Relatively poor contract hire rates and residual values that are only average weigh against it, but its worst fault is a lack of pizzazz despite dynamics that make it fun to drive and lots of thoughtful attention to detail.
The Coupe borrows from the clever marketing strategy Citroen adopted with the Saxo supermini, where identical appearances masked 'warm' and 'hot' hatches with very different performance. Sales figures that make the Saxo the most popular sports hatch in its sector back up the wisdom of that thinking.
Citroen hopes the Coupe will give the Xsara range the shot in the arm it needs, and with a choice of three engines and two trim levels in the three-model range the ingredients are there for success. As with the Saxo, VTR designates the 'warm' hatches - with either 1.6-litre 90bhp or 1.8-litre 112bhp engines - while the VTS tag is reserved for a veritable fireball of a car powered by the 167bhp 2.0 16v unit as fitted in the Peugeot 306 GTI6.
Prices start at ú13,160 for the 1.6 VTR, rise to ú15,285 for the 1.8 VTR and top out at ú17,515 for the 2.0 VTS.
It's the 1.8 VTR tested here that is expected to be the range's best-seller, and with a specification that includes air conditioning, alloy wheels and an alarm as standard, Citroen appears to have done its homework to give the car the showroom appeal to attract younger buyers and improve the Xsara's image.