CITROËN SAXO

You can buy a Saxo for just a few hun­dred quid, so why not spend a bit more on key up­grades?

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Living With Classics - Richard Dredge

When it comes to hot hatches, the same models al­ways get all the at­ten­tion. Cars like the Peu­geot 205 GTI and VW Golf GTI have soared in value, but there are still some very de­sir­able hot hatches avail­able for peanuts. One of the best is the Citroën Saxo, along with the Peu­geot 106, a badge-en­gi­neered ver­sion of the same car.

Each was launched as an econ­omy car, but were soon de­vel­oped into hot edi­tions. In the case of the Saxo, there was a 90bhp eight-valve VTR and a 120bhp 16-valve VTS, both with a 1.6-litre en­gine. With a kerb­weight of just 935kg, the VTS can hit 60mph in 7.6 sec­onds and a top speed of 127mph.

The raw fig­ures are en­tic­ing enough but it’s the way in which the Saxo does it that im­presses; that light weight lends it an agility that’s miss­ing from newer, heav­ier small hatches.

There’s no short­age of Saxos that have been crashed or taste­lessly mod­i­fied and while the VTS is the pick of the bunch, it’s a lot eas­ier to find a good VTR, which is why one of these lesser models is likely to be your start­ing point.

Be­cause the Saxo weighs so lit­tle, even mod­est power gains tend to have a no­tice­able ef­fect on per­for­mance. That low kerb­weight also means that the brakes don’t wilt too read­ily when the car is driven hard, though it’s worth in­vest­ing in stronger an­chors if you’re plan­ning on tak­ing part in track days.

For the pur­poses of this piece, we’re as­sum­ing that if you’ve got a Saxo that you want to mod­ify it’s ei­ther for track day or fast road use. Re­mem­ber that pretty much ev­ery­thing that ap­plies to the Saxo also ap­plies to the 106, as most parts are in­ter­change­able.

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