2008 Citroen C3 | new car review

Posted on Feb 7, 2007 by

The Citroën C3 supermini has been in production since 2002. It was launched as one of two replacements for the Citroën Saxo (the other is the smaller three-door Citroën C2). It was widely seen as a turning point for Citroën, reviving the marque’s reputation for distinctive, futurist design.

The C3 was originally designed as a larger “family friendly vehicle” being 5 doors, whereas its other sibling, the C2, is seen as a “new driver” image with 2 doors and flatter styling, though still with low power. The C3 was designed by Donato Coco and Jean-Pierre Ploué, previously known for designing the Renault Twingo. A mini MPV version of the C3, apparently to be marketed as the C3 StreetLounge, will be released sometime later this year.

Designed to be roomy, versatile and user-friendly, it doesn’t quite have the character to be a modern 2CV, but it is modern, safe and well equipped. It is also good value for money. has packaged the C3’s cabin well, too, with plenty of cubbyholes and storage spaces, an MPV-like dashboard and windscreen and the Moduboard – a foldable, segmented false floor for the boot. Multiplex electronics allow it to include many high-tech features such as speed-sensitive windscreen wipers, follow-me-home headlights and one-touch electric windows.

Current engine choices for the 2008 are the 1.4i 8v (75bhp) and 1.6i 16v (110bhp) petrol units. The SensoDrive semi-auto clutchless gearbox is offered with both the engines with an added fuel-saving feature called the Stop-Start system, which automatically turns the engine off when idling in traffic and turns it on again when you lift off the brake. This is a very innovative feature and one that would stand the C3 in good stead.

Citroen has also made a totally different variant out of the same platform. The highly-adaptable C3 Pluriel, which can be configured as a convertible, a pickup style configuration or a closed car thanks to its detachable roof bars and folding fabric roof. In its adaptability, the C3 Pluriel can be seen as a relative of the utilitarian Citroën Méhari and 2CV. In terms of positioning, it addresses a perceived need for more upscale minicars, similar to the niche found by the MINI.

Safety wise, it has four airbags as standard, but ABS anti-lock brakes (with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist) are only an option on most models, coming as standard on the VTR only. The C3 and C3 Pluriel scored four stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests – the same as C2.

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