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The title is almost there, i had planned on buying my dream car, a Lotus Elise , but that was before my girlfriend told me she was pregnant, and so , like the level headed guy i am (?) i bought a Citroen C3 .. why ?? i hear you cry. Well here are the reasons...
My boss says im so tight I squeak, but there again being a professional buyer is that a bad thing ?!, I set out to buy a car that would not break the bank on the journey to work (its a 30 mile round trip, which isnt bad but could still hit the wallet).
The first thing I did was to check out a government website that details the most frugal engines (ie those with a better mpg than the others) . The quoted figures for the C3 I bought were around 55mpg around town and just under 70 mpg on the motorway, this is where it gets interesting ! On a recent trip to Glasgow I managed to get out of the car (driving at 56, no sudden increases or decreases in speed except those that were required to stay safe) a massive 82 mpg . The fuel gauge is basically split into 5 sections of 8 litres, the manual requests that you do not click the petrol pump when filling up to "overfill" as it where as apparantly on diesels this can have an adverse effect on the car somehow. Well, when the car lost its first fuel light I had done 160 miles (bar a few allowances this equates to 82mpg)
Apart from the cost of repair and maintenance (a recent service cost £165) and fuel consumption the other major factor is the cost of Road Tax, this is where the C3 has yet another bonus, the cost of Tax for a C3 Hdi 1.4 is £50 from the 2006 budget, yep , you read it right £50 !!
So, for the car to be this frugal , and this cheap to run, surely it hasn't much room for power or performance ? Wrong ! I have owned the following cars, My first being a Montego 2.0 Efi , which whilst not very boy racerish, moved quickly because it was a light car. The second was a Vauxhall Nova, again, light, but small. My last car was the Vauxhall Vectra 2.0 Sri (B version) , this really did move and provided all the bits and pieces , air con electric windows etc etc.
However in my opinion none of these cars have the pull of my current car. The engine is snappy, save for a small amount of turbo "lag" , the turbo seems to kick in at 2,000 rpm and stays with you through to about 3,500 rpm , not a large range but still enough for you to get into the next gear.Being a diesel it has plenty of torque and because it's a small car, its very nippy. If you treat the car without consideration though (really pushing it) then beware, it can feel as though its losing the rear of the car into the side. This to be honest though only happens when you really try to race away through corners.
The specification of the Exclusive model is quite simply breathtaking for such a small car with a small price tag. Electric Windows, numerous airbags for safety, Climate Control (instead of bog-standard air-con) , Cruise Control (Yes Cruise Control) and an overspeed indicator that can be set if you still want total control yet to be warned when your speeding.
The car has ABS as well as an electronic stability program which independently controls the brakes and power to each wheel to ensure you don't lose it through those tight corners.
Storage is not a problem, the car has under seat storage, a glove box (reputedly air con controlled, but I bought the car in winter and havent tried it yet) , a passenger additional glove box, side pockets. And whilst the boot is very small it does have a very highly acclaimed Moduboard system which is used for seperating different items in the boot.
One of the problems normally in small cars is room for the driver, I am 6 foot and 18 stone with quite a large frame and I find no problem whatsoever in space, in fact, when cruising with cruise control on the motorway, its great to bring down the additional arm rest and take it easy away from the rush of the fast lane. The car really does allow you to concentrate on the road.
Autosensing wipers are another feature that helps you with this as well. Simply flick the switch and at the hint of rain on the sensor (at the top middle of the windscreen) the wipers will adjust through the speed settings automatically.
In addition to cruise control there is an overspeed warning, this can be used to let you know if you are at your preset limit, set by holding onto a button the overspeed warning beeps to let you know you are at your maximum speed.
The décor inside the car is good, whilst not leather or anything particularly amazing, I find the comfort of the car allows you to travel in some semblance of style.
The kids are catered for by two small pull down tables , and whilst three can fit in the rear there may be a little discomfort for longer journeys.
The car is alarmed and also has a deadlock, both accessed by presses on the key fob which also Centrally locks the car.
So, with great fuel economy, maintenance costs, tax and low depreciation. A great specification and comfort to boot, I would recommend this car to anyone. Obviously it wont be bought by anyone, as cars nowadays are more and more becoming virtual hotels, but certainly for the cost, this little car seems to have found a niche.
The purchase price given represents what i paid for a second hand model in excellent condition
Just bought a C3 SX 70bhp model but had read this review beforehand. The moduboard is great, thought I'd have probs with weekly shop but I put small squashy stuff in bottom, fold down moduboard & put bigger heavy stuff on top. Sorted. Specs on this size car great, not got cruise control but got speed control thingy (not tried that yet) and am getting almost 60 mpg town driving. Thanks for informative review
damionh 11.04.2006 17:08
Yes, this car is Diesel AND cruise control ! pretty amazing. I believe the trolley you speak about is possibly the moduboard I speak about in the review, its a great way to seperate ! The car does have a manual gearbox, though from what i have seen you wont see many of these about. Mine is an 03 model and is the Citroen C3 1.4 HDi Exclusive 90bhp model.
Nar 11.04.2006 17:00
What a great review that was but what about boot space? Does it come with one of those fold down trolleys that the Xsara Picasso has? Also Im shocked that a car with diesel AND cruise control can be had on a supermini - is this with a manual gearbox too?