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Citroen C3 HDi 2008 review

A worthy little hatch manages to perform well with a little over 4.6 litres per 100km on a 700km test run.

Resale and battery issues aside, there has always been much conjecture about the virtues, environmental or otherwise about petrol/electric hybrids, particularly as there are some small diesel cars around these days that weaken the case for buying a hybrid for reasons of fuel economy.

Prime case is Citroen's C3 HDi. There is now a nifty 1.6-litre diesel sitting pretty in the nose of the cute C3 — and it delivers quite a bit of punch once the revs rise beyond 2000rpm.

It is armed with 66kW of power and a significant 215Nm of torque. Around town it is quite tractable, as more torque at lower revs means fewer gear changes in the cut-and-thrust of the peak-hour commute.

On a 700km test run trudging to and from the Gold Coast into Brisbane's CBD, the little French hatch was sipping a little over 4.6 litres per 100km (factory claim is 4.4 litres per 100km on a combined run, so we weren't far off). It means you can stretch your travel a long, long way on one 47-litre tank.

As with the petrol versions, the diesel has a long list of equipment starting with the full package of front airbags as well as lateral airbags for the front occupants.

There are digital read-outs for the speedo and odometer and trip computer but in contrast there is an analogue strip-style rev counter. There is some degree of fuss with the trip controls. Typically the French like these incorporated into the steering wheel-mounted stalks and there remains a degree of guesswork in the location of volume controls for the stereo system, which are at the rear of the right-hand windscreen wiper stalk.

Apart from fiddly ergonomics the interior is a fashionable place, and funky and light.

There is good comfort from the front seats and a large glasshouse offering superb all-round vision. This is worth a look if you are interested in French flair mixed with some substance and a broad, user-friendly appeal as a city commuter. It also has a good options list that includes five-stack CD and leather.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

Pluriel 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP SEQ $3,000 – 5,170 2008 Citroen C3 2008 Pluriel Pricing and Specs
Exclusive 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,200 – 3,740 2008 Citroen C3 2008 Exclusive Pricing and Specs
HDi Exclusive 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $3,000 – 5,170 2008 Citroen C3 2008 HDi Exclusive Pricing and Specs
SX 1.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,500 – 4,290 2008 Citroen C3 2008 SX Pricing and Specs