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New Citroen C3 Review

On sale from 15 January, but on our television screens all over the Christmas and New Year holiday, is a 'fun' advertising campaign showing the new Citroen C3 five-door 'supermini' having a 'swinging' time by the sea.

Citroen say in the 60-second ad, a young couple sneak the new C3 past a security guard and into a dockyard where they connect the car's wheels to the cables of a shipping container crane - and then accelerate up into the air to create a giant swing.

Inside the cabin the couple experience the panoramic view through new C3's unique Zenith panoramic windscreen - from a very original perspective. The Zenith windscreen, which is 36% bigger than a conventional screen on an average five door small cars, Citroen say delivers an all-new motoring experience for drivers and passengers alike.

The outgoing C3 was Citroen's best selling core model range so the new one has to be competitive for price, quality, size and tax efficient for the current economic climate. Citroen say the new C3 is one of their most fuel and CO2 efficient cars and one version in the new range is the first production Citroen car emitting less than 99g/km of CO2.

The TV advert airs from now and the new C3 goes on sale from 15 January 2010. Prices start at £10,790 for the entry-level petrol model, rising to £16,140 for the range-topping 1.6HDi 110hp Exclusive. These include VAT at the new 17.5% rate.

From launch, new C3 will be available with a fixed price, low cost to the retail consumer, servicing offer. Priced at just £199 including VAT, this will cover all recommended and scheduled servicing, and brake fluid replacement for up to 3 years/35,000 miles.

Gary Savage, Citroen UK's Managing Director, said, "The stylish, grown-up, yet fun C3 is impossible to confuse with any other car. Retaining the exuberant charm and friendly personality of its predecessor, the new C3 represents a bold, contemporary, dynamically rewarding and fresh approach to the compact family vehicle, and provides a unique offering with that sensational panoramic Zenith windscreen."

He added, "In these exciting times for Citroen, new models such as C3 clearly show the confidence of the brand. This new car illustrates our determination to exceed expectations, to do away with convention and to provide practical benefits through the use of Creative Technologie."

The new C3 falls into the popular and growing B-segment, where its predecessor sold more than 2 million examples worldwide. Numerous competitors include the best selling Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa, the revised Renault Clio, Peugeot 207, the great value Hyundai i20, the versatile British built Honda Jazz and the 2010 Car of the Year - the new Volkswagen Polo.


On television screens now with pre-launch Christmas and New Year holiday period advertising campaign and on sale from the 15th January, the new Citroen C3 five door 'supermini' has the external styling cues of its predecessor but inside the car things in the form of trim design and quality have definitely changed for the better.

Bear in mind the new C3 has to sell against the likes of the best selling Ford Fiesta, the Vauxhall Corsa and now the brand new and class leading Volkswagen Polo to name just three. The three door versions, called DS3 follows early next year

But the latest C3 is not just a face-lift model; Citroen made the decision to keep with the general style which sold over two million units since its launch in 2002, but generally it is a new car.

At 3,940mm in length, 1,730mm in width and 1,510mm in height the new C3 has roughly the same overall proportions of the outgoing model. It has a short and steeply rising bonnet, large frontal glass area, low glass line to the sides and a bulbous roof. The styling now includes a more noticeable trapezoidal front grille and an eye-catching design for the headlight clusters giving increased road presence and a purposeful look.

Side styling treatment includes a low waistline and instead of black rubbing strips on the doors as used for the previous C3 there are now contoured styling lines pressed into the metal. At the chunky rear there is a wide opening tailgate giving access to a deep and wide 300-litre boot. But the high rear sill doesn't make loading easy for heavy items and although the rear seats do fold down, they do not fold flat so leaving a step in the load floor.

The modern day family car is mainly about packaging, maximum space in the minimum size but front seat passengers in the new C3 have lots of space and rear seat occupants should be quite happy with the leg and headroom. The seats look comfortable and supportive but feel less so after a long journey. The ride though is comfortable and the suspension generally copes well. Perhaps it is a bit soft at the front end and the rear system can cause the car to skip sideways when a rear wheel falls into a big hole. There is also some wind and tyre noise intrusion.

With the low waistline, huge glass area relative to the size of the car and the Zenith panoramic sunroof for VTR+ and Exclusive versions, the interior is light, airy and the visibility all round is first class. Also first class and the most notable first impression about the new C3 is the huge improvement in the design of the interior trim. It looks more expensive, it generally feels of high quality, it is more sculptured and it looks 'posh', certainly a higher level in style and quality over other popular 'superminis'. I can see this feature being a big selling point for retail customers - that and the final negotiated price of course.

The new C3 is offered in Citroen's three core trim levels, VT, VTR+ and Exclusive - with a Special Edition Airdream+ that emits just 99g/km of CO2 available to order now for delivery from March 2010.

The entry-level VT models feature generous levels of standard equipment including an MP3-compatible radio/CD player with steering mounted controls, electrically adjustable door mirrors, front electric windows and a multi-function on-board trip computer.

