Its 29 degrees as I clamber into the new Citroën C3 in Airside Retail Park. The tarmac is bubbling, as is my brow as I source the air-con button and engage. Within minutes the cabin is transformed into a blissful cool environment and a pleasant place to be.
As it’s my first time in a Citroën in 24 months it’s nice to see how they have changed over the years. The driving position is fine with excellent visibility all round. In my opinion the French have always styled cars well and to be fair the interior on the new C3 is elegant with a clear instrument cluster and advanced multimedia system within perfect reach. The 7-inch color screen offers Bluetooth connectivity, navigation and a DVD/MP3 player. Before I set off I adjust my seat and open back the glorious panoramic Zenith windscreen to take in the beautiful summer we are having. This 1,350mm windscreen has a gradient tint that allows you to enjoy the sun without feeling like you are in a glasshouse. It’s a lovely feature and standard on all Exclusive models.
With everything adjusted and ready to go I fire up the 1199cc 3-cylinder engine and head out towards the M50. Although Citroën have worked to reduce engine noise with added sound deadening around the bulk head you can still hear the little 3-cylinder engine working hard. This engine is part of the new PureTech family, which includes the VTi 68 and VTi 82 that I am driving. The new family of three-cylinder engines has the same if not more power compared with the previous generation engines, combined with better fuel consumption and emissions, down by almost 25 per cent. The objective of these new PureTech engines was to make substantial cuts in emissions and fuel consumption, and also to reduce the weight of the engines to make them more compact. Right now two different capacity versions have been developed; a 1.0-litre and a 1.2-litre with power ranging from 68hp to 82hp. Depending on the model and the tyres fitted to the new Citroën C3 you choose you should see a combined cycle fuel consumption between 65.7mpg and 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions range from 99 to 107g/km which is very impressive.
The C3 is by no means quick to drive but then again if you wanted performance you would be better off picking from the DS range. This car is all about economical everyday motoring in a pleasant environment. The suspension is soft enough to give you a very comfortable ride on motorways and through cities, but on back roads when pushing it, the car can be a little washy which prompts under steer through demanding B roads. My advice is to drive this car as Citroën intended in a civilised fashion and it will reward with efficiency and practicality. I spent a week in the C3 and had no issues. Cabin space behind the driver is a little tight with a 6ft 1-inch guy driving but boot space is generous at 300-litres.
The car looks good and priced at €18,595 it offers good value for this level of spec. The new C3 range commences from €16,045 and there is a finance offer available from €199 a month. You would be mad not to take a test drive.
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