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I think I'm right in saying the estate is about a foot longer than the hatch (I may be corrected here). Also you lose load space in the hatch with the sloping back.

In the hatch with the seats down I think you've got 6 feet. So not small by any means.
To give you an idea of the load space in a XM estate -

I moved down to Devon for my niece,

A double bed from Ikea (with built up head and foot steads) with a foam mattress.
Flat pack chest of drawers.
Flat pack dining table and 4 chairs.
2x flat pack bedside tables.
Portable tv.
Flat pack clothes rail.
Built up chest of drawers.
Multiple bags of clothes and shoes (no surprise there!)

The bed head stead fitted diagonally across with the mattress on top and resting on the car seat head rests.

Personally I prefer the hatchback, I prefer the looks and I think the ride is a little softer. I will swap back to a hatch if the right one turns up.

Hi Sam

Welcome to the club, if you are thinking of running an XM this is undoubtedly the best place to be.

When the XM first came out it was regarded as an over complex and unreliable car, that has now all changed because any car made since about 2000 is over complicated and impossible to repair on a DIY basis and so the cost of maintaining one has to be compared with a modern car, and there is no contest. Looking around the various forums, it seems you can take an all electronic car into a garage, part with £2,000. and still not have the fault corrected. I had considered buying a modern common rail diesel but I am now firmly against it and will run XMs all the while I can continue to repair them.

My personal favourite is the 2.1 td manual estate, I have owned five now and at present have two, the other one my son drives, he also loves them. The 2.1 engine is the easiest for maintenance and parts availability, although still not easy compared with your Triumph Herald! the manual gearbox is far more durable than the auto. The last one I sold had covered nearly 300k miles and was still going strong, auto boxes will last about 150k if you are lucky (although I expect someone will take me to task over that) the 2.1 engine should be good for at least 300k but will usually need a head gasket at about 150k.

My present car I bought at about 115k, I had to replace the water pump and head gasket within the first 10k! due primaraly to a lack of maintenance (no antifreeze) but since then I have covered over 50k without any serious problems. If driven carefully the 2.1 manual will exceed 50 mpg, I average over 40 mpg but do live in
a rural area and dont drive all that fast. If you need an estate I don't think you will find an bigger one.

They are getting a bit thin on the ground now and you will probably have to be
prepared to travel anywhere unless you happen to know of one locally, they are also appreciating in value as peoply seem to be realising at last, just what a brilliant car they are. Happy hunting.

Hi Peter

"Take you to task"

My personal long term experiences of autos [ 6 - mine and family / friends ] has seen them all utterly reliable and with mileages of 201K, 189K,.... all well in excess of 150K, in fact all hovering on or around 200K now.

The ONLY malady with an auto was down to me [ see 3 posts ago ].

I ALWAYS change the trans oil as soon as I get a "new" car - irrespective of service records or verbal assurances from the previous owner. Ditto with cam belts unless there's irrefutable evidence it's recently been changed.

Recently I've taken to adding "Lucas" oil supplements to my cars - at around £17.00 a treatment it's not that cheap, but I have to say the results are startling [ good ] and immediate.

I now add a can of engine and trans treatment to each "new" car - No connection with Lucas, usual disclaimer etc.

My Wife's Scooby Estate had a small / annoying / virtually indetectable trans leak. After the Lucas treatment the oil has stopped leaking and there is a definite improvement in shifting and smoothness of the box.
After adding the engine oil the tickover rose by 500 rpm - a function of less friction - and was reset. Again the engine seemed to benefit noticeably.

Sam, I use estates as working vehicles - there's absolutely NO comparison with what you can get in a Hatch v Estate. I had one of the early Hatches, because at the time the Estates were "to follow". It was a fine car and towed well, but just didn't have the capacity I needed.

Just to answer the often discussed Volvo v XM carrying capacity - having got one of each at the moment, I can state that the XM wins.

The best [ practical ] estate? Without question the CX.

And also the best "Pick Up" was a CX - What do you mean "Citroen didn't make one " - well they didn't, but I did !!! [ 3 in fact ]

My ideal car? A long wheelbase XM Familliale.

