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Citroen C3 first look


Get the sunscreen out because Citroen has the answer for all those sun-worshippers.

A panoramic windscreen will be standard on the new C3 when it lobs in Australia in 12 months.

The French carmaker has borrowed the panorama windscreen idea from its C4 Picasso people mover, called the Zenith, and given the new C3 an expansive view of the world.

Combined with slimmer A-pillars, the exceptionally long windscreen expands the front occupants’ field of vision by up to 80 per cent.

But those worried about excessive glare need not worry.

The glass has a progressive tint that smooths the transition from the clear frontal view to providing sun protection from above.

Like the Picasso, large visors can be flipped forward to block out the sun.

A five-door will arrive first in Europe with a coupe and Pluriel convertibles planned.

Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd spokesman, Edward Rowe, says it is too early to talk specifications or pricing for the new five-door hatch but he expects it to be competitive.

Pricing and drivetrains

Pricing is tipped to be close to the current car, around $23,990.

Australia is expected to get a range of four-cylinder petrol and HDi diesel units but is unlikely to get the newer frugal three-cylinder engines planned for Europe that emit less than 100g/km of CO2.

"These cars are designed for tax regimes that do not exist in Australia," Rowe says.

Appearance and fit-out

On the outside, the C3 adopts an evolutionary approach to its design but borrows some cues from the DS Concept hatch.

It gets a flatter roofline, more pronounced grille and headlight treatment.

Inside the trim moves up a notch in quality, with new materials like a thermo-coated colour dash, highlighted with grey or gloss brushed aluminium and chrome detailing.

In Europe, the C3 five-door hatch is one of the most compact vehicles in its segment.

At 3940mm long, the new car is 90mm longer while width has grown 43mm while luggage space remains around 300 litres.

Citroen has managed to keep the C3's weight the same as the outgoing model while its turning circle has been reduced from 10.7m to 10.2m.

Equipment

Other fuel-saving features are second-generation stop-start systems, plus new five and six-speed electronic gearboxes.

In-car features include USB connectivity, iPod compatibility, Bluetooth and satellite navigation on high-end European versions.

Citroen has sold more than 2 million C3s globally but apart from Citroen fans here, the car has not sold in strong numbers locally.

Last year, just 423 were sold, against a 2007 figure of 696.

The current 1.6-litre HDi turbo diesel has hybrid busting fuel economy of 4.4 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of just 120g/km.