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Enjoy a vroom with a view in Citroen's C3.

Byline: Bruce Booth

WHEN you jump into Citroen's new C3 have a pair of sunglasses at hand for you'll be amazed at just how bright and airy the supermini is.

For apart from the entry-level VT model, this classy French fancy sports a unique sun-grabbing panoramic Zenith windscreen. Measuring 1.35 metres from top to bottom, it really does offer those on board a new outlook, where the angle from the driver's eye line to the top of the windscreen is a whopping 108 instead of the average 28. Add to that the car's ultra-slim windscreen pillars, the glazed area which sweeps over the top of the roof offers visibility that's totally without compare and unrivalled safety benefits, thanks to the superb visibility it offers.

However, for those days when the sun is low in the sky, a sliding sunblind incorporating two sun visors can easily be pulled forward to obscure some of the glass.

But it's not just this feature that makes the new C3 stand out from the crowd, for Citroen designers have redesigned the exterior to give the car a more sleek, yet purposeful look.

From the front, the eye is immediately drawn to the C3's large front grille and boomerang-shaped headlights which coupled with the car's low stance, gives it an aggressive yet appealing look.

Those willing to spend a little extra to get into the range-topping Exclusive specced models won't be disappointed, for they come fully equipped for life in today's fast lane.

Features include Alcantara/cloth seats, leather steering wheel with chrome inserts, six-speaker MP3-compatable CD sound system, cruise control, high-gloss black painted centre console, brushed steel-effect lower dashboard, front sill protectors, automatic digital air conditioning and electric windows and mirrors.

Safety equipment includes ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist, front, front lateral and curtain airbags and alarm.

Electronic stability programme comes as standard on the flagship 1.6-litre HDi 16v, 110bhp model, but is a pounds 300 optional extra on the rest of the Exclusive range.

On the road the C3 offers a more-than-pleasant experience, in fact I loved it. Nippy around town and a highly-capable performer on dual-carriageways and motorways, helped in part by its on-board driver-friendly cruise control system, the Citroen is a little gem. For a smallish city car you do get a large boot. However, this somewhat compromises rear leg room.

In Exclusive trim, there is a choice of a 1.4-litre 95bhp or a 1.6-litre 120bhp petrol unit, while a pair of 1.6-litre diesels delivering either 90bhp or 110bhp complete the line-up. An automatic gearbox is reserved for the 120bhp petrol model.

For me, the punchy 1.4-litre petrol unit, developed in partnership with BMW, is more than ample and comes at an affordable price.

CITROEN C3 EXCLUSIVE Price: pounds 14,090 Mechanical: 95bhp, 1,397cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox Max speed: 114mph 0-62mph: 10.6 seconds Combined mpg: 48.7 Insurance group: 3 CO emissions: 129g/km BIK rating: 15% Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 16, 2010
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