It came in three- and five-door hatchback and five-door estate body styles; the estate was marketed as the Break and the three-door as the Coupé. The straight-4 engine range includes 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines as well as 1.6, 1.9 and 2.0-litre turbodiesels.
The Xsara provided excellent ride, handling and refinement, but was largely sold on price because of stiff competition from the class leaders the Ford Focus and VW Golf. It was also let down by its staid styling.
The 2002 model had slight interior modifications (i.e a different way of controlling the sound system from the steering wheel). In 2003 there were also some exterior modifications.
The Xsara hatchback was discontinued and replaced by the stylish C4 in 2004. However, Station Wagon production continued into 2005. The Xsara continues to be produced for the Chinese market by the Dongfeng Peugeot-Citroën Automobile, a joint venture with the PSA Group.
Since 2005, the Xsara Picasso has been the only version of the Xsara to be built or sold in Europe.
The Xsara Picasso was Citroën's answer to the enormously popular compact MPV Renault Scénic when it went on sale late in 1999 with two trim levels - LX and SX, and three engines - a 1.6 and 1.8 litre petrols, and a 2.0 Litre HDI engine. The rear seats could be removed to create extensive storage space. It soon became the bestselling multi-purpose vehicle in France, Great Britain, and most of the rest of Europe. The Xsara Picasso is also built in Brazil for the Latin American market since 2001, where it is the top selling car in its class.
In early 2003 the Xsara Picasso in the UK was given a 2.0i 16v engine with a four-speed Automatic gear box (the Picasso was only available with manual transmission for the first three years of production). In August 2006, Citroën unveiled its successor Citroën C4 Picasso, based on the Citroën C4. There are two versions, the Grand C4 Picasso seven-seat and the slightly smaller five-seat C4 Picasso. The Xsara Picasso will remain on sale as the smallest MPV in Citroën's range.
Only 1.6i 16v, 1.6HDi 16v 92BHP and 1.6HDi 16v 110BHP are now available.
The Xsara World Rally Car, based on the road-going Xsara hatchback but ultimately having very little resemblance to it under the skin, was a major competitor in the World Rally Championship and one of the most successful cars in WRC history. The car took Frenchman Sébastien Loeb to 28 rally wins, three consecutive Driver's Championship titles from 2004 to 2006, and Citroën to three consecutive Manufacturer's Championship titles in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Although it is the Frenchman who has proved the archetype Xsara WRC pilot virtually since its 2001 conception, Jesus Puras, Carlos Sainz and Francois Duval are among the other drivers to have won.