Although the power outputs seem low in modern terms, even the range-topping VTS had a kerb weight of just 965 kg (2,127 lb), giving all models quite a 'nippy' feel around town.
The 1.0 was quite underpowered, the 1.1 was much better, since it was nearly 200 cc larger, and had roughly 30% more torque.
The VTS 16V featured a 1.6I 88 kW (120PS/118BHP) engine with a top speed of 205 km/h (127 mph), and a 0-60 mph time of 7.8 seconds. The VTS MK1 (1997–1999) and MK2 (1999–2003) shared the same performance.
These Citroen Saxo models included 247 mm (9.7 in) vented front brake discs, with the VTR and VTS also having rear brake discs (solid 247 mm (9.7 in) discs). Also, a different style of control arms and struts was used for the suspension. The VTS had a 22 mm (0.9 in) master brake cylinder, and the VTR and Westcoast/Furio had a 19 mm (0.7 in). The VTS had a 19 mm (0.7 in) front anti-roll bar and 22 mm (0.9 in) rear anti-roll bar, while the VTR and Westcoast/Furio had a 19 mm (0.7 in) front and 21 mm (0.8 in) or sometimes 19 mm (0.7 in) rear anti-roll bar.
In 1997 the Citroen Saxo's 3 Speed Automatic Gearbox was combined with the 1.6i 8V 88 kW (90PS/89BHP) engine which was available on the Citroen Saxo SX and VSX. Then, in late 1997, the 1.6i automatic was replaced with a 1.4i 55 kW (75PS/74BHP) engine. The 1.6i was more powerful with a top speed of 176 km/h (109MPH) compared with the 1.4's top speed of 103 mph (166 km/h).
Citroën carried on using the 1.4i engine on the Facelift Citroen Saxo Automatic in 1999. Due to the C3 having a 1.4i Automatic Gear Box the Citroen Saxo Automatic came to an end in March 2002, whilst the manual models were still sold right up to the end of 2003.
The equipment list was generally sparse, with budget models having drivers air bag, seat belt pre-tensioners, cassette player, heated rear screen and tinted windows, and early mk1's with keypad immobilisers and a clock in place of a tachometer and 3 stud wheels, much like the AX. Further up the list sunroofs, PAS, Electric windows, ultrasonic alarm, passenger airbag, CD player, tachometer, front fog lights, bodykits, colour coded mirror caps and alloy wheels were added, to name a few.
The 1.6L VTR and VTS Citroen Saxo's were the best equipped, with both gaining rear disc brakes as opposed to drum brakes, and ABS as standard for the VTS and an optional extra on all other 1.6L models.
Air-conditioning was never an option on right-hand-drive Citroen Saxo's because the blower motor was mounted in the bulk-head on the drivers side. As a result, there was insufficient space available to accommodate the evaporator, except by first ducting the air flow to the passenger side and then at the expense of the glove-box. Although an after-market kit was available that did exactly this, the resultant pressure loss made the system noisy and ineffective. The blower motor could also not be easily relocated, since the windscreen wiper motor was mounted in the passenger side space.
As with many other small cars of the time, the standard stereo system included 5.25" drivers mounted low in the front doors and 4" drivers mounted in the rear quarter panels (5 door models had 5.25" drivers all round) This set-up could be easily improved upon by mounting separate tweeters in the A-panel trims, similar to many VW models of the time. The very thin door cards and metalwork did however leave the system very 'thin' sounding, with very poor output in the upper-bass ranges.
Citroen Saxo photos