From £10,540
Xtra butch for Citroën
Autocar
6 April 2004

It’s not very often that MG Rover can be credited with being first into a new niche but, lo and behold, just months after the Rover Streetwise was born, not one but two of Europe’s big players are jumping into the ‘urban on-roader’ market.

The VW Polo Trek is just weeks away, and Citroën’s effort at an ‘active lifestyle’ supermini has already landed, in the shape of the C3 XTR.

It might just be a butch, black-bumpered version of the C3, but the French company has high hopes for its new model, despite the XTR not even benefiting from a raised ride height like its Rover rival. On the Continent, a version will be available with raised suspension, a limited-slip diff and sump guards, but in the UK the modifications are purely cosmetic.

The ride is composed over rougher roads, and the variable-assistance power steering is pleasantly light around town, but doesn’t weight up enough at higher speeds. The 92bhp 1.4-litre HDi suits the XTR well (a 1.4 petrol is also available) and returns combined fuel economy of almost 66mpg.

The standard panoramic sunroof, a £500 option on the rest of the C3 range, floods the cabin with light. The roof bars can be switched from lengthways to widthways for carrying surfboards, snowboards and mountain bikes – an obvious essential as these cars are bought to compliment an active lifestyle, according to the marketing campaign. The interior gets XTR-specific two-tone trim and rubber floormats – also vital for those muddy mountain bikers and wet surfers.

Citroën is pitching its XTR, including standard £500 sunroof, at just £700 above the similarly equipped C3 HDi. So it’s moneywise, if not necessarily streetwise.

Paul Barker

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Fidji 25 October 2011

Re: Xtra butch for Citroën

catnip wrote:

steven211 wrote:
Not driven or sat in a new C3, but sat in a DS3 and quality was fantastic.

I must admit I was rather disappointed when I sat in a DS3 recently, and the dials section of the dashboard came away when I adjusted the steering column. The glovebox lid was rather flimsy too. Reviews suggested that there was a step up in quality from the regular C3, but they seem very similar to me, despite the price difference. Theyr'e all a massive step up from the vintage of C3 mentioned here, though.

My boss has a DS3 with the 110bhp 1.6 diesel, and I drove it back from an office party last Christmas when she was over the limit. It drove very nicely, and the cabin appeared to use tactile and quality materials. As someone else said, it shows how far Citroen have come over the past few years.

catnip 25 October 2011

Re: Xtra butch for Citroën

steven211 wrote:
Not driven or sat in a new C3, but sat in a DS3 and quality was fantastic.

I must admit I was rather disappointed when I sat in a DS3 recently, and the dials section of the dashboard came away when I adjusted the steering column. The glovebox lid was rather flimsy too. Reviews suggested that there was a step up in quality from the regular C3, but they seem very similar to me, despite the price difference. Theyr'e all a massive step up from the vintage of C3 mentioned here, though.

Fidji 25 October 2011

Re: Xtra butch for Citroën

The original C3 can be picked up for dirt cheap now; a good bargain. Both the Rover 200/25 and Citroen C3 are oddballs in terms of their dimensions; they kind of slot in between superminis and small family hatchbacks. I drove a C3 with the 1.4 petrol engine. Despite terrible reviews, it could do 45mpg, and wasn't too slow (it wasn't that quick either). It seemed to hold together okay, but I didn't try to pull the dashboard to bits, unlike the Fifth Gear presenters.

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