Motoring

Cars for under 1000: This week, Jan 5th – 11th

Citroën Saxo

This week on loot.com we found a Citroen Saxo for less than £1000. We’ve taken a helpful review from the experts at whatcar.com to give you the lowdown.

 

Car for under £1000: Saxo

What’s it like?

The Saxo could be a good car for a first-timer.

The Saxo is small, light and basic – an old school supermini. It comes with three or five doors, but neither version offers much space inside. What’s more, the wheel and seat height are fixed and the pedals are offset to the left, so making yourself comfortable can be quite tricky.

A driver’s airbag comes as standard, but that’s it for safety kit, though VTS models have anti-lock brakes. A 2001 model tested by Euro NCAP achieved two stars for occupant safety and two for pedestrian protection – both some distance behind more modern rivals.

The cheap-looking dash also suffers in comparison with more modern designs, but the big, pull-out centre air vent is effective.

There’s adequate space up front, but it’s tight in the back. Worse still, all the seats are squashy and flat, and uncomfortable over long distances, while the boot is small.

For a quick blast, though, the Saxo’s great fun to drive, with direct steering and light controls. However, plenty of engine noise and wind whistle reaches the cabin.

What should I look for?

Saxos are tough, and most problems arise from poor or skimped maintenance. However, cars built after the 2000-model face-lift are markedly more reliable.

On a test drive, check the suspension, which is prone to knocks, and the brake discs, which need renewing every few years. Likewise, check for coolant leaks, which usually happen because the system has been left too long without a fluid change, which should be carried out every three years.

Look under the oil filler cap for thick gunk that signals head gasket failure – if it’s there, the bills could be serious.

Clutches are a weak point on VTRs and diesels, but parts are cheap and replacement is straightforward.

If buying a VTR or VTS, first have it inspected by a professional who can check for past crash damage. These cars’ popularity with young drivers means many have had a bump or two.

Unmodified cars are by far the best: big exhausts, lowered springs and body kits hurt resale value and may lead to an MoT test failure.

 

Was your first car a Saxo? Post a comment below with your inside story

 

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