1987 Citroen CX25 RD Break
In the history of Citroën, no wagon has offered as much volume as the CX. Combined with its hydraulic suspension, it left a lasting impression on antique dealers and large families.
Grand format Citroën CX 25 RD Break
CITROËN CX BREAK 1975-1991
Production: 128,185 units
By Camille Pinet
Photos: Adrien Cortesi
In the '70s and '80s, wagons became more upscale, sometimes even passing as high-end vehicles. German manufacturers even jokingly called them «5-door sedans» to distance them from their utilitarian roots. Nevertheless, none of them forgot their main purpose: cargo space. This period saw European models offering ample cargo space, with the Volvo 240 boasting 2,150 dm3 when the rear seat was folded, the Opel Omega with 1,800 dm3, and the Volkswagen Passat Variant B3 with 1,700 dm3. However, it was a French car that took the lead, with the Peugeot 505 offering 2,240 dm3, closely followed by the Citroën CX with 2,128 dm3. The Citroën CX wagon narrowly missed the record but had another advantage, its hydraulic suspension. Already praised on the sedan for its comfort and contribution to impeccable road handling, its ability to maintain a consistent ride height became a decisive feature in this version. This earned it the favor of various professions, starting with ambulance services. The sight of a white CX ambulance with a blue siren light was a common one in the rearview mirrors of motorists in the '80s and '90s. Others capitalized on its extraordinary capabilities, including antique dealers, the GIGN (French police special forces), and international newspaper delivery drivers, who used six-wheeled models transformed by the coachbuilder Tissier to cross Europe at full speed.
TGV for Large Families
The Phase 2 model presented by Damien was intended for a different clientele. It is indeed a family version, equipped with two rear benches and seating for eight, no less! With its straight-cut tailgate and raised roof, this wagon doesn't apologize for serving as a people mover, but that doesn't prevent it from exuding a certain elegance. It cleverly adopts the sophisticated double beltline design on the fenders, while the flared rear wheels and plunging hood create a silhouette designed for speed. While one might prefer the purity and chrome of a Phase 1 today, it's worth noting that the use of plastic was less clumsy on the CX than on other restyled cars of that era. With its streamlined bumpers, it embraced a bit of modernity in 1985, exactly 10 years after its launch. Inside, the modernization was even more apparent due to the completely redesigned dashboard, although it was still not perfectly finished. The three small storage hatches added to the top of the dashboard are known for their fragility, and various critters like to make them their home. None of this, however, prevents you from admiring the many «Citroënnisms» that persist. The famous oval-shaped bezel surrounding the instrumentation is still present, as is the turn-signal toggle within easy reach but still without a return function. The minimalist suspension height adjustment control placed behind the gear lever appears much more «technological» than the levers in the DS, GS, and BX. In the rear, you can smile at Citroën's «optimistic» safety standards: the center passengers do not have seat belts, and headrests are conspicuously absent. However, I, at 1.87 meters, can fit reasonably comfortably in the third-row bench, and the trunk still has plenty of space, more than any current «7-seat» SUV.
It Moves Slowly
In the '80s, wagons were more often powered by diesel engines than sedans, and the CX was no exception. Like our model today, the economical 25 RD atmospheric engine was the most favored by customers. Despite its 75 hp, it was by far the preferred engine with over a third of sales throughout its career. A distant relative of the gasoline «spit roast» engine from the Traction Avant, this M engine takes us back to the early days of diesel, at least at startup. After a mandatory preheating period, it roars to life with a deafening noise and considerable vibrations. Have its four pistons turned into high forge hammers? Fortunately, everything returns to normal as soon as you gain some speed. The noise level drops, and the engine's torque compensates for its low horsepower. The close-ratio five-speed transmission makes it relatively easy to accelerate, even if the acceleration times might make you chuckle. Once you reach the legal speed limit, the CX is at ease and seems capable of maintaining that pace forever. This is where it truly demonstrates all its qualities: millimeter-precise, extremely direct servo-assisted steering, supreme comfort from its suspensions, and its ability to handle corners with a leisurely but effective roll. The CX benefits from the dynamism of the «L'Agence CX» club, which regularly releases remanufactured parts. Parts are also available in Germany, where the model was highly appreciated. Prices seem rather reasonable for wear-and-tear components, but they quickly rise for certain hydraulic and chassis components.
The CX wagon brought joy to ambulance services and antique dealers, thanks to its constant ride height regardless of the load. Thanks to the «L'Agence CX» club (L-agencecx.org), whose Lacitroencx.com forum is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, for their help in researching this wagon.
