Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Comfort comes first with Citroén’s new C3

THE Citroén C3 and I go back a long way — just about to the time the French car was first launched on to the market in 2002.

THE Citroén C3 and I go back a long way — just about to the time the French car was first launched on to the market in 2002.

That year Citroén produced the C3 to replace the Saxo. Actually, the Saxo had introduced me to the delights of Easter in Andalucía in Spain, where it had its launch for UK journalists.

While the Saxo came and went, the supermini C3 — produced in a five–door hatchback body style — was a very important car for Citroén. It needed to sell in high volume (and prove a success) and this new second generation is evidence that the C3 goes on.

This is the affordable Citroén — the one that should attract young drivers starting out in car ownership. And while the C3 is not a particularly exciting car — Citroén has the DS3 for those that wish for style and some genuine pizzazz — it remains a desirable model.

Back in the day — around 2003 — I had a C3 on long–term test and I have to say it drove faultlessly during the time I had it. This new second generation C3 is as one would expect — a more sophisticated car but one that still appeals to those who want a workaday supermini rather than something flashy and eye–catching.

I have a feeling, though, that even young drivers want to get value for money above everything else — and with a basic on–the–road price of £16,790 the C3 is a good buy.

As with the C4 I recently wrote about, Citroén seem to have paid particular attention to interior comfort.

This was the luxury C3 Exclusive spec, and it showed — the front passenger and driver’s seats are noticeably cushioned and comfortable in black leather. This provides the kind of comfort one might expect from a much more expensive car.

This C3 is pretty green too, with the test car’s BlueHDi 1560cc diesel engine returning some 83.1mpg on the combined cycle with carbon dioxide emissions of 87g/km.

It’s worthwhile just to note that while the debate about diesel engines and their impact on the environment goes on, Citroén says its BlueHDi technology is “the most effective diesel emission control system on the market in terms of reduction of pollutant emissions including nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates”. So these BlueHDi engines already comply with higher Euro–standard regulations with regard to engines on new vehicles from September last year and to all new vehicles from September 2015.

These are very important issues concerning motoring today: driving a car is about being a responsible road user and foremost in that is any car owner’s duty to be as green as possible.

How often have you pulled up behind a car or lorry in a queue that belches noxious fumes and wished someone would do something about it?

One interesting aspect of this C3 — and something that seems to be more prevalent in new cars — is the Panoramic Zenith windscreen. This extra piece of equipment on the C3 Exclusive model I was driving made me smile because its design seems attractively French.

The Panoramic Zenith windscreen can only be described as a windscreen that dispenses with the need for the old–fashioned sunroof. It continues over the heads of the driver and front–seat passenger in one glorious extended sweep of glass.

You can cover this extended windscreen area with an internal cover that slides back or forward and includes sun visors (presumably when you are not travelling through picturesque scenery). On a sunny day, careful manipulation of the internal cover — and control of the air conditioning — might be required to achieve maximum cab comfort.

As always, I would urge you to drive the C3 yourself if you are looking for a roomy, economical super–mini and consider the higher spec models — such as the test car Exclusive — to maximise your own personal satisfaction.

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