If you don't want / need auto - then I agree with Peter, the best bet is probably 2.1 TD 5 speed ESTATE.

Good luck with your search - when you find one, mark this site in your favourites - it's ESSENTIAL for tearless XM ownership!

Hi Beachcomber

I knew that would happen! I of course only base my assumption on available date i.e the ones sold on ebay and reports of failures on this forum, you don't here about the ones that don't go wrong!

I am rather pleased to hear that actually, as the only late estates available seem to be auto's. There were a couple on at the end of last year with 51k and I think about 90k and in spite of all I have said about them I was tempted. I dont like the idea of anything that would increase my fuel consumption or the EPIC pump or the loss of the glove box - but beggars can't be choosers. I dont want an auto but it seems it may be my only option.

Thanks for the info.

Hi Peter,

I can honestly say that none of my XM's [ all autos ] have had an easy life.

I drive quite normally in the UK and stick more or less to speed limits, but once I'm on the Continent [ frequently ] the car[s] get to around 100mph and stay there for the next 1000 kms or so [ fuel stops excepted ].

I often tow a heavy Brian James trailer with a variety of replica sports cars - Cobras, Jag C Types, D Types, Merc Gullwings and Roadsters, etc,etc.

The last trip [ before Xmas ] was undertaken at the usual velocities and returned 26.9 MPG. With trailer and car going, empty [ heavy ] trailer coming back.

That is not far removed from what my 2.1TD auto used to do.
Both legs of the journey [ Saxony ] were done only stopping for fuel.

The plus side of the petrol turbo is that it is far livelier than the 2.1TD - even my Wife thought that was a slug!

Confused about the glovebox? Both my Estates had normal glovebox on the left hand top dash. The catch / hyds. even work on this one!

Hi Beachcomber

That's a bit less than the 50+ mpg I can get from mine (driving carefully). The glove box issue only arises in models '96 on, as they have an airbag where the glovebox used to be and a little slot above it that will just about hold the car manual. The post '96s also have electronically controlled fuel injection using the Lucas EPIC pump I mentioned, which is nothing like as reliable as the old mechanical one I have.

The last batch of 2.1 manual estates were registered in Jan '96 although they were made well back in '95, there were 61 of them all N---YBL. I have had three of them and the two I have now are N451YBL and N471YBL. I have only ever seen one manual registered later than that and I think it must have been a special order.

The 2.1 is quite fast enough for me, I'm old wacko.gif all I require of a car is that it will go up almost any hill without changing down from top gear and the 2.1 fits the bill well. That's why I used to run Veloxe's and Crestas - they would do that!

QUOTE (demag @ Jan 11 2008, 09:15 AM)
I think I'm right in saying the estate is about a foot longer than the hatch (I may be corrected here). Also you lose load space in the hatch with the sloping back.

In the hatch with the seats down I think you've got 6 feet. So not small by any means.

A lot depends on how much you feel you'll need to carry - the hatch with the seats down will easily carry a dishwasher/washing machine and have space to spare. Even filled it with turf to cover 30ftx65ft one trip, up to the roof and the boot just about closed. Speed bumps you say - no problem, start car, rises to normal, jaws of the garden shop guys hit the floor as I drove off.... smile.gif

Work-wise, have transported midrange servers (HP ES45) and disk shelves, also 4 19-inch monitors, 6 PC size servers and support kit when teaching offsite easily. By contrast, one time I had use of a vectra estate, and struggled to get everything in the boot when teaching offsite, XM's load floor was much better.

The estate will carry three 28" TVs (tube type) in the back with the seat up! with it down you can get a large 3 seater settee or 2 large arm chairs in - or about 1/2 ton of concrete blocks. ohmy.gif

Hi Peter,

Apples and Oranges old friend.

Whilst travelling on the same journeys with trailer / car / warp factor 3 - MY 2.1TD Estate [auto ] used to return about 30mpg, and I thought that was entirely reasonable given the driving conditions - a difference of maybe 4-5 mpg compared to the same journey in the 2.ltr petrol turbo.

On gentle "holiday" jaunts to France or wherever with the family, I used to see 40 - 45 mpg quite regularly - excellent for such a large luxurious car.

