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CitroŽn C3 1,4 HDi road test

While 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 country lanes.
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.