The Citroën Xsara Enterprise was a tax-dodging starship trooper

90s cars Citroën General Bunk
The Citroën Xsara Enterprise was a van based on the Xsara estate. But did you know there was also an Irish market van based on the Xsara Coupe?

What's more practical: the Citroën Xsara Enterprise or the Starship Enterprise? Having never watched an episode of Star Trek, I'll have to take a wild guess that a Citroën van would be more useful for delivering toner cartridges to a recruitment agency in Bracknell.

Launched in 2003, the Citroën Xsara Enterprise was a tax-dodging version of the standard Xsara estate with power sourced from a 2.0-litre diesel engine. The potential to achieve up to 50mpg made it more fuel efficient than Captain Kirk's company wheels. Probably.

To keep the editors of Which Van Is Best? magazine happy, the Xsara Enterprise featured a completely flat, non-slip load area and four load tie-down points. Further upgrades included toughened, intrusion-resistant load compartment side window glazing and a full width steel load restraint.

Citroen Xsara Enterprise load space

Citroën labelled the Xsara Enterprise “stylish”, which is a bit of a stretch, but if you turned off the lights, looked the other way and closed your eyes, it could pass as a kind of budget shooting brake. Sure, it had too many doors to be a proper shooting brake, but have you seen what words Mercedes-Benz is using to describe its cars these days?

Who would have spent £10,995 + VAT on the Xsara Enterprise? Citroën said it would appeal to computer technicians, high-speed couriers and audio shop owners. In reality, it was bought by people hoping to beat the taxman.

Today, it's all but forgotten, but PetrolBlog reckons it could be a great ‘sleeper’. Can you imagine a Xsara Enterprise with the 2.0-litre engine from the Xsara VTS? Sacrificing another Xsara VTS for an engine transplant would be sacrilegious, but at least it would be used for something other than a 205 GTI.

‘High-speed couriers’ you say, Citroën? A Xsara Enterprise VTS, ahem, delivers on that promise and more.

Citroën Xsara Van

Which brings us to the primary reason for featuring the Citroën Xsara Enterprise: the Irish market Citroën Xsara Van. Today, I discovered the existence of the van based on the three-door Xsara Coupe. It's practically brilliant and brilliantly practical.

Many cars of this ilk were locally converted in Ireland to take advantage of reduced tax on car-derived vans. Imagine the lift-off oversteer fun you could have in your lightweight Xsara VTS van, with the added bonus of getting one over the taxman. Amazingly, it was voted Irish Van of the Year in 2000, so the members of the jury must have enjoyed many lift-off oversteer moments.

It's certainly cooler than the Xsara Enterprise, albeit rather limited in terms of absolute practicality. PetrolBlog doesn't do van twin-tests, but if it did...

The Citroën Xsara is often dismissed as the runt of the litter – a low point in the firm's 100-year history. But as the Xsara VTS, the Xsara WRC and this pair of commercial variants prove, there's more to this undesirable car than meets the eye.

Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars. But I do appreciate the Citroën Xsara.

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