Now then, "driving carefully" is NOT the same league as the journey's I was describing. However for a DIRECT comparison, I did the same trip to Saxony with the family last Summer with 3 adults and the rest of the car rammed with stuff to take to our house out there. In the UK I kept to the speed limits, but once in France / Germany I kept up an average between 70 and 90 mph on the Autoroute / Highway, again only stopping for petrol and Mother in Law breaks. That is what I call "careful" driving - not exactly Mobil economy run stuff, but the real World.

Once at our destination I did the annoying tourist bit for 2 weeks driving around everywhere at a steady 40mph so we could take in the sights - empty roads and no traffic jams. Then with a similar stint home [ 70 - 90 mph ] but with a virtually empty load space [ until the Calais Hypermarche anyway! ] the computer readout for the whole trip was 36.8 mpg.

In other words that was about 6-10 mpg less than my 2.1TD Estate for a similar trip and about 15 mpg less than your "careful" driving [ TD ].

Factor in the additional cost of diesel per litre and the cost per mile gets even closer. That's why I seriously considered that Petrol / LPG Turbo 2 ltr auto estate that was for sale just before Christmas - the best of all Worlds?

Just for comparison the Volvo estate [ 2.5 auto ] that we took out on the same journey [ same speeds ] averaged only 26mpg - AND carried considerably less in the load space as the XM.

Just as a further aside - the MOST economical large luxury car that I have ever owned was a 2.5 Petrol Auto Renault Safrane. That would regularly return 34 mpg and on a holiday trip to France at "gentle" speeds 38 - 40mpg - astonishing for such a large heavy car.

Whichever way you look at it - gentle driving or a blind across Europe - the XM copes easilly and with completely reasonable fuel consumption [ petrol or diesel ] - guess that's why we alll own one [ apart from Peter who is trying to corner the market! ].

Hi Beachcomber

Interesting comparisons. There is little doubt in my mind that the 2.1 engine was the most efficient IDI ever produced. My wifes ZX a lighter, smaller car with the 1.9 engine, which is still a good engine, will only average about 45 mpg on the same sort of journey on which the XM will do 50 mpg.

My son is always on to me about LPG conversions and certainly the costs look favourable, and I could run a V6 then! but there are certain disadvantages not the least of which is the relativly short range and you cant get LPG everywhere. I reckon 1,000 miles is possible on a tankful of diesel, I often exceed 800, and even though I am retired I still clock up about 20k per year.

So go on - sell me the idea of LPG, I know some of you have got them, citroenxm for example.

Hi all,

I might contest the most efficient IDI diesel claim. A few years ago I had a Vauxhall Cavalier 1.7 td as a company car (1994 M Reg).

I drove that as only a company car driver does, no mercy and NEVER saw less than 45mpg. No mercy means 2 clutches in 4 years and 2 new sets of suspension bushes, I was mostly driving in and around central London with lots of speed bumps and traffic light Grand Prix. I even did a run to Glasgow at speeds in excess of 90MPH for long periods and Still got 45MPG.

That engine was a traditional clockwork diesel made by Isuzu with a clone of the ever popular Bosch fuel pump.

On the subject of XM's I personally prefer the saloon for it's looks but agree that the luggage capacity is not a patch on the estate. In fact I think the Cavalier had more boot space. For a REAL bargain keep a lookout for a saloon with whatever engine/ transmission/trim you want and stick a towbar on it. There are many out there which were bought new by older gentlemen and have led a pampered life. These come up for sale as the old boy gives up driving or sadly dies. Mine was just such a car and has seen 25000 miles in the last year and a bit, my only real prob was a duff fuel pump last summer which should have been an easy (cheap) fix but the mechanic faffed about. That could have happened to any car, almost any age.

Make sure you drive one first as I think the foot operated parking brake would be a real pain with a manual.

