Pity the Citroen Saxo VTS. It is forgotten hot hatch of the turn of the millenium, found sitting in the shadow of the Renault Clio 182s and Honda Civic Type Rs of this world. Blame a combination of things - a lingering whiff of association with barry boy types who did obscene things to them in the early 2000s involving multiple exhausts, perhaps. Then there's the fact that its 120hp output sounded decidedly weedy next to those of its hot hatch brethren - even back then.
But you, dear PH reader, are of course enlightened enough to know that a low power figure doesn't tell the whole story - and indeed, that today's boy racers have moved on to pastures new, if they exist at all. You, therefore, will also be aware that today, a Saxo VTS is an extremely tempting thing to own.
For example, in today's world of complex electronics we so often crave simplicity. Here, you've got it, front and centre, in the form of a 1.6-litre 16v engine that does without a turbo or an exhaust valve or any other such frippery. In the styling, too - crisp and unfettered, and pumped up with just the right amount of extra aggression by those cute square arches and chunky rub strips.
Underneath it all, of course, sits a chassis that does ride and handling the way the best French chassis always used to. Just enough squidge to shrug off mid-corner bumps combined with just enough stiffness to ensure the VTS bounds through corners like an excited puppy, its steering yapping away at you while its tail wags benignly at the slightest provocation.
Inside, it's all cheap plastics and 90s velour, but that's OK because what more would you expect? Those seats are surprisingly comfy, remember, and hold you in place better than many a modern sports seat with infinite adjustability. The same goes for equipment - electric front windows and a stereo are about the size of it, but who cares when you're having this much fun?
This VTS in particular looks like cracking value. It's done less than 70,000 miles, remains completely standard and original, and looks to be in great nick. It's had just two owners, too, and if the ringbinder of previous service invoices is anything to go by, they look to have been fastidious.
In short, this is the kind of car you just don't see for sale very often any more, in the sort of unmolested condition that's almost impossible to find. It's the sort of car that should offer buckets of fun on a very slim budget. And it's the sort of car you'll remember was 'only three grand once' one day, when people remember how rare and how good it is. Snap this one up, then, before they do.
SPECIFICATION - CITROEN SAXO VTS
Engine: 1,587cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 119@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 107@5,200rpm
First registered: 2002
Recorded mileage: 69,630
Price new: £11,795
Yours for: £2,995
See the original advert here.