CitroŽn C3 1,4 HDi road test
my XM was having its annual MOT test, I borrowed a C3 from my local
CitroŽn dealer, Southgate CitroŽn in Andover, Hampshire.
The car in
question was a dark blue, 1,4 HDi Exclusive and so refined is the
engine that it was not until I opened the bonnet that I was absolutely
certain that it was a diesel. The other giveaway was its reluctance to
rev higher than 5 000 rpm.
First impressions were not bad. Obviously the shape is more than
familiar since I have already seen photos and had also crawled all over
one in Southgate CitroŽn’s showroom.
It is said that the first tactile experience one has of a car is the
door handle – and the C3 scored highly in this regard.
The steering wheel too felt nice although I disliked the light coloured
upper segment. The good impressions continued with both the clutch and
gearchange, both of which were beyond reproach. The clutch was light
and progressive and the change was also light and precise.
At parking speeds, the steering was light and on the move, it felt
nicely weighted and again, very precise. Couple this with neutral
handling and one has a recipe for being able to make rapid progress on
However, one of the ingredients was missing from the recipe. Ride
comfort. Apart from a Traction, I have never driven such a firmly
sprung CitroŽn. I gained the impression that such ride comfort as there
was is largely down to the seating. Driving on roads with which I am
familiar, I was shaken about and furthermore, both the steering column
and the dash seemed to move in a manner reminiscent of many a
convertible – the technical term is “scuttle shake”. Rough roads also
triggered a number of squeaks and rattles from the rear – I suspect
this was the much-vaunted Moduboard boot that allows one to divide it
into various compartments to prevent things from rolling around. There
was also quite a bit of road noise transmitted into the cabin – manhole
covers caused thumping and jarring.