A lit­tle bump can’t dent C3’s ap­peal

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - MOTORING - FREDERIC MANBY

CITROËN BREEZES into 2017 with the lat­est C3 su­per­mini, this time re­splen­dent with the bright face and dim­pled Air­bump side pro­tec­tion from the larger Cac­tus. These air­filled bub­bles are set into the door skin and should mit­i­gate mi­nor im­pacts. They also add vis­ual in­ter­est.

C3 pi­o­neers a for­ward-fac­ing cam­era which can take sin­gle shots or video film for so­cial shar­ing or proof of reck­less driv­ing. In an emer­gency it will au­to­mat­i­cally start film­ing.

As it hap­pened, dur­ing the car’s UK me­dia de­but in Worces­ter­shire a hap­less pick-up re­versed into a C3 – all caught on film and caus­ing mi­nor trim dam­age seen on the car here. And yes, if the cam­era ac­tu­ally in­crim­i­nates the C3 driver its record can be deleted. As if you would?

It is in the seven-car short­list for Euro­pean car of the year, an­nounced in March.

The C3 is the third ver­sion of the jaunty five-door, five-seater hatch­back. It has been a good seller, with 3.6 mil­lion knocked out since 2002, of which 200,000 have come to Bri­tain.

It’s a ma­jor re­vi­sion rather than all-new and brings sus­pen­sion which, praise them, has been re-tuned for com­fort rather than rac­ing. The roof is lower, the seats wider, the rear area roomier.

There are three petrol en­gines, all 1.2 three-cylin­der, with power out­puts of 68, 82 and 110 horse power – the lat­ter tur­bocharged. A pair of 1.6 litre turbo diesels with 75 and 100 horse power com­plete the of­fer­ing. These are met­ric, or ps, rat­ings. Di­vide by 1.014 to get bhp and some frac­tions. Gear­boxes are man­ual five speed, with an elec­tri­cally man­aged au­to­matic 110hp model avail­able soon.

The mod­els are Touch,

Feel and Flair. Prices open at £10,995 for the 68hp Touch – also avail­able with the 82hp en­gine at £11,695 and the 75hp diesel at a heady £13,295. The prices in­clude 15 in steel wheels (no spare), and a fair suite of safety sys­tems and DAB au­dio with Blue­tooth phone con­nec­tion. Air con­di­tion­ing will cost you £600 and you can’t have the Air­bumps.

The core model is the Feel, with all the en­gine op­tions and the one you should aim for. Costs: from £13,045 for the 68hp petrol to £16,045 for the 100hp diesel. Flair mod­els get the Air­bumps as stan­dard and the on board cam­era. Flair’s en­gine choices are the 82, 110 and 100, from £14,795 to £15,995 to £17,095.

We tried the Flair with the 110hp petrol and 100hp diesel on pleas­ant up and down routes in the Malvern hills – at tourist speeds. The petrol car recorded 40mpg, the diesel 51mpg.

Ride com­fort was as good as promised. The 82hp Feel was sweeter and if you don’t need the punchy flex­i­bil­ity of the big­ger en­gines would be a good com­pro­mise.

JAUNTY: Citroen’s C3 su­per­mini gets the Air­bumps fea­ture as seen on the Cac­tus.

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