydropneumatic suspension, powered brakes, variable power steeringl; which add up to a comfortable driving experience. Add to this the new Citroen values, technology and value. Technology comes in the shape of one of the most advanced diesel engines you can buy, high pressure direct injection, common rail technology and an intercooler. Value means you get ABS, automatic climate control, electric windows, driver, passenger and side airbags. Performance is strong, especially in the mid range yet economy is exceptional. Motorway driving will bring a 55mpg average. Town driving around 45mpg. In motorway driving 800 miles on a tank of diesel is easily achievable. Best range from a single tank? 939! Motorway driving is where the Xantia excels. Its supple suspension and powerful engine mean that miles disappear beneath the wheels in a most agreeable manner. The seats are comfortable for the longest journeys and the driving position excellent. Around town the weight of the engine is noticeable, the front end feels heavy, but the power steering means that this never becomes a problem. In terms of reliability the Xantia has been 100%. After 39k miles the front tyres are just due for replacement, whilst the front brake pads lasted for 30k miles. Gripes? The rear headrests have to be removed to fold the rear seats, which can be annoying. And the lack of a front centre armrest is only partially compensated for by the extending door arm rests. To sum up, owning a Xantia has been a surprisingly pleasant experience. Other than fuel and normal servicing items have been zero and the fuel costs have been painless. On the continent, where diesel is cheaper and dis
tances greater a Xantia HDI is unbeatable value. In the UK its fuel range, ability to deal with broken road surfaces and reliability make it an excellent choice.