I've had my Citroen AX for about 3.5 years now. I needed a car in a hurry, and was offered the chance to buy it. I'd never had a car with a diesel engine, but had heard all the horror stories.....'Slow and noisy', 'Spare parts cost a fortune' etc. etc. Anyway, I decided to give it a chance, and I'm really glad I did. One of the best things about it, is its incredible miles to the gallon. I recently did a 400 mile round trip and only used about £30 of diesel. It's not quite so good around town, but it isn't bad. It's not that noisy either!! OK, it's a little bit louder than some cars, but no worse than a lot of others. It's got reasonable acceleration as well. Obviously I wouldn't recommend it if you fancy yourself as the next Michael Schumacher, but for a decent, economical car which will get you from A to B reliably, I don't think you can go wrong. Parts probably aren't as cheap as they would be for petrol engines, and I did have a 3 week wait for one part, but fortunately problems have been few and far between. The boot is big, and the back seat goes down easily to provide a huge amount of space for transporting just about anything. It's got a 1.5 engine, but isn't difficult to handle and is a very comfortable car. My Citroen is now 10 years old, but I think it'll be another Citroen when I need a new car.
I purchased a car (Saxo Forte 1.1) in Feb 2000 on Citroen's Elect 3 scheme. It's called the Elect 3 scheme because over 3 years (as I was informed) you pay an amount each month and at the end of the 3 years you can do one of three things - 1) pay off the amount remaining, in my case £3736 after having paid over £7k for a Saxo over 3 years, 2) part-ex the car on a new Citroen or 3) "simply return the car to us and hand the keys back and walk away". Well I opted for option 3 above as a) I don't want another Citroen and b) I don't want to end up paying nigh on £11k for a b***dy Saxo. So on the 3rd February (2 days before the 3 years on my agreement were due to expire) I tried to return my car to the showroom from where I bought it following their helpful advice of "simply returning the car to us blah, blah blah". How wrong could I have been - firstly I don't return the car to the showroom, the finance company sends someone to collect it and inspect it. Secondly the agreement is for 37 months not the 36 months that us mere mortals believe are in 3 years! Hence I have had to insure my car for an additional month at a cost of £44 to me. I am also now liable to get an MOT certificate for the car as it is over 3 years old. Marvellous!! I have to wait for them to collect and inspect my car on the date they have given me, they've been most considerate in giving me a time of 9.00 - 5.30 (i.e. all day) for which I have to have the car available for them. Perish the thought I should have a job to do or something (which by the way I have!). They have also stipulated that I have to have the car cleaned inside and out - well as far as I'm concerned there's no bird c**p on the outside and no crisp bags on the inside so it's clean! My summary of this Elect 3 idea is to avoid it at all costs, they were more than keen to get me in the car and to drive it out of their showroom but now it comes to the oth
er end of the deal and they are making it as awkward as possible for me to hand the car back. You'd be much wiser to get a loan and buy a car (new or second hand) outright which is what I've done with the help of Sainsbury's Bank when I bought my lovely new MX-5.