Citroën ZX Volcane 1.9 Turbo D 1993 to 1997
If you couldn’t afford a Lamborghini Diablo or Ferrari Testarossa during the 1990’s, there was a much more cost-effective wedge of excitement on the market. Designed by Bertone, the Citroën ZX Volcane TD was a slice of gallic cool that appealed to a very different customer than the Ford Escort XR3i. More Saint-Tropez than South-end-on- Sea, if you will.
Yet in standard form, the ZX was a comfortable family hatchback, with Citroën’s trademark soft suspension designed to soak up France’s back roads. An image far removed from the ZX Rallye Raid car, which enjoyed success in competition and even won the Paris-Tripoli-Dakar rally in 1991. It continued to amass five world titles between then and 1997.
A hot version was given the green light, and the ZX Volcane was born in April 1993, with arguably one of the coolest names of any hot hatch in history. Engineers worked their magic on the chassis, which featured conventional MacPherson struts at the front, but a more intriguing setup at the rear. Passive rear-wheel steering allowed the back wheels to turn slightly under load thanks to specially designed bushes, helping to quell understeer.
Power came from the same 1.9- litre XUD turbodiesel engine found in the Peugeot 306, which shares its platform with the ZX. In the Volcane TD it produced 90bhp and 109lb ft of torque, getting it from 0-60mph in a lively 11.3 seconds and returning just under 50mpg. That figure wasn’t of great importance though, because midrange punch was much more attention-grabbing for powering out of corners and passing slower traffic. Its excellent handling also meant the Volcane TD could keep pace with more exotic machinery over a twisting road.
Wearing a price tag of £12,995 when it was new in 1993, the Volcane wasn’t just one of the first diesel hot hatchbacks, it was arguably the most grownup. Aimed at the rising executive, it was fitted with velour upholstery, front fog lamps, power steering and a leather rimmed three-spoke steering wheel and had the same sporting looks as its 1.9i petrol-engined cousin.