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Citroen ZX

The Citroën ZX is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1990 and 1998.

During the beginning of the 1990s, the ZX was Citroën's competitor in the class traditionally dominated in Europe by the Ford Escort and Vauxhall/Opel Astra, a market segment Citroën had briefly moved away from with the demise of the GSA in 1986.

The BX had tried to address the small family car market and the large family car market by being 'between sizes' but well packaged. For 1993, the Citroën ZX chassis was also used for the Peugeot 306 which, with its attractive Peugeot 205 derived styling, was an even more successful car than its twin. The Citroën Berlingo and Peugeot Partner were also built on the same platform.

It was replaced by the Xsara in September 1997, but production in Europe continued until 1998. A saloon derivative, called the Citroën Elysée, along with the China based ZX known as the Fukang, continued to be produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile, a joint venture with the PSA Group.

Cockpit

The Citroën GS had been a ground breaking and radical new model in the small family car market on its launch in 1970, scooping the European Car of the Year award, and was facelifted in 1979 and gained a hatchback which saw it transformed into the GSA.

However, such was the success of the larger BX after its 1982 launch, that PSA decided to delay the launch of an immediate replacement for the GSA when it was finally discontinued in 1986. Development work began on a new C segment hatchback, which was originally expected to be launched as the Citroën FX at the beginning of the 1990s.

Although the Rally Raid version of the ZX debuted during 1990, the ZX was officially launched on the left hand drive continental markets on 16 March 1991, with British sales beginning in May that year, initially only with petrol engines. The diesel ZX went on sale later in 1991.

It went on sale in New Zealand in the beginning of 1993, as a five door in 1.6 Aura or Turbodiesel trim, with the naturally aspirated diesel and Volcane GTi (1.9) models joining a few weeks later. New Zealand's unleaded petrol was of a low octane rating, meaning that initially only uncatalyzed cars were on offer.

In January 1994, the estate of the ZX debuted, and went on sale in May, shortly followed by a mid cycle facelift.

The first examples of the ZX had been produced in 1990, with the three door Rally Raid model being the winner of the Paris-Dakar, which started just after Christmas. The first prototypes of the ZX had actually debuted at the Baja Aragon on 20 July 1990. Drag resistance ranged from Cx/Cds 0.30 to 0.33.

The launch of the ZX marked the return of Citroën into the C sector of the car market; it had discontinued the GSA in 1986 with no immediate replacement, largely due to the success of the larger BX. However, Citroën had decided to phase out the BX between 1990 and 1993, by at first launching a smaller model, and then adding a larger model (the Xantia) to its range.

The ZX's interior space and value received praise from critics and consumers. Of particular note was the rear seat arrangement; it was mounted on a sliding platform that allowed the seat to be moved rearwards to increase rear legroom, or forwards to increase cargo space. Unfortunately, only the seat backs folded down on models so fitted. Lower specification models with fully folding and removable seats had more ultimate capacity.

The ZX specification was good for its class, with most models getting power steering, electric windows, electric sunroof, a driver's side (and sometimes passenger's side) airbag and anti-lock braking system as either optional or standard equipment. It was competitively priced though, unlike the Mark III Volkswagen Golf, which was priced at a relative premium from its launch later in August 1991.

It also reached the market a few months before the new version of the Opel/Vauxhall Astra.

The familiar range of PSA powertrains drove the front wheels of a seemingly conventionally designed chassis. At the front was a standard MacPherson strut layout with anti-roll bar, while the rear used the PSA Peugeot-Citroën fully independent trailing arm/torsion bar set up that was first introduced on the estate of the Peugeot 305.

However, PSA's chassis engineers employed some unusual features, including passive rear wheel steering (by means of specially designed compliance bushes in the rear suspension), and in house developed and constructed shock absorbers. At high mileages, this is prone to wear off the axle mounting bushes, which is easily fixed.

It is also prone to wear in the rear axle trailing arm bearings, which then wear the trailing arm axle tubes, requiring an expensive rebuild or a replacement axle assembly.

The diesel and larger capacity petrol engines are canted as far back as possible in the engine bay, in an effort to put as much weight as possible behind the front axle line, also reducing the centre of gravity, while improving weight distribution and minimising understeer.

Trim levels

At the time of its launch, the ZX range consisted of a collection of four very individual trim levels; the base model was the "Reflex" aimed at young people, next was the "Avantage" aimed at families, and then there was the luxury "Aura" series. The final series was the relatively sporting "Volcane" series, with lowered (and hard) suspension. The "Volcane" TD was one of the first diesel hot hatches.

Over time, further models were introduced including the "Furio", a cheaper sports model, a 16 valve engined high performance derivative and many special editions.

Engines

The ZX was initially available as a three or five door hatchback, while a five door estate was added to the range in 1993. It was offered with petrol engines from 1.1 L to 2.0 L, as well as three 1.9 L diesel engines including a turbodiesel. However, the 1.1 petrol engine was never sold in Britain.

1.1 L (1,124 cc) TU1 I4, 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp), 91 N⋅m (67 lb⋅ft)
1.4 L (1,360 cc) TU3 I4, 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp), 120 N⋅m (89 lb⋅ft)
1.6 L (1,587 cc) TU5 I4, 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp), 135 N⋅m (100 lb⋅ft)
1.8 L (1,761 cc) XU7 I4, 103 PS (76 kW; 102 hp), 153 N⋅m (113 lb⋅ft)
1.8 L (1,761 cc) XU7 I4, 112 PS (82 kW; 110 hp), 155 N⋅m (114 lb⋅ft)
1.9 L (1,905 cc) XU9 I4, 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp), 170 N⋅m (125 lb⋅ft)
2.0 L (1,998 cc) XU10 I4, 123 PS (90 kW; 121 hp), 176 N⋅m (130 lb⋅ft)
2.0 L (1,998 cc) XU10 I4, 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp), 183 N⋅m (135 lb⋅ft)
2.0 L (1,998 cc) XU10 I4, 167 PS (123 kW; 165 hp), 198 N⋅m (146 lb⋅ft)
1.8 L (1,769 cm3) 60 HP
1.9 L (1,905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp), 120 N⋅m (89 lb⋅ft)
1.9 L (1,905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 71 PS (52 kW; 70 hp), 125 N⋅m (92 lb⋅ft)
1.9 L (1,905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 91 PS (67 kW; 90 hp), 148 N⋅m (109 lb⋅ft)
 

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