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French diesel matches Japanese hybrid

Frugal: The C3 HDi uses just 4.4 litres of fuel per 100km.

Citroen's new C3 diesel matches the Toyota Prius hybrid for fuel economy

30 Oct 2007

CITROEN has released a new turbo-diesel model in Australia that matches the Toyota Prius petrol-electric hybrid car in terms of fuel consumption.

The C3 HDi consumes just 4.4L/100km when tested to the official Australian design rule mixed-cycle test, the same figure handed down to the Prius.

The small Citroen has a significant price advantage over the Toyota, with a starting price of just $23,990 compared to the $37,400 Prius.

“The Citroen C3 HDi is proof that you do not have to spend top dollar to get the best fuel consumption,” said Citroen Australia general manager Miles Williams. “This is another demonstration of Citroen’s leadership in this eco-friendly technology.” Mr Williams continued to promote the C3’s strengths against those of the Prius.

Although careful not mention the “hybrid rival” by name, he pointed to a recent US report that indicated the petrol-electric Toyota was not as green as suggested when its complete life-cycle environmental impact was taken into account.

“As full-life and ashes-to-ashes green audits have shown clearly, a real green car is much more than just a low fuel consumption figure, just as a real economy car must have a low cost to buy as well as to run,” Mr Williams said.

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“The C3 HDi achieves these targets with ease. To start with it has a low purchase price, almost half that of a hybrid with the same fuel economy.

“It is based on one of Europe’s best-selling cars, not a low-volume, specialist car, which means its development costs are amortised across a long and large production run, reducing the CO2 foot print of development and production. “Finally, its relatively simple and straightforward technology promises a long, low cost and low environmental impact life.” The new HDi C3 is a 1.6-litre common rail direct injection turbo-diesel with 66kW (or as Citroen states in its technical specifications – 66.2kW) at 4000rpm.

The maximum torque figure is 215Nm and comes in nice and low in the rev-range at 1750rpm.

Unlike some other diesel models, the C3’s powerplant has been approved to run on commercially produced bio-diesel with a blend of up to the current 30 per cent blending cap.

The only transmission available is a five-speed manual.

The windscreen sticker on the C3 HDi’s windscreen might feature the city/highway mixed cycle figure of 4.4L/100km, but those who do a lot of country driving will also be interested in the incredible highway cruising consumption figure of just 3.7L/100km.

Apart from the new diesel, Citroen also offers the small C3 hatch with a 1.4-litre petrol engine, with 55kW and 120Nm, from $19,990 and a 1.6-litre petrol engine, with 80kW and 147Nm, from $21,990.

The new C3 HDi comes standard with air-conditioning, electric windows, power steering and velour seats.

Standard safety gear includes ABS brakes and front and side airbags for the driver and passenger.

It also has disc brakes for the front and rear, rather than the front disc/rear drum set-up of some other cars in the light-car class.

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