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Citroen C3 1,6i

Broadcast date : 17th September 2006


The Citroen C3, has been around for four years now, and has achieved quite a cult following.

The problem for Citroen until quite recently was one of pricing, and in May 2006 it announced a price-cut to go with a mild up-date to this snail-shaped French city car.

This is the 1,6i, the most powerful C3 in the range, and the new bolder grille gives it more presence.

It uses wide-section low profile tyres on 15-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps for a realistic alloy look, and its body shape makes it a versatile people carrier, with interesting hidden load areas.

The best part of the car is the sprightly performance from the 80 kW 1,6-litre petrol engine. It has plenty of torque coupled to the overall mass of around 1 000 kg, which makes for ultra-quick getaways and nippy acceleration.

On the open road it measures up power-wise, although the Car Torque team had reservations about the electric power steering, which is over-powered for cruising speeds.

It seems that Citroen designed the C3 for effortlessness rather than driver involvement, with crowded Paris streets in mind, rather than the open roads of South Africa.

Nevertheless, itís a great open-road cruiser in terms of itís well-profiled engine powerband.

Our criticisms regarding the Citroen revolve around a lack of overall body rigidity, which you wonít notice when cruising on the straight and smooth.

The rear suspension jitteriness is a trait we also picked up recently on the Peugeot 207, and it seems that, for now, only Renault is building small cars with the kind of suspension integrity weíve come to expect from French cars.

As for performance figures, few complaints here. The 1,6-litre motor powers the little C3 to 100 in a claimed 10 seconds and on to a top speed of 190 km/h, more than enough for the avant-garde trendos who are knocked out by the C3ís funk factor.

And at R129 000, you get a good deal on specification too.

The item that we least liked about the original C3 dash was a flimsy pop-up cubbyhole on the dash top, which is now history.

The dash is still made of a cheapish moulded plastic, which doesnít impart a quality feel, but the hi-tech dual-pod layout with digital speedo and an arced rev counter is fun.

The steering is height and reach adjustable, a nice touch for a low-cost car, and the windscreen wipers are speed sensitive, which is a good safety feature.

Citroen C3 1,6i

  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 1 587 cc
  • Power: 80 kW\@ 5 750 rpm
  • Torque: 147 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 10,0 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 190 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 8,9 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price R129 995

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