WHETHER YOU THINK it looks funky or frumpy, you have to admit Citroen has tried to spice the small car market up with its its latest C3. This new small hatchback borrows a heap of style from its bigger brother, the C4 Cactus, so from whichever angle you look it bristles with difference. Why? To woo you away from such gems as the Ford Fiesta and Skoda Fabia. The new C3’s underpinnings are carried over from the previous car, but elsewhere it comes at things afresh. Continue reading “Explore The World In The New Citroen C3”
Riffing off the C4 Cactus?
Yes, but it’s not so wilfully simple and lightweight. It has actual instruments with needles, and back windows that wind down. Continue reading “Some Key-Question For 2017 Citroen C3 Puretech 110 Flair”
The city is where we’re seen. So we want a car that dresses us well, and has some sense of place. This little Citroen is right for town. It’s modern – modish, even, in its details – but because of its simplicity and balanced proportions, it’s probably timeless too.
You don’t want to be a fashion victim in a clone of everyone else’s outfit. So go ahead and personalise the heck out of the C3, picking body and roof colours, swapping out the wheels, selecting or deleting Airbumps. Inside, the ranges of fabrics and dash covers consciously reject the usual tropes of car trim. No racing stripes on the upholstery, or drilled pedals, or mock carbon-fibre garnishes. No “cockpit”- shaped dash or “bucket seats” either. It has a domestic vibe, the better to calm you against urban stress.
The Airbumps and arches are more than a style thing, rather a no-brainer for protection against the casual biffabout nature of other people’s urban parking. To aid your own, a reversing camera is on the spec, plus the designers were thoughtful enough to keep it under 4m long. If anyone does do something idiotic ahead of you as you drive, the built-in dashcam keeps the evidence. In happier times, it can send its happy snaps via a dedicated app to friends’ social feeds.
It’s a fabulous car for jinking around city roads. The steering is light but direct, the gearshift light too, if, sadly, a bit of a flap. The supple springs and dampers swallow potholes and pineapple-skinned tarmac with quite some adroitness, and the undercarriage stays acoustically quiet too. In traffic gaps you can exploit the perky little 1.2-litre turbo engine, its jovial triple-harmonics adding to the mix.
That’s a very light engine, so the C3 doesn’t blow its nose after speed bumps. Neither is it a wide car, so it’s up for a life of rat-run chicanery through width restrictors and pirouetting up and down multistorey spiral ramps.
It would be fair to say that these are not the driving environments in which many of our stories are set. But for many of us, they are the everyday reality. The C3 makes them better.
It has to be said that the Citroen range seems to be filled with joie de vivre. Apart from the slow-selling C4, the utilitarian Berlingo Multispace, and the C3 Picasso that’s set to be replaced shortly, the entire line-up is bang up-to-date. The C1 is the French company’s best-selling model, the C4 Picasso remains the benchmark for the MPV class, and the C4 Cactus is fresh, funky and fashionable. And now the latest C3 is set to shake up the supermini sector with a cheeky, fun design that takes inspiration from its Cactus big brother. In a world exclusive drive, Diesel Car got behind the wheel of the flagship diesel model ahead of anyone else, fitted with the 98bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 engine. Offering a little more power than most rivals’ motors, the unit pulls well with a good spread of torque across the rev range.
There’s decent pace away from the lights and enough overtaking muscle when you need it. The five-speed manual gearbox seems slicker and smoother than in other Citroen models, and the steering is light enough at low speeds to make town driving easy. While Ford’s Fiesta may feel more agile and dynamic, Citroen’s approach is different, catering for the sector of the market that prioritises comfort over the fun factor. Reassuringly solid on the road, the new C3 feels taut in bends, with minimal body lean. The suspension setup cushions all but the deepest of ruts, with decent damping, particularly at motorway speeds. From cold the engine is vocal, but once it warms through, it becomes more of a backing track that becomes drowned out by conversation or the radio. There’s a little wind flutter around the door seals, however, road and tyre noise are impressively hushed. One area to note is the fuel-saving stop-start system which cuts the engine in traffic. The system in the latest C3 is one of the smoothest we’ve experienced.
