Fleet News

Citroen Xsara 1.9 TD SX estate - 14,280 miles



##citxsae.jpg --Right##AFTER more than 14,000 miles on our fleet, the Citroen Xsara Turbo D SX 1.9 estate has gone back to its maker with its reputation for reliability intact. With the exception of a heater control which failed to recognise the difference between hot and cold at 13,500 miles, but which mysteriously fixed itself before we had a chance to book it in with the local dealer, there were no faults and no unexpected expenses.

In fact it cost us less to run than anticipated: our drivers beat the official combined fuel consumption figure of 42.8mpg by 1.43mpg. At ú2.94 for a gallon of diesel over 14,280 miles, that was a saving of ú30 - and it could have been more, because one driver got a real life figure of 49.2mpg. A Volkswagen Golf 1.9 GL TDI estate, however, does things better. The combined EC figure is 56.60mpg, and while the VW is nearly ú1,000 dearer (ú16,090 on-the-road), it will retain more of its value over three years/60,000 miles. CAP Future Residual Values estimates the Golf will be worth 44% of price new, compared with 35% for the Citroen.

A Vauxhall Astra CD 2.0Di estate with air-conditioning costs ú15,920 also betters the Xsara on fuel economy (47.10mpg combined) and is awarded a 35% RV by CAP after three years/60,000 miles - the same RV as a Peugeot 306 1.9 TD GLX estate, costing ú16,323. A Ford Focus Zetec 1.8-litre TDdi diesel estate (ú14,350 on-the-road) should achieve 38% and 55.4mpg.

So - the major competitors burn less oil and are viewed as least as favourably by the fortune-tellers. But there are still two good reasons to consider the Xsara Turbo D estate as a fleet workhorse. The first is purchase price: it beats most competitors, the Focus being the major exception. The second is its biggest advantage - practical loadspace. Seats up, it provides 528 litres, seats down 1,512, not far short of the Focus, and it provides this in a proper, all-square, low-loading cargo swallower.

It handles and drives well (although its turbodiesel engine behaves in typical diesel fashion) and it is comfortable. But the conservatively-styled Xsara estate is fighting its corner in a very tough market. Price is important, but specification is a mite meagre for trim level where most fleets would expect ABS and a passenger airbag would be provided as standard rather than options. As an estate all-rounder, it does its job well. As a car to get the aspirational juices flowing, it's too staid.

Gervais Seymour

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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