What to Consider When Buying a Citation Excel, XLS or XLS+

What to Consider When Buying a Citation Excel, XLS or XLS+

November 18, 2018

When considering buying an aircraft in the mid-size cabin category, the Cessna Citation XL series are very popular options. This includes the Excel, XLS and XLS+. The first Excel was delivered in 1998, and Cessna rolled out the XLS in 2004. The XLS+ followed in 2008.

The difference between these aircraft basically comes down to avionics and is identifiable by the screens in the cockpit, as the XLS moved to LCD screens compared to the Excel’s CRT screens, and the XLS+ has a different avionics suite to the XLS. Otherwise, the cabin size, range and performance are virtually identical. Below are some basic varying options among these jet types, as well as some of the aspects we think are strong selling points for the series.

A Few Differences to Consider

For the Excel

Externally Serviceable Lavatory: A highly regarded option in an Excel is the externally serviceable lavatory, which means that the lav can be emptied from outside of the aircraft. Otherwise, an internally serviceable lav has to be brought through the cabin to be emptied. All the XLS AND XLS+ have externally serviceable lavatories.

        Citation Excel Lavatory

Excel Lavatory

An APU allows your aircraft to have power when it is on the ground. This is beneficial as it provides air conditioning and heating when the aircraft is sitting on the ground to help cool and heat the cabin prior to engine start. It is much more comfortable to board a temperature controlled aircraft when it is really hot or really cold outside. All the XLS and XLS+ have APUs.


For the XLS and XLS+

Layout: The XLS and XLS+ have mainly two different layout options. The first is a two-place divan at the front of the aircraft. This option optimizes space with passengers. Most Excels have the two-place divan, but a few aircraft have more bespoke interior layouts.

Citation XLS Interior

Dual-Place Divan

The other layout option for the XLS and XLS+ is a single side-facing seat in the front of the aircraft with an extended galley. Most people prefer to have the two-place divan to fit the extra passenger, but you may prefer to have the extra galley storage space.

Citation XLS Interior

Single Side-Facing Seat

For the Excel/XLS/XLS+ 

Avionics: If you are in the EU and are going to bring your aircraft onto an EU register, you must be aware of the avionics on the aircraft as the EU requirements are different from the FAA requirements. The FAA and EU have different avionics demands for aircraft with the take-off weight of this series. The important avionics to ensure the aircraft has for EU OPS are Dual Flight Management Systems, TCAS II with version 7.1 software, and a Flight Data Recorder. Retrofitting non-equipped aircraft is very expensive and time consuming.

Citation Excel Cockpit

Excel Cockpit

Citation XLS Cockpit

XLS Cockpit

Citation XLS+ Cockpit

XLS+ Cockpit

Entertainment System: These vary widely between aircraft from installed WIFI, DVD players, and personal screens at each seat. Of course, entertainment systems can be relatively easily, but quite expensively, retrofitted in the aircraft you choose.

Citation XLS Media

Citation XLS with Media Screens


Popular Attributes for the Citation XLS/XLS+/Excel

  • Range: 1700 nautical miles, roughly 3 ½ – 4 hours flight time. This is a great range for hopping around Europe or the United States.
  • Cabin Space: A large cabin size for a mid-size cabin aircraft. More space = More comfort
  • Short-Field Performance: These aircraft are well known for their ability to land on short runways. It is beneficial when your aircraft doesn’t limit the airfields you can land on.
  • Baggage Room: 80 cubic feet of baggage room is substantial for a mid-size cabin, and when you can seat 7-8 passengers, baggage space is crucial.


This is a basic snapshot of the Cessna XL series. When buying an airplane, it is best to fully research the aircraft you are considering and discuss in-depth with your broker what your needs and wants are.

For more information on this type of aircraft or how we can develop a custom aircraft search for you based on your specific desires and needs, contact our professionals at enquiries@colibriaircraft.com or +44 (0) 203 551 8007.

Citation XLS+ Interior


Citation XLS Interior