5.1.2010 Citroen C3 HDi 16V review
Bags of showroom appeal with distinctive looks, good interior space and a much more up-market cabin than the outgoing model.
Prices high by Citroen standards as you move further up the range and you need to check your insurance because it will be pricey if you break that big windscreen. Dynamically, the 'softer' C3 is a very different flavour to Ford's sporty and agile Fiesta and even Volkswagen's new Polo.
Special edition Airdream+, Citroën's first car to emit less than 100g/km of CO2 due in March. Based on the VTR+, it has rear parking sensors and Bluetooth with USB box as standard.
Review by Russell Bray for Next Green Car.com
Quite perky is the good news with plenty of torque from low revs, but with maximum power of 89bhp at 4,000rpm it's rarely worth extending engine further. Maximum torque is 212 lbs ft at 1,750rpm. Five-speed manual gear change is the old, stirring custard classic and benefits from a calm touch. From 2011, the C3 will be available Citroën's second generation, fuel-saving stop-start system. Acceleration to 62mph takes 11.3 seconds. Top speed is 111mph.
Despite Citroen's claims about reducing body roll when cornering this is still a car for gentle motoring rather than rushing as there is still quite a lot of lean and the seats don't support you very well. Ride not as smooth as you would expect considering soft suspension. Light, electrically assisted steering and a small turning circle make the C3 handy round town. Electronic stability system to control skids is a £300 option on most models.
Attractive and distinctive appearance, together with spacious interior is impressive considering the new C3 is usefully smaller for parking than a Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 207 (despite sharing underpinnings) and a Renault Clio. Most versions have huge glass windscreen that continues over the front seats. Length: 3941mm. Width 1728mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Cabin is super plush in most areas (passenger glove box door is exception) with luxury dashboard, smart centre console and loads of chrome trim.
Stepped backrest adjustment can mean your ideal driving position is between notches but good range of steering wheel adjustment.
'Zenith' windscreen (pictured)makes back seats less claustrophobic than in most small cars.
Less engine noise thanks to three times more sound deadening than before but high wind and tyre noise at speed. (Michelin tyres on test cars).
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy: Urban 53.3mpg, extra-urban (some out of town driving) 76.3mpg, combined 65.7mpg, which translates to a fuel cost of around 8.7p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 110g/km puts the C3 in band B for £35 annual road tax. Insurance group 4. Warranty covers three years/ 60,000 miles.
Modified engines and relatively low weight deliver good fuel economy, though slower accelerating Ford Fiesta can just shade it by a couple of mpg on official figure. Gear change indicator reminds you to change up and is usually pretty much correct. More powerful 110hp and 90hp Euro V diesel engines are fitted with diesel particulate filters. CO2 emissions of 110g/km are certainly very good for its class.
Mid-range VTR+ trim includes Zenith windscreen, alloy wheels, fog lights, leather steering wheel, air conditioning and cruise control/speed limiter. Exclusive adds 'digital' air-conditioning, front and rear ‘one-touch’ electric windows, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, part-Alcantara upholstery, bigger 16in diameter alloy wheels and dark tinted rear windows. Bluetooth phone system £400, rear parking sensors £300.
Model tested: Citroen C3 1.6 HDi Exclusive
Body-style: Five-door hatchback supermini
Engine/CO2: 89bhp 1.6 litre turbo-diesel / 110gCO2/km
Trim grades: VT, VTR+ and Exclusive
On-road price: From £12,690 for 1.4TDI
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom: January 15, 2010
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
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