All-New Citroen C3, comfortably connected

In Car Reviews, Citroen by Tom Scanlan

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Some car companies are not too arrogant to ask their (existing?) customers what they would want from their new car.

Tom Scanlan was at the launch of the French firm’s all-new B-segment super-mini, driving the All-New Citroen C3 Flair.
Citroen’s potential C3 super-mini drivers said they wanted to feel safe, protected and comfortable; personalisation — for their car to look unique; and for them to be connected. “Pas de problème, mon vieux!” responded Citroen (probably). And so we have the charming All-New C3.

Looks smart enough, I must say, with its scarlet roof over a white body and scarlet accents on the wing mirrors and front end and rear ends…well, that was the first one that I happened to see. There are also those ‘air bumps’ as Citroen call their unique plastic side protectors, and which are optional at no cost on the C3. In fact, there are 36 colour combinations available.

Citroen has always tried to put comfort high on its agenda, but they now suggest to us that it is not just the ride and sofa-style seats that they are talking about. No, it means the acoustics; the interior storage space; a light and airy cabin…They call it ‘Citroen Advanced Comfort’ like big comfy Citroens of old with a ‘millennial’ twist.

But we are jumping the gun.

The basic facts about the new C3 are the price: it starts at £10,995. The most economical version, the diesel 75 has an official combined fuel consumption of 80.7 mpg and CO2 emissions of 92 g/km. The top model starts at £14,795. At launch, the cars were all manual’s, but an automatic will be available in February.

My main drive was in the 1560 CC diesel, claiming 76.3 mpg in the combined cycle and which returned an indicated 56.2 over my driving colleague’s and my eighty-odd miles together. The car proved to be comfortable to ride in, although rear legroom, although about an inch more than in the outgoing C3, is still restricted, as is access into and out of the back.

It was pleasant to drive, easy and quite lively with its zero-to-sixty-two mph figure of 10.6 seconds. Of course, under hard acceleration, some diesel noise is obvious, but the car is quiet enough to be perfectly acceptable on long journeys. Given the pricing over the range, it was something of a surprise to find that this car’s price on the road was £18,555. But it should be reasonably economical to run, especially with its 95 g/km emissions requiring no annual road tax or city parking charges.

The petrol engine tried more briefly, one of the three differently-powered 1.2 litre, 3-cylinder units, was also enjoyable to drive, with an equally pleasingly slick gear change, good braking and precise and nicely-weighted handling.

They were a reminder that, in these ways, there really is no car currently manufactured that has anything but the slightest thing to complain about. There was nothing I could moan about in the C3. I would have liked grab-handles…funny how I miss them when they aren’t there.

In fact, Citroen is proud of the details in this car; for example, they point out that the interior of the storage pockets are in a light colour, so that you can easily spot that dark little thing you put in there earlier. They did not tell us how easily you might spot a light-coloured object you put in there earlier.

A world first for Citroen and the cleverest bit of all is the ‘connected camera’. A built-in dash cam system that imitates the human eye and mounted behind the rear view mirror. The cam can record video or still images and sent to the outside world using the ‘Connected Cam’ App on your smartphone. Within seconds clips can be on social networks, sent automatically, or be sent manually when you are not driving.

It’s unique feature is that, in the case of an accident, it will also have digitally recorded thirty seconds so the lead-up to the incident can be seen: “compelling evidence, m’Lud, if I might suggest?” This is an excellent bit of technology and top marks to Citroen getting it up and running in their attractive new C3.

Citroen’s All-New C3 makes for a charming, fun addition to the supermini segment, great value, loaded with tech. It will find many fans.

Car reviewed: All-New Citroen C3 Flair S&S BlueHDi 100 manual – On the road £17,095, price as tested £18,555 0-62mph 10.6 secs Top speed 115mph Fuel Economy combined 76.3mpg CO2 emissions 95g/km Engine 1560cc In-line 4 cylinder transverse, Turbo diesel Max Power 110hp@3750rpm Torque 254Nm@1750rpm Transmission 5-speed manual

  • Great fun looking supermini

  • Excellent tech

  • Economy and Emissions

  • None to think of

About the author

Tom Scanlan

'Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars. He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0. In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.'

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