C-er­tain je ne sais

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

CITROEN has re­booted the C3 as it seeks to log on to a sales surge for its su­per­mini in an in­cred­i­bly com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place. UK new car sales fig­ures reg­u­larly show the sec­tor with mod­els in the top ten – but pop­u­lar­ity comes at a price as ev­ery­one is vy­ing for a piece of the ac­tion with reg­u­lar new en­trants and up­dates en­sur­ing it is fa­tal to stand still. So Citroen hasn’t – re­cently in­tro­duc­ing the lat­est hi-tech, trendy C3 which boasts French flair and a cer­tain je ne sais quoi to en­sure it stands out from the herd.

It is classy both in­side and out where the in­flu­ence of its si­b­ling the C4 Cac­tus model is ob­vi­ous thanks to the Air­bump pro­tec­tors on the sides of the doors, whee­larch pro­tec­tors, a face that re­minds me of Mar­vel comic su­per­hero Iron Man, and the tidy rear end.

There are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties to put your own stamp on it with a num­ber of per­son­al­i­sa­tion op­tions – in­clud­ing two-tone paint jobs for the ex­te­rior and dif­fer­ent coloured trim in­serts for the dash­board – while the ef­fi­cient range of en­gines, both petrol and diesel, give fuel econ­omy that is easy on the wal­let while pro­vid­ing punchy per­for­mance.

Prac­ti­cal­ity is a given with a 300-litre boot and room for three adults in the back thanks to lots of pas­sen­ger space while the cabin utilises qual­ity ma­te­ri­als and beau­ti­ful de­sign.

The rear seats split and fold to in­crease ca­pac­ity to 922 litres – but I do have a small quib­ble here as they don’t make a flat floor so al­though the car can cope with your golf clubs and trol­ley, it is a bit of a strug­gle to load them over the step cre­ated by the seat backs.

There are plenty of cubby holes and drinks hold­ers al­though the only cov­ered area for your valu­ables is the glove box, which does how­ever of­fer plenty of space.

Dual zone cli­mate con­trol en­sures a pleas­ant at­mos­phere for the cabin so it is no hard­ship to spend a long jour­ney in this su­per­mini.

Like most of the on­board en­ter­tain­ment good­ies on the car, it is ac­cessed via a seven-inch colour tablet-style touch­screen in the cen­tre of the dash which is sim­plic­ity it­self to use.

There is a dig­i­tal ra­dio - which on my test car briefly re­peated part of the pro­gramme you had just lis­tened to in a deja vu mo­ment when first switched on – me­dia stream­ing with USB socket and jack, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and in­ter­net ac­cess.

It is all very cut­ting edge which is ex­actly where Citroen wants the C3 to be.

The range opens up with a price-tag of £10,995 pro­gress­ing through a choice of three petrol and two diesel en­gines to £17,095 for the flag­ship model.

Trim lev­els start with Touch be­fore pro­gress­ing to Feel and then the Flair mod­els – one of which I drove priced from £16,285 fea­tur­ing a three-pot 1.2-litre PureTech petrol en­gine linked to a five-speed gear­box.

The turbo-charged power unit en­sures brisk progress – both from a stand­ing start and on the dual car­riage­way when you’re look­ing for a lit­tle ex­tra oomph for that over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vre. Im­pres­sive fuel econ­omy fig­ures are aided by stop/start while hill start as­sist is also fit­ted.

The sus­pen­sion errs on the side of com­fort so there is in­evitably a bit of body roll in cor­ners al­though the han­dling is gen­er­ally good.

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