last update April 24th, 2013

Citroen Xsara (1997-2004): Blandness and the bare blonde

Quirky Citroën's transition to mainstream motoring peaked with 1997's Xsara. Francophonic name and dutiful Chevrons apart, little inside or out gave any indication that the Xsara was from the company once responsible for some of the most technologically innovative and characterful cars in the world. On the contrary, the Golf challenger was fairly dowdy and not a little dumpy; and though that also fit the description of the Volkswagen against which it was designed to compete, buyers looking for conservative goodness had long been trained to return to their VW and Opel dealers when it was time to trade in. The compact Citroën could boast neither innovation, nor reliability, nor did it hold its value well at all; which begged the question, what - apart from considerable discounts - did Citroën stand for in this class? In the end, after thirty years as Citroën's caretaker, Peugeot relaxed its leash a little, and the Xsara evolved into the more individual C4... (more about the 1997-2004 Citroen Xsara)

Zastava Automobili: 4 years after the Fiat handover

Very few cars at the ongoing Belgrade International Auto Show in Serbia are available for under €8,000. All of domestic automaker Zastava's four cars, last built in 2008, were card-carrying members of this class. Today, the factory assembles cars for foreign consumption and foreign profit... (more about Zastava after Fiat)