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Stand-out in a Citroen C3

 
Created on 21/06/2017 @ 08:02
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Test drive by Graham Breeze

You won't find it easy to hide away in the Citroen C3 - quite the opposite in fact. So unless you are prepared to stand out from the crowd look away now.

Because the C3 has been given an adventurous makeover, ensuring the third-generation model has a real chance in winning customers from Mini and Ford Fiesta thanks to Cactus-influenced styling, body side protectors, wheel arch extensions and a contrasting coloured roof. 

It's certainly not everyone's cup of tea but there is no hiding from the fact that the facelift should prove a sales boost. In fact Citroen might even create a fan base similar to the following received by the iconic 2CV - though there's no roll back roof this time.

On test was the C3 Flair Pure Tech 110 with a 1199cc turbocharged in-line, three- cylinder engine, which would set you back £16,285. Adding a different coloured roof means an extra £260 and blind spot monitoring, Citroen Connect Nav 7inch touchscreen, keyless entry, and attractive 17inch alloys added another £1,300.

If the test car isn't the model you are looking for the range includes 67bhp and 110bhp petrol engines, and 1.6 litre diesels in either 74bhp or 99bhp formats, all with a choice of five-speed manual, five-speed semi-automatic or six-speed torque converter automatic gearboxes.

Inside the cabin is a unique place to be - frankly there's no comparison with the central seven-inch touchscreen dominating the fascia and housing an infotainment system, ventilation and system controls. Citroen has kept the analogue speedometer and Rev counter.

The front seats are firm but comfortable and there's enough steering column adjustment to keep even a six-footer happy. C3 doesn't compare well to the opposition when it comes to rear seat space, though boot room is impressive, if not good enough for the golf clubs.

You would expect the C3 to be an easy car to drive and it's just that, with light steering making town driving, and particularly parking, a joy rather than a chore. There's a bit of body roll when cornering and the Citroen certainly doesn't match the Mini when it comes to charging around tight country bends.

There’s something really sweet about the three-cylinder engine when you press the accelerator, though the unit does sound a bit uncomfortable at idle. You won’t be disappointed with a top speed of 117mph and 0-62mph in 9.3secocnds, along with combined fuel figures of 61mpg and C02 emission figures of just 103g/km.

Standard features include tyre pressure monitor, gear efficiency indicator, lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, remote central locking deadlocks and immobiliser, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, cruise control, power steering, all-round electric windows, leather steering wheel and gear knob.

Citroen has paid plenty of attention to the safety of this car too. There’s ABS, EBD, EBA and ESC braking support, hill start function, all-round airbags, seat belt warning and electric child locks.

The problem for Citroen bosses is that the competition in this sector is as tough as Premier League football and promotion to the “big league” is going to prove a difficult task. Despite the C3 being an eye-catching alternative, pinching sales from Mini and Ford won’t be easy.

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