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Citroën ZX
1997 Citroën ZX
Manufacturer Citroën
Production 1991-1998
Predecessor Citroën GS (1970-1984)
Successor Citroën Xsara
Class Small family car
Layout FF layout
Related Citroën Elysée
Peugeot 306
Citroën ZX Break/Estate
Citroën ZX 2/3 door

The Citroën ZX is a small family car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1991 and 1998.

During the 1990s, the ZX was Citroën's competitor in the class, traditionally dominated in Europe by the Ford Escort and Volkswagen Golf, a market segment Citroën had moved away from when the GSA was replaced with the BX ten years earlier. The BX had tried to address the small family car market and the large family car market by being 'between sizes' but well packaged. The Citroën ZX chassis was also used for the Peugeot 306 in 1993, which with its attractive Peugeot 205 derived styling, was a more successful car than its twin. The Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner were also built on the same platform. European production and sales of the ZX ceased in 1998 with the arrival of the replacement Citroën Xsara.

A saloon derivative called the Citroën Elysée continued to be produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile, a joint venture with the PSA Group.



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.

However, the ZX was criticised for the lack of quality feel, particularly in the interior plastics and body panels - (the thin side panels were prone to pick up supermarket car park trolly dents), and also the easily worn fabrics in low spec models, in comparison with rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf. It was competitively priced though, unlike the Golf, which was priced at a premium. Although the diesel engines were very durable (with many examples clocking up 400,000 kilometers with only routine servicing) the gasoline engines did receive some criticism for their unreliability. The ZX's styling though it had similarities to the Bertone designed XM, (especially in estate form), was also disliked by many Citroën enthusiasts, who saw it as far too conservative and bland from a company previously known for its bold and advanced design (DS, CX, BX, XM).

The familiar range of PSA powertrains drove the front wheels of a seemingly conventionally designed chassis. At the front was a standard McPherson strut layout with anti-roll bar, while the rear used a semi-independent trailing arm/torsion bar set up. 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. 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, improving weight distribution, and minimising understeer. The ZX/306 was widely regarded as the best handling small family car of its time, until the arrival of the Ford Focus.

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 very 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.


The ZX was initially available as a three or five-door hatchback, while a class-leading five-door station wagon 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 highly rated turbodiesel, which was one of the best diesel engines in its class.

  • 1.1 L (1124 cc) TU1 I4, 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp), 91 N·m (67 lb·ft)
  • 1.4 L (1360 cc) TU3 I4, 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp), 120 N·m (89 lb·ft)
  • 1.6 L (1587 cc) TU5 I4, 90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp), 135 N·m (100 lb·ft)
  • 1.8 L (1761 cc) XU7 I4, 103 PS (76 kW; 102 hp), 153 N·m (113 lb·ft)
  • 1.8 L (1761 cc) XU7 I4, 112 PS (82 kW; 110 hp), 155 N·m (114 lb·ft)
  • 1.9 L (1905 cc) XU9 I4, 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp), 170 N·m (125 lb·ft)
  • 2.0 L (1998 cc) XU10 I4, 123 PS (90 kW; 121 hp), 176 N·m (130 lb·ft)
  • 2.0 L (1998 cc) XU10 I4, 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp), 183 N·m (135 lb·ft)
  • 1.4 L (1361 cc) TUD3 diesel I4, 53 PS (39 kW; 52 hp), 82 N·m (60 lb·ft)
  • 1.5 L (1527 cc) TUD5 diesel I4, 58 PS (43 kW; 57 hp), 96 N·m (71 lb·ft)
  • 1.9 L (1905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp), 120 N·m (89 lb·ft)
  • 1.9 L (1905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 71 PS (52 kW; 70 hp), 125 N·m (92 lb·ft)
  • 1.9 L (1905 cc) XUD9 diesel I4, 92 PS (68 kW; 91 hp), 200 N·m (148 lb·ft)

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