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Car reviews - Citroen - C3 - 5-dr hatch range

Overview

Citroen packs quality and space into its C3 but automatic 'box lets it down

17 Nov 2010

CITROEN’S second-generation C3 comes to market at a lower price point than its predecessor but still places a significant premium on a brand which is losing market share.

Like the old model, this one is a visual winner and adds a sportier element to its individual styling. More importantly, the airier interior adds space and lots of intelligent details while entirely overcoming the entry feel of its predecessor.

The base model VT is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine that produces just 54kW, which is less than some comparable sized cars offered 20 years and more ago.

Diesels, of course, are what PSA (maker of Peugeot and Citroën) does best and the 1.6-litre HDi offered in the up-spec VTR+ and Exclusive variants is a cracker, consuming just 3.7 litres of fuel per 100km on the highway cycle.

Despite dated features such as a four-speed automatic transmission and standard steel wheels even on the Exclusive, the C3 promises greatly improved quality, better dynamics, more space and the impressive panoramic windscreen which sets the Exclusive apart from all rivals.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 November 2010 to 1 October 2012

Previous model

C3

Released: December 2002
Ended: June 2010
Family Tree: C3

CITROEN’S original C3, which made its Australian debut in December 2002, played a major role in re-establishing the French marque’s local presence. But its interior presentation, performance and driving dynamics failed to live up to the promise of that cool styling and premium pricing for a car of this diminutive size. Visually, it evoked the iconic 2CV, which redefined minimalist motoring in the post World War II years but without falling too deeply into the nostalgia trap: this was a 21st Century small car. Cheap plastics in what felt like a remarkably low-rent interior and a compromised driving position contrasted remarkably with this image.Early examples were powered by the same 1.4-litre petrol engine as seen in the new car, which was supplanted by a lustier 80 kW 1.6-litre unit in February 2006, with the 66kW turbo-diesel on offer from October 2007.

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