At the heart of the range, the likely best selling VTR+ trim gains the panoramic Zenith windscreen, air-conditioning, 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, leather steering wheel and cruise control with speed limiter.

The range-topping Exclusive models offers premium levels of design and comfort with additional equipment such as digital air-conditioning, front and rear 'one-touch' electric windows, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, part-Alcantara upholstery, 16-inch alloy wheels and dark tinted rear windows.

The Special Edition Airdream+ will be Citroen's first production model to emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and represents the greenest choice for the environmentally conscious motorist. Based on the VTR+ trim level, it gains two additional features as standard - rear parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity.

On the downside ESP, electronic stability programme is standard on just one 1.6-litre HDi 110bhp model and available as a £300 option on other Exclusive specification versions but not on any other models. This is a big own-goal for Citroen as ESP has to be fitted as standard to gain a Euro NCAP five star safety rating, the new C3 gets only four stars and so does not match its main selling competitors.

Prices start at just £10,790 for the entry-level 1.1i 61hp VT petrol model, rising to £16,140 for the range-topping 1.6HDi 110hp 6-speed manual Exclusive. At the heart of the model line-up, offering an excellent balance of value and equipment, VTR+ models start at £12,690 for the petrol versions and £13,790 for the HDi-powered equivalent. The low CO2 Airdream version will cost £14,490.

Talking of engine options the new C3 is initially offered with the choice of four petrol engines and three HDi diesels, with a Special Edition Airdream+ 1.6HDi 90hp unit with CO2 emissions of 99g/km coming soon.

The three HDi diesels are; 1.4HDi 8V 70hp, 1.6HDi 16V 90hp and 1.6HDi 16V 110hp - all emit 115g/km of CO2 or less. The 1.6HDi 16V 110hp and the 1.6HDi 16V 90hp Euro V engines (the latter being specified in the Airdream+), are fitted with Citroen's lauded DPFS (Diesel Particulate Filter System).

The four petrol engines are; 1.1i 8V 61hp, 1.4i 8V 75hp, 1.4 16V VTi 95hp and 1.6 16V VTi 120hp - emit between 134g/km and 158g/km of CO2. The VTi 95hp and VTi 120hp are from Citroen's family of refined and economical BMW co-developed power-plants.

For drivers keeping a close eye on their fuel costs, the new C3 delivers excellent combined cycle fuel economy of up to 48.7mpg for petrol models and 74.3mpg for diesel-powered versions.

All engines are mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, apart from the 1.6HDi 16V 110hp, which has a 6-speed manual transmission. The 1.6 VTi 120hp is offered with a choice of either 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions.

Because the C3 is predominately a retail customer car, most sales will be taken up by the petrol engines but with the significant move to down-size and pay less tax some fleet and company car drivers will find their annual high mileage driving will be better suited to the very economical, less tax incurring, but more expensive to buy diesel versions.

To get myself behind the wheel of a new C3 before the public launch Citroen kindly supplied a 1.6HDi 90bhp Exclusive version priced at £15,190. This is not likely to be the most popular model but I would go for the Exclusive trim level because it just looks and feels so good. I also liked this particular 90bhp diesel engine because it is fuel frugal, 54.8mpg on test, officially it will average 65.7mpg, but with CO2 emissions of 110g/km it costs only £35 a year for road tax and a company car driver will pay a very reasonable 13% Benefit in Kind tax. The 215Nm of torque from just 1,750rpm made the C3 feel very responsive at low to medium speed driving despite the long-legged final drive gear ratio needed for the low emission rating.

There is much to like about the new Citroen C3, it is not perfect and the competition is fierce, but knowing that Citroen are aggressive with their showroom deals it looks a possible winner. To see more watch the television commercials this Christmas and New Year, it will make better viewing that the usual load of 'repeats' we will have to endure.

Happy motoring in 2010.

MILESTONES. Citroen C3 1.6HDi 90bhp Exclusive 5-Door. Price: £15,190. Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, four cylinder, high pressure direct injection turbodiesel, 90bhp, 215Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 5-speed manual. Performance: 112mph, 0-62mph 11.3 seconds, 65.7mpg combined cycle (54.8mpg actual on test), CO2 110g/km, VED road tax £35, BIK tax 13%. Dimensions: L 3,941mm, W 1,728mm, H 1,538mm, boot space 300-litres. Insurance group: 4E. For: Improved quality, plush high class interior, light and airy cabin with good visibility, mainly well equipped, comfortable ride, fuel and tax friendly, easy to live with. Against: No ESP as standard on all models, seats lack support, steering short on feedback, wind and tyre noise intrusion, deep potholes unsettle the handling.


18 December 2009

Miles Better News Agency

Like the looks of the Citroen C3, why not check out, the Toyota Yaris, the VW Polo, the Peugeot 206 or the new Ford Fiesta.

Finance your new Citroen C3 on a PCP car loan work out your monthly payments using our Car Finance Payment Calculator.

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