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Citroen Xsara 2.0 HDI 90 SX 5-dr - 4,250 miles



##citxsar.jpg --Right##THIS long term test report is based largely on a marathon journey of just over 2,000 miles that I undertook over four days from my home near Peterborough to a football match in Monaco at the end of August with two friends. I'd been introduced to the 90bhp Xsara at its UK launch in July and was impressed with the new high pressure direct injection common rail engine's performance, both in terms of pulling power and refinement.

But a half-hour drive on country lanes and town streets can never really match the total driving experience provided by a journey that takes in UK motorways and the French peage. I had high expectations of the Xsara's fuel economy since I neither wanted to be stopping regularly nor pay out wads of French francs - and the car delivered. Neither I nor my co-driver 'spared the horses', particularly on our 20-hour outward journey. But the car showed no signs of flagging. It returned an impressive mpg rate of 46.7, down slightly on the last long term test review, but it was undoubtedly doing much greater speeds this time round and in a more aggressive way.

The HDi engine is a little lack lustre in first and you only get a real sense of its power from second. It is also incredibly smooth running at full peage speed, with the rev counter nestling at around 3,000rpm and plenty of power to spare. The fact that there were three people in the car, plus two tents and associated camping gear for the long weekend, made little difference to the Xsara's performance. Since then, however, while the car has proved equally capable on the tame commuting drives, there have been a couple of niggles.

I've had to top up the oil already (hence the รบ5.15 expenditure) , the driver's side electric window stuck for a couple of days during the recent spell of hot weather - which meant paying at a Macdonalds' drive-through via the electric sunroof - and one of the audio speakers has developed a rattle. These three are a major disappointment considering the treasure trove that lies under the bonnet.

Jeremy Bennett

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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