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Citroen C3 in Frankfurt debut

Two becomes three: The C3's curved roofline was obviously inspired by Citroen's fabled 2CV, while its tall-boy stance mimics the likes of the Toyota Echo.

Citroen unveils a new small car that harks back to the legendary 2CV

21 Aug 2001

THIS is Citroen's striking new C3 compact car, due to make its international debut at next month's Frankfurt motor show.

The newcomer goes on sale in Europe next January and is due here in July, 2002 - priced from $18,000 to $21,000, according to Citroen Australia spokesman Edward Rowe.

The funky Citroen's price positioning means it will compete against the likes of the Peugeot 206, new Volkswagen Polo and Holden Astra.

Mr Rowe said the C3 would be offered here with a 1.6-litre petrol engine, with transmission choices comprising a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic. That's right, a six-speed automatic.

The C3 is one of two replacements - the imminent C2 being the other one - for the long-running Saxo, which has proved popular in Europe over the years but we never saw it here.

"Saxo is being replaced by two models because of the huge growth in the small-car segment in Europe," Mr Rowe said.

The smaller C2 will make its debut at the Paris motor show in September, 2002, and is due here in mid-2003, priced from $14,000 to $18,000.

Meanwhile, the stage is set for the uniquely styled C3 to make its debut. It has been described as the rebirth of the fabled 2CV but unlike other retro-inspired cars such as the imminent new Mini and VW's Beetle, C3 will be affordably priced.

It embraces the "tall-boy" styling that is becoming increasingly common in its segment and, as such, promises generous levels of interior space for a small car. The rounded roofline clearly harks back to the 2CV.

The raised seats are configured to give a commanding view of the road while a full-length glass sunroof should flood the cabin with light. The front panel of the roof is movable while the rear section is fixed.

Citroen says the C3's boot, which is around 60 litres larger than that of the Peugeot 206, comes with an innovative "Moduboard" system that allows the creation of different compartments with fold-down sections which store against the back seats when not in use.

In Europe the C3 will be offered with a range of petrol engines in 1.1, 1.4 and 1.6-litre displacements as well as a range of diesel units. We will get only the 1.6-litre petrol powerplant, which generates 82kW.

The optional six-speed automatic gearbox has three modes for different driving conditions and it also features a Tiptronic-style shift capability in which cog changing is achieved sequentially by nudging the gear lever forward or back.

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