Good luck and good hunting

John cool.gif
An estate is definitely what I really want, and an estate with a towbar - even better. However, I've got an offer of a good saloon, which I may just take, and run it for now, allowing me to look for just the right estate. 95% of the time, the saloon would do just fine.
Hi Sam

Getting an XM to your own specification was easy a few years ago, I wouldn't have considered changing a head gasket because I could go and buy another car for less money! now that's all changed, so look well while there are still a few left. Any that I see I put on the forum, you never know, if I find a really nice late one I might sell you one of mine, but at the moment I am keeping a tight grip on them.


I agree, those Isuzu engines were good and the XM engine is of similary basic design except for three valves per cylinder and the brilliant improved cooling system, which means that unlike the 1.9, the heads dont crack. Its 110 bhp which I think is a bit up on the Isuzu and I would think that the XM estate is somewhat heavier than the Vauxhall, so it still gives a good account of itself.

Hi Sam,

The best car for you, hatchback or estate, depends on what you want to do with it. Be aware though that leather seated estates are very rare whereas virtually all SEi's and Exclusives are leather clad in hatchback form.

Despite the derogatory remarks about auto boxes, I am a fan of them. All four of my XMs over the past 14 years have been autos and I've never had a problem with them. The Catch 22 is that if you do many motorway or main road miles you will probably never get a failure because the gearbox is designed to "lock up" in 3rd and 4th so there are no slipping bands or torque converters. But the auto comes into its own in town driving, when torque conversion and multi changes are inevitable. There again, in those conditions with a manual box you're looking at clutch wear and the box has to come out for a clutch change. As has been said, regular oil changes are a must (every 9,000 miles for the older 4HP18 box - easy job - and every 75,000 miles for the newer 4HP20 - but the jury is out on the best way of doing it!). Another advantage of the auto box is that it does away with the need to juggle the clutch and parking brake, That parking brake was made for the auto box.

AS far as engines are concerned, I have no experience with diesels other than that one of my sons had a 2.1TD estate which he lusted after but sold on quickly because it lacked performance. From what I read on the forum the 2.5TD seems to have a marginal cooling system and is difficult to work on. They are undoubtedly economical.

I've had two 8-valve 2 litres and wouldn't recommend them, performance is poor and economy not that good. Don't know about the 16 valve 2 litre but I wouldn't have thought the performance was much better.

The older V6's are scarce, They had a reputation for fragility and that may explain why. The older 24 valver has more power than the latest engine, but less torque in the mid ranges so top speed is higher but acceleration lower. They are however available with a manual box if you like stirring your own stick. I just can't see the engineering sense in a 90 degree V6 engine with balance shafts, I understand it was three quarters of a projected V8 which never came to fruition.

The latest 60 degree 24 valve V6 (ES9J4) engine is sweet, smooth and powerful. It has an almost flat torque curve from 2000 to 5800 rpm and suits the autobox with which it is fitted to a T. Economy for me has averaged out at 26mpg over the past 4 years.
The only faults with this car have been the driver's window cable and exhaust replacement from after the cat. The engine has been faultless, which is just as well as the underbonnet area is jampacked, changing the rear bank of plugs is very difficult and don't even think about timing belts.

The surprise has been the 2.0 turbo. This is the old 2.0litre 8 valve engine but the turbo has transformed it. Not too inferior to the V6 in performance, economy so far (4 months) is better than 30mpg and the engine area looks relatively easy to work on.

My choice? As I've now been retired for 11 years I don't do a great milage so economy is not my first criterion. The late V6 for me, it will drift along at any speed you require in almost complete silence yet will snarl into life when required. it has never disappointed and when caravan towing it's easy to forget there's a 'van on the back.

Most faults you get on an XM are relatively minor but there are two of which you should be aware - and beware. First is failure of the rubber mounting on the front struts, there are good writeups on this in the forum but basically watch out for any sign of rusting in the area inside the mounting bolts. Failure has never to my knowledge resulted in an accident but it does mess up the bonnet and is expensive to fix. Secondly I've read a few reports of rusting sills, look underneath especially around the jacking points.

Everybody has their own views (some people actually don't like XMs - although I doubt if they have ever driven one) and many may/will disagree with me, but this is as honest an appraisal as I can give. The late V6 will be outside your price limit but a decent model of any of the others is well within it, at least until you dignify the XM with "Classic" status!

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