Blog: Welcome back, Activa


Good to have a Citroën Xantia Activa properly on the fleet again. I bought this one on 12 November, but it’s only taken until today to actually pick it up, thanks to a combination of the NEC Classic Motor Show, and a last-minute drive down to Marrakesh (as you do). The new car came via Autoshite after long-time AROnline fan and contributor Ben Adams pointed it out to me, via the happy medium of Facebook.

The car in question ended up costing me the pricely sum of £600 after an opening offer of £500 for a car that had been advertised at £650. In its favour is the relatively low mileage of 85,000, as well as continuous specialist history (including a few stamps from my favourite Citroen guy in Blackpool, Dave Ashworth). Downsides are some cosmetic issues.

The headlights and stereo weren’t working when I tested it, but once home, a new key fob fixed the first problem (the alarm was going off – and the speaker had been turned off – so the relay had been removed to stop the flashing lights; while the stereo just needed de-coding). There’s also a hydraulic leak from the front suspension ram, but I’ll get down to that in the New Year.

I’d forgotten how superior these cars car dynamically, combining superb ride comfort and tenacious handling in a way that the car industry is only really beginning to catch up with, almost 20 years after its launch. The drive back from Birmingham (in convoy with my son in his Activa), where I bought the car, was event-free, and reminded me – once again – just why I love these cars.

But it did once again have me asking the same questions: Why, oh why didn’t Citroën persevere with the system, and introduce it on to all subsequent hydro models? Imagine the C6 so equipped? More than that, why has no other mass producer come up with something similar? Surely, as our roads get increasingly potholed, ride comfort should be in increasing priority. It would have been awesome to drive more cars with properly (re)active suspension.

Oh well, it’s nice to enjoy a bit of future we never really had the chance to fully experience.


Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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