Citroen jumps queue

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News In The Garage - NEIL McDON­ALD

WE’VE heard a lot lately about sexy in­ner ur­ban run­abouts like the Smart Fortwo, Nis­san Mi­cra and Mazda2, but the fan­fare sur­round­ing newer ar­rivals has over­shad­owed other sim­i­lar-sized ve­hi­cles that are just as wor­thy.

The Citroen C3 is a case in point. It has been around since 2003 but be­cause rel­a­tively few are sold, it has been sent to the back of the de­sir­abil­ity queue.

How­ever, it’s worth a look, par­tic­u­larly in the new 1.6-litre HDi turbo-diesel form.

At $23,990 this pocket rocket is a wor­thy com­muter. The usual suite of airbags, anti-skid brakes and four-star crash rat­ing pro­vide re­as­sur­ance. And the torquey 1.6 de­liv­ers 66kW at 4000 revs and 215Nm from 1750 revs.

This means once the en­gine hits a sweet spot about 2000 revs you’d bet­ter hold on. The C3 will rocket away from the traf­fic lights and is a sur­pris­ingly re­fined open-road cruiser, with plenty of over­tak­ing might in the cru­cial 80km/h to 110km/h range.

Some as­pects of the in­te­rior, such as the dig­i­tal speedo and strip rev counter, date the lit­tle five-door, but a wel­come sur­prise are the comfy seats and plush ride.

Econ­omy? Well, ex­pect bet­ter than 4.4 litres for 100km around town, drop­ping to 3.7 litres for 100km on the high­way.

Worth a look: at $23,990, the pocket-rocket Citroen C3 has proved a wor­thy com­muter.

Fam­ily fast: the $42,990 Ford Fal­con of­fers a tur­bocharged 4.0-litre in­line six-cylin­der en­gine.

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