The 2500 diesel only received a five-speed transmission as standard at the end of its production, from July 1987.
La Véritable Histoire de la Citroën CX, Michael Buurma, Citrovisie Editions
CLUBS AND FORUMS WEBSITES
Workshop Manual CX 1 and 2, all models, published by Citroën
RTA No. 369, ETAI
CX BREAK MARKET VALUE (1975-1991)
- To restore: €1,500
- To revise: €3,500
- Ready to drive: €5,500
REGULAR COLLECTOR CAR INSURANCE
- Third-party: €148
- Comprehensive*: €269
*Profile: A 45-year-old male residing in Orleans with a 50% bonus.
- Filters (air, fuel, and oil) and 4 spark plugs: €30
- Accessory belt: €15
- Front brake linings: €140
- Rear brake linings: €140
- Front and rear shocks: €320
- Exhaust silencer: €102
- Timing belt kit: €72
- Clutch kit: €150
- Front headlight: €89
- Rear lights: €99
- Tires (x2): €180
The market value of the CX wagon remains oddly low, except for versions with gasoline injection and turbo diesel. For an atmospheric diesel, you can find one for around €5,500, but the biggest challenge is finding one. With fewer produced and often used without much care, CX wagons in good condition have become extremely rare, much like most of their contemporaries.
For Flea Markets
I've always had the image of the little Matchbox CX Break Ambulance from my childhood, which I already appreciated for its design. So, I'm not entirely objective when it comes to the CX wagon, which I'd gladly put in my (large) garage for some treasure hunting. However, I must admit that I much prefer a gasoline or turbo version for more refinement...
Damien, We've owned this wagon for three years now. We bought it because we were looking for a classic car that could accommodate the whole family. I was in high school at the time and had the time to browse listings, and that's when I found it. The first owner was a convent in Nantes, and the second owner sold it to us because he found it too underpowered for towing. We woke it up after 8 years of inactivity, and since then, it practically runs every day and is regularly used for towing. I even use it to go to school!
A view that was often seen in the rearview mirror in the '80s, complete with the siren light!
Characterized by extremely direct steering and a very smooth suspension, driving the CX is a unique experience, comparable only to the contemporary SM.
The third-row seat can be folded to free up a volume of 1,062 dm3, already far superior to what any modern five-seat wagon offers...
Its preserved elegance, impressive cargo space, and its road-handling qualities.
Its old-fashioned diesel, anemic performance, and light finishing.
The constant ride height, regardless of the load, is an argument for all «hydraulic» Citroën cars, but it counts doubly for such a voluminous wagon. Like the Prestige, the wagon had an extended wheelbase of 25 cm compared to the sedan and specific rear doors, preserving its elegance. Despite the two rows of seats, the trunk retains a very usable cargo space of 458 dm3!
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS 1987 Citroën CX25 RD
- Engine: 4-cylinder in-line, 8 valves
- Displacement: 2,500 cm3 / 2.5 litre
- Fiscal horsepower: 9 CV
- Maximum Power: 75 hp DIN at 4,250 rpm
- Maximum Torque: 149 Nm at 2,000 rpm
- Fuel supply: Indirect injection Rotodiesel
- Transmission: Front-wheel drive, 5-speed manual
- Brakes: Front and rear discs
- Tires: 195/70 R14
- Dimensions: Length × Width × Height: 4.95 × 1.77 × 1.47 m
- Weight: 1,436 kg
- Top speed: 153 km/h
- Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: 17.8 s
- Average consumption: 7.4 l/100 km
- Fuel tank: 68 liters
- Cargo space: 458 to 2,128 dm3
In the rear, the comfort is not optimal due to somewhat upright backrests. However, the legroom is sufficient for two adults in both rows. The seats offer the traditional comfort one expects from a Citroën of the '80s. The Phase 2 interiors were completely redesigned, but unfortunately, there was little improvement in terms of finishing, except for the seats and door panels. The seats offer the traditional comfort one expects from a Citroën of the '80s.
No seat belts for the center passengers, but sun visors are installed on both rows. What luxury!
The CX Phase 2, launched in 1985, is the last Citroën to feature a turn-signal toggle within easy reach but still without a return function. In 1986, the BX Phase 2 would bring back the traditional turn-signal switch.
The instrumentation with standard dials in the CX Phase 2 already appears much more conventional than the two «weight scales» offered on the Phase 1, except for the GTI. The button for adjusting the suspension height is much less rustic than in the DS, GS, and even the Xantia.