The Citroën Xantia, pronounced "Zan-ti-a" is a large family car (D) produced by the French automaker Citroën, and designed by Daniel Abramson of Bertone. Presented to the press in December 1992, the car was produced between 1992 and 2001, with a facelift in 1997. Citroën sold over 1.2 million, Xantias during its nine years of production.

By January 2001, when production ended, Iran's SAIPA started production of the Xantia. Iran manufacturing ended by September 2010. Production in France, however, continued until October 2002, which overlapped with the C5 by eighteen months. The name "Xantia" is derived from Xanthos, meaning "yellow" or "golden" in the Greek language.


The Xantia replaced the earlier Citroën BX (which straddled both small and large family car segments), and maintained the high level of popularity of that model, but brought the car more into the mainstream to compete harder with its rivals, such as the Ford Mondeo, Nissan Primera, Rover 600, Toyota Carina and Opel Vectra/Vauxhall Cavalier. The car was built from November 1992 to October 2002 in France, totalling almost ten years, including the facelift in December 1997.

It signalled that Citroën had learned from the reception given to the staid Citroën ZX, introduced two years earlier, and criticised by contemporary journalists for its lack of traditional Citroën flair, in engineering and design. Citroën addressed these concerns in the Xantia.

The Xantia also used the traditional Citroën hydropneumatic suspension system, which was pioneered by the older DS. It was initially only available as a hatchback (notchback) (Berline), but an estate (station wagon) (Break) version, built by Heuliez, appeared in September 1995.

Inline with PSA Group policy, the Peugeot 406, launched two years later, used the same floorpan, core structure and engines as the Xantia. The Hydractive suspension system was not carried over, and the 406 utilised a more traditional spring suspension.

Sales in the United Kingdom were strong, and even though it was never able to match the volume of British favourites, such as the Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Vectra, the car did help Citroën establish a strong foothold in the business car market in the United Kingdom.



From an engineering perspective, the Xantia's biggest advance was the suspension. From launch, the more expensive models were available with an enhanced version of the XM's Hydractive, Hydractive II or H2, computer-controlled version of the hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension. This used extra suspension spheres to allow a soft ride in normal conditions, but taut body control during hard braking, acceleration or cornering.

These models feature an innovation first seen on the ZX, and then subsequently fitted to the facelifted XM, a programmed self steer rear axle. On sweeping curves and tight bends alike, the rear wheels turn in line with the front wheels, sharpening responses and adding to driver pleasure.

Activa active anti roll bars

In 1994, the Activa technology was introduced, which is an extension to the Hydractive II suspension, where two additional spheres and two hydraulic cylinders are used together with computer control to eliminate body roll completely. This technology is more broadly known as active suspension, and the Xantia Activa has exceptional road holding comparable to true sports cars. It employs active anti-roll bars.

In the Swedish magazine Teknikens Värld's moose test, the 1999 V6 Activa still holds the record speed through the manoeuvre, faster than the McLaren 675LT.

United Kingdom models of the Activa came fitted with a XU10 2 litre turbocharged engine also fitted to the Citroën XM 2.0CT and Peugeot 605 SRi. It produced 150 bhp and 171 lb ft of torque and was a 'low-blow' type for smooth power delivery rather than outright bhp.

The Xantia was the last Citroën vehicle to use a common hydraulic circuit for suspension, brakes and steering like the pioneering Citroën DS. It was also the last Citroën car that used the green LHM hydraulic fluid. Later cars, such as the C5, used LDS instead.


Power came from the familiar PSA XU series petrol engines, this time in 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 displacements, a 2.0 16 valve version for the Xantia VSX, a turbocharged 2.0 engine, from 1995 onwards, a 1.8 16-valve and a 2.0 16 valve engine. In 1997, a 3.0 V6 engine was offered as top of the line.

The popular XUD turbodiesel units in 1.9 (turbocharged: 92 hp (69 kW), low-pressure turbo: 75 hp (56 kW), or not: 71 hp) displacement proved to be the best-selling engine. The biggest diesel was a 2.1 TD with 109 hp (81 kW).

In 1998, PSA introduced the HDi direct injection turbodiesel (in two versions: 90 hp (67 kW), and intercooled 109 hp). For an economical diesel engine, the HDi offered the kind of throttle response normally seen in a gasoline engine and quiet high speed cruising at a top speed of 118 mph (190 km/h).

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