The Citroën Xantia was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1993 as
a replacement for the very popular BX. There were many shared features with the BX running gear but the Xantia was designed at the outset to be a larger and heavier car that would extend BX appeal into the large family class and business user who might have found the older BX a little quirky.
Initially three trim levels, LX, SX and VSX, were available. with the VSX versions being fitted with Hy
dractive-2 suspension. Both SX and VSX were fitted with AB
S braking as standard. At launch three petrol engines were available… 1.8, 2.0 and 2.0 16-valve. The diesels followed within months offering both turbo and non-turbo versions of the excellent 1.9 XUD engine.
These early cars can be identified by the Chevron badge being on the bonnet rather than grille, no driver’s airbag and the characteristic sinking to the ground when parked for longer periods, they also came on 14” wheels.
Right from first launch the Xantia was drawing praise from the motoring press and public alike. What Car commented the cars “showed a degree of quality and solidity you’d never have found in the best BX”. They went onto say that “With the Xantia Citroen had played the quality card like n
ever before”. “Following on from the smooth joins and high-quality fittings seen on the outside the cabin had an abundance of smooth integrated shapes and quality soft-feel plastics. It’s almost Germanic in the impression it gives, but softer and homelier”.
Praise indeed. During 1994 the chevrons moved to the grille and a d
rivers airbag was offered, a smaller 1.6 petrol engine was also added to the range.
As the years followed on a 2.1 turbo-diesel became available, and then the newer HDi. The petrol cars saw a 2.0 turbo and 24v V6 added to the range.
An estate version was also introduced plus the ultimate sporting suspension development in the highly regarded Activa model. During this ongoing expansion of the range wheels were increased in size to 15” (many say the earlier cars on 14” wheels had a marginally nicer ride) and anti-sink suspension appeared to make the cars behave more “normally”.
For the 1998 model year the Xantia was face lifted, perhaps the most obvious change externally being the new colour coded bumpers, "white-look" tail lights and restyled headlamps. In addition many minor variations were made to the interior trim and dashboard. These updates took it through to the new C5 which carried the family hatch crown forwards from early 2001.