As well as a range of personalisation options for the exterior, it’s possible to do the same with the cabin, brightening up what could be a boring sea of grey and black plastics. Instead, it’s youthful, cheerful and innovatively fresh, and elevates the C3 above many of its rivals. The plastics may all be hard, apart from a soft band across the middle, but they are nicely textured, feel solid and should stand up well to punishing family life. The white on black instruments are easy to read, with all of the controls logically arranged within reach of the driver. The seven-inch touchscreen is ideally placed and easy to navigate around, though we wish there were separate controls on the dashboard for the ventilation system, as attempting to find the correct menu while driving along can be distracting. Sat in the nicely squidgy, supportive driver’s seat, there’s sufficient ways to adjust the chairs and steering column to gain a decent driving position, with excellent leg and headroom for the tallest of people.
In the back, legroom is more modest, but foot and head space is well catered for. Though there’s three seatbelts provided, the small proportions mean that the back seat is best for two adults, though a trio of children will fit just fine. The relatively upright driving position affords a great view out along the bonnet, while all round vision is pretty decent apart from the thick rear pillars. Thankfully our top-of-the-range Flair model comes with rear parking sensors and a camera as standard, though all other models of the C3 range do without. Oddment space is well catered for, with a big bin ahead of the gear lever, together with a tray up above. The door pockets are nicely proportioned, though the glovebox is disappointingly small, a casualty from the conversion from left-to right-hand-drive. Boot space is the same size as its predecessor at 300 litres, and opens out to 922 litres with the rear chairs folded down.
Innovations on the C3 include the world’s first fully integrated DashCam, which automatically records 30 seconds of footage before and after a crash, which is perfect for apportioning blame. On a more sociable note, it can also be used to take a photo with a click of a button, or a minute of video footage, all thanks to 128GB of memory. It’s standard on the top-specification Flair model and optional on Feel trim. Apple CarPIay and Android Auto are standard on the two top trim levels, while navigation is an optional extra. On the safety front, lane departure warning, drowsiness detection and speed recognition and warning are all fitted as standard to every model, and there’s a wide range of personalisation options, including contrasting colours for the roof, door mirrors, fog light surrounds and Airbumps. And while we’re talking about those practical impact resistant Airbumps, they come as standard on Flair models, and are optional on the mid-range Feel versions. Available to order now, the first examples of the new C3 will reach Citroen showrooms in the new year. It’s set to be one of the funkiest models in the supermini city car sector, rivalling the MINI for cheekiness.
The best superminis – Fiesta, Polo – are positively sabre-toothed, so with excellent timing, along comes Citroen’s all-new C3 featuring a refreshingly different approach. Its design is an unusual mash-up of supermini and SUV, and it doubles down on comfort, a rather Gallic, two-fingered salute to the Ford/Mini dynamic hegemony. And you know what, it’s a rather charming combination.
First, the looks. The bluff, high-set nose and plastic cladding give off SUV overtones which, coupled with the wide track, endow the C3 with butch proportions. And the design features more ovals than a Nascar season – contoured roof, door handle recesses, lamps and grille, protective Air- bump shape, every car comes with a game of‘spot the oblong’ outside and in.
Beware the £10,995 entry model though, which forsakes the Airbumps, black arches, second-tone roof and body-coloured handles: you’ll need to upgrade to £13,045 Flair trim and splash another £290 on Airbumps, or go top spec, to get the C3 looking its best.
Two engines are offered: a 1.6-litre turbodiesel four in 74bhp or 98bhp flavours, or a 1.2-litre petrol triple with 67bhp, 80bhp or turbocharged to 109bhp. We drove the latter, and it’s fizzy and fabulous. The long gearing encourages you to wind out the engine, with the three-cylinder soundtrack goading you as it becomes more shrill. There’s a strong 2500- 4500rpm mid-range, and just about enough punch for overtaking: 0-62mph takes 9.3sec.
And what of this comfort set-up? The primary ride feels well cushioned, even a little floaty, with the nose bobbing under acceleration. Canter over potholes or bumps and the suspension absorbs them pretty quietly, with the ride largely composed and the body settling down again quickly.
The solidly built cabin has a civilised air too. At 60mph, a little wind noise can be heard along the side, but tyre roar is muffled. The high-mounted dashboard is unpretentious, and can be spiced up with colourful trim inserts costing from £150 to £380. And here’s a Mensa-level idea of stunning simplicity: the door bins are coloured white inside, so you can easily spot any contents.
Front and rear, the spongy seats are comfy and supportive. Tall passengers will find it a squeeze without understanding comrades up ahead, but the upside is a 300-litre boot, bigger than the five-door Mini’s or outgoing Fiesta’s.
But it’s not all plain sailing. The steering is featherlight, spinning like a Catherine wheel at low speeds. While that can make parking speedier, it can also cause some unexpected trajectories exiting T-junctions. At urban speeds, it feels sloppy off the dead-ahead and eager to self-centre; it becomes heavier (and better) with speed. The five-speed manual ’box is long-winded to operate too.
Citroen claims a world first with its Connected-CAM. The forward-facing camera, which endows the C3 with speed sign recognition and lane-departure warning, can be upgraded to take stills or videos for Facebook addicts to upload. There’s a secondary, more meaningful benefit: in the event of a collision, the cam will store 30 seconds of precrash footage and a minute of the subsequent road-rage incident. No word yet on whether Citroen will launch a dashcam YouTube channel as it seeks to digitise its revenue streams.
Not that it will need to top up earnings from the C3. It looks like a hit.
Citroen C3 PureTech 110 Flair
Engine: 1199cc petrol 3-cyl turbo
Power: 108bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque: 151lb ft @ 1500rpm
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Top speed: 117mph
On sale: Now
Wins by playing to Citroen’s strengths
In a bid to keep its model range as diverse as possible, Citroen will radically reimagine the C5 saloon in 2018 with an all-new model based on the C-Xperience concept revealed at September’s Paris Motor Show.
As traditional family saloons such as the Ford Mondeo struggle in the sales charts against crossovers and SUVs, Citroen will develop the C5 into a more desirable and attractive proposition; Vauxhall has used a similar technique with its more upmarket Insignia (search the related article).
Maxime Picat, executive vice president Europe for the PSA Group, explained: “We have to reinvent it. And that is exactly what Citroen tried to do with the C-Xperience – and to explain that there is still a future.
Another key reason why Citroen will persevere with the traditional large family saloon is that Picat also sees a need to have alternative products in the range when inevitably, he says, the current SUV boom ends. “We all know that the SUV trend will at least slow down sometime, for the simple reason many people buy SUVs today [as] it’s a bout differentiating,” he added.
“But in one or two years this customer at the traffic lights will see SUVs all around them,” Picat added. “They will look for something else because differentiation will always be the quest fort he customer, so there might be something after SUV.
“Interestingly, some [customers] tell us ‘please make an attractive car for us; we are fed up of having SUVs and boring sedans’.”
The C-Xperience concept that debuted at September’s Paris Motor Show will influence the all-new model. As the images show, the same fastback tailgate, cab-rearward design and intricate LED lighting will move it on from the forgettable silhouette of the old C5.
“Saloon will be based on a modified version of the EMP2 platform – the chassis tech used on Peugeot’s new 3008”
Mechanically, the next-generation saloon will be based on a modified version of the EMP2 platform – the chassis technology also used on the new Peugeot 3008. The platform has already been developed with electrification in mind; a plug-in hybrid model is understood to be in the pipeline. However, a range of conventional diesel and petrol engines will also be offered.
Another innovation will be new progressive hydraulic suspension. The system has been developed as part of Citroen’s Advanced Comfort programme, aimed at improving everything from ride comfort to customer satisfaction. The system will feature hydraulic cushions as well as conventional shock absorbers to soften and smooth body movements.
Big improvements in in-car tech and design will further boost its appeal. A new digital instrument cluster and array of HD touchscreens will remove a whole host of buttons and dials to create a clean and slick cabin.
Non-turbo three-cylinder petrol engine powers distinctive-looking new supermini
Abstract design can be hit or miss, but on whichever side of that divide you fall,you have to agree that the new Citroen C3’s avant-garde looks add some froth to a sea of sa mey superminis.
Old a nd new are literally welded together here, with the new C3’s funky body sitting ont he PF1 platform of the previous car. It has been modified at the front to be kinder to pedestrians and toughened up a round the B-pillars and front seat mountings to be kinder to you in a side impact.This, of course, adds weight, so the rest of the chassis has been lightened where possible, keeping the kerb weight roughly on a par with the outgoing model’s.
Instead of gunning for the Ford Fiesta’s crown of best-handling supermini, Citroen has gone back to its roots. The springs and dampers haw been softened and more suspension travel added in the pursuit of improved ride comfort.
There’s new tech, too. The world’s first OEM dashcam is standard on this top-spec Flair trim, recording 30 seconds of video before and after an impact. Naturally, where there’s a camera there’s a social media opportunity, so you can also download an app that lets you take pictures and videos and then share them with friends.
For now,there are three petrol engines, with this 81bhp 1.2 Puretech sitting in the middle of the line-up.
It’s perky a round town, but you need to rev it hard on faster roads. Without a turbocharger to boost its mid-range, peak torque arrives at just under 3000rpm, and you need at least that dialled up to join motorways with any vigour.
Unfortunately, with only five gears to work with, engine noise at 70-80mph gets a touch wearing after a while, and the gearbox’s long, loose throw isn’t exactly thrilling, either.
You’d expect a supermini to handle well in town, and the C3’s light steering, allied to its tight turning circle, makes ita handy urban prowler. The ride is good at low speeds, but the occasional bump on our mainly smooth Spanish test route caught it out.
The softness engineered in to the suspension makes things mildly amusing at higher speeds. Body roll is pronounced, and because the seats offer next to no side support, you find yourself clinging onto the steering wheel to avoid plunging head first into your passenger’s lap. The faster you corner, the more you notice the steering’s numbness, but its gearing is decent, so the C3 is easy to place.
If you’re tall, you’ll find one of the best driving positions of any supermini, with loads of space in the front and a proper range of seat and steering column adjustments. The back seats are tight, though, even by Fiesta standards, with head room the most pressing issue. Still, the boot is a good size.
The dashboard is best described as spartan,but that’s exactly the look Citroen wanted. The cabin works well, with enough neat touches, such as the leather strap door pulls and classic DS instruments, for you to forgive the hard, recycled plastics.
Flair-spec models, such as our test car, encourage you to express your individuality with mix-and-match roof a nd body colours. The Airbump side strips, meanwhile, are a keep-or-remove option that can be highlighted with an extra splash of colour.
Citroen’s new infotainment system is standard on this trim, too. It’s much easier to operate than the PSA Group’s previous clunky efforts. Don’t bother with the optional £500 sat-nav, though, and instead use the standardApple CarPlay/Android Auto function to mirror your smartphone’s nav onto t he 7.0in touchscreen.
The new C3 isn’t as sharp to drive as a Ford Fiesta; nor is it as spacious as a Skoda Fabia or as plush as a Volkswagen Polo. It is different, though, and most people seem to agree that Citroen has done a good thing with the styling.
The C3 doesn’t top the class, but that doesn’t have to stop you from liking it or, indeed, wanting one. Although this Puretech 82 is cheap to run and fine around town, anyone frequently venturing farther a field should go for the pricier but pokier turbocharged Puretech 110.
Not a class leader, but funky looks and a swish cabin give it appeal. Needs the turbo petrol engine, though
Citroen C3 Puretech 82 Flair
Engine: 3cyls, 1199cc, petrol
Power: 81bhp at 5750rpm
Torque: 87lb ft at 2750rpm
Gearbox: 5-speed manual
Kerb weight: 980kg
Top speed: 104mph
Economy: 60.1mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 109g/km, 18%
Rivals: Ford Fiesta 1.0T Ecoboost 100, VW Polo 1.2TSI 90
If the C4 Cactus represents Citroen’s reinvention for a lateral-thinking, post-premium world, this new C3 writes the next sentence. Both models major on bluff-nosed, ‘urban capsule’ looks that, with their bash-proof Airbumps, are recognisably different from their rivals, and both woo a tech-sawy clientele through the use of touchscreen controls, coolly minimalist dashboard designs and proper co-ordination with everyone’s hand-held devices. As well as aiming to do things differently from other manufacturers by returning to its past specialities of original thinking and ensuring its cars are recognisable as Citroens, the company cites the likes of Ikea and John Lewis as examples of the brand values it is chasing.
The new C3 is intended to offer something not found in rival small cars, and amid all the marketing brainstorming is one very solid attribute: the promise of a car more comfortable than any rival. The new C3 has a longer wheelbase (by 75mm) than the previous one, despite being based on broadly the same PFl platform, but its overhangs are shorter and it’s slightly wider and lower than before. Bigger wheels and black plastic wheel arches help to give it a slightly SUV look and it weighs almost exactly the same as it did. Optional two-tone paint emphasises the ‘floating’ roof, separated from the main body colour by black windscreen pillars, but the vast panoramic windscreen option of the previous C3 is no longer available.
All three petrol engines offered have three cylinders. The 8lbhp and turbocharged 108bhp 1.2-litre units are available from launch, with the 67bhp 1.0-litre motor arriving later along with the option of a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission. The two 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesels give 74bhp or 99bhp. We’re driving a C3 fitted with the most powerful engine, known as PureTech 110, and presented in the highest Flair trim level. It’s further endowed with the Urban Red interior pack, in which a red stripe surrounds the wide, flat dashboard and red stitching abounds. The round-cornered rectilinear look of this red stripe is echoed all over the C3, inside on the door trims and vent surrounds, and outside on the Airbumps, the foglight surrounds and the tail-lights.
There’s a rectangular depression in the roof pressing, too, unless your C3 has the optional panoramic glass roof. You sit quite high, crossoverfashion, and ahead is not the digital dash of a C4 Cactus but a pair of conventional cowled dials. The steering wheel is adjustable for both height and reach. A large central screen handles audio (including DAB), sat-navand phone-mirroring functions (Mirror Link and Apple CarPlay feature, plus Android Auto from next year), as well as air-con controls, which would be more easily accessed via conventional buttons.
There’s also a built-in camera, like a dashcam, located behind the rearview mirror, which links to a phone app and lets you send photos and videos. It also records video in the background, a feature that could be useful following an accident. Rear passengers sit high enough to get a good view out and have plenty of leg room, given the C3’s compactness. Boot space is a decent 300 litres, extendable by folding the rear seats, which otherwise neither slide nor recline. Oddments space includes door pockets with pale grey linings so you can find their contents when light is poor, and the door pulls continue the luggage-handle look featured in the Cactus. The Pure Tech 110 engine suits the C3 well.
It’s smooth and punchy, with little lag and a deep, tuneful note. Its ample torque enables it to pull quite long-legged gearing in the highest of five forward ratios, but the springy gearchange is more functional attribute than tactile delight. Claimed top speed is 117mph, with 0-62mph taking 9-3sec. And of comfort, Citroen’s intended new unique selling point? The seats are yielding but supportive, road and wind noise are low and the suspension proves pleasingly calm and supple, given the C3’s low roll angles and its alert response to the steering’s inputs. It’s an easy, restful travelling companion, with all its control efforts well matched and with enough verve to give the driver a good time.
It needs to have this turbo petrol engine to give its best, but the official 6l.4mpg and 103g/km CO2 figures suggest you won’t pay too dearly for that pleasure. Pricing is fair, too. The range starts at £10,995 and stops at £17,095- Two things, however, make the C3 an appealing choice. One is that it really is very comfortable and the other is a strong personality absent in most of its forgettable-looking rivals. The C3 transcends the premium/not-premium fixation, and you’ve got to love it for that.
You may remember the Rip Curl name from another French brand’s special- edition models. Not too long ago, Renault was churning out Clios carrying the Australian surfwear company’s logos. Times change, so now Citroen will sell you a Rip Curl-badged C4 Cactus.
The crossover has been on sale for two years and remains arguably the boldest- looking model in its sector. The Rip Curl edition is based on top-spec Flair trim, but costs an additional £500. Forthat premium, it brings extras including natty graphics, silver skid-plates and white door mirrors and roof bars.
Inside, cosmetic tweaks are limited to some bright orange seatbelts and speaker surrounds, but Citroen’s ‘Grip Control’ selector has also been added to the Cactus for the first time. This allows you to flick between default, sand, snow or mud modes. Most buyers will probably find that they never even use it, but it’s useful to have for those odd occasions when the British weather turns sour.
Still, the cabin is the same minimalist and practical design that makes the car so refreshing, with armchair-like front seats, a neat top-opening glovebox and a simple layout. There’s also plenty of standard kit.
The C4 Cactus isn’t perfect, though; the driving position is awkward for tall people, the all-important central touchscreen is fiddly to operate and cabin quality remains patchy. Weight-saving (and cost-saving) measures are easily found, too, including the pop-out rear windows.
The Rip Curl drives no differently from a standard C4 Cactus. We tested the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 diesel engine, which is frugal and strong but hampered by a long-throw gearshift. The lighter 1.2-litre turbo petrol that’s also available is thirstier, but more in keeping with the C4 Cactus’s fun ethos.
Citroen has fitted the C4 Cactus with very soft suspension, which means a good ride most of the time. The larger alloys and light body mean it can thump and bounce on rough roads, however. Combine that with the wallow in corners and accurate but feel-free steering, and it’s clear there are better-driving rivals available.
Cactus Rip Curl is based on Flair spec, but adds Citroen’s five-mode Grip Control traction system and special all-weather tyres.
Orange seatsbelts are unique to the Rip Curl edition, as are white mirrors and roof bars, along with graphics and silver skid plates.
Space remains unaffected, so you get decent rear head and legroom, 1,170 litres with the seats folded.
The C4 Cactus remains a genuinely interesting and unique alternative to the ‘same again’ crossover norm. Its bold exterior and funky cabin are truly refreshing, while the soft ride gives it real Citroen DNA. We’re not convinced the Rip Curl edition makes it notably more distinctive, however. It’s still easier to appreciate the Cactus’s value lower down the range, while the petrol models are nicer to drive than this diesel version.
Citroen C4 Cactus 1.6 BlueHDi 100 Rip Curl
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl turbodiesel
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
Top speed: 114mph
ON SALE: Now
The Citroën SM makes about as much sense as the Concorde, but since when have great cars had anything to do with common sense? It is certainly a flight of fancy, an extravagant, technical tour de force that, as a 16-ft (4.9-m) long streamliner, offered little more than 2+2 seating. The SM bristled with innovations—many of them established Citroën hallmarks—like swiveling headlights and self-leveling hydro-pneumatic suspension.
In 1955, when Citroën first drove prototypes of their mold-breaking DS through Paris, they were pursued by crowds shouting “La DS, la DS, voilà la DS!”
Rarely has a car been so ridiculed as the Citroën 2CV. At its launch at the 1948 Paris Salon, journalists lashed into this defenseless runabout with vicious zeal, and everyone who was near Paris at the time claimed to be the originator of the quip, “Do you get a can opener with it?”
Loved by politicians, poets, and painters alike, the Traction Avant marked a watershed for both Citroën and the world’s auto industry. A design prodigy, it was the first mass-produced car to incorporate a monocoque bodyshell with front-wheel drive and torsion-bar springing, and it began Citroën’s love affair with the unconventional.
The iconic all-purpose Citroen 2CV had a roll-back roof that was ideal when its owner wanted to take a sheep to market, and the 2CV’s modern great-grandchild has inherited the feature — though it’s unlikely that much livestock will be transported in the three-door Pluriel. This is a chic, cheap and cheerful way to experience open-top motoring. The roof can be a sunroof, retracted fully to create a convertible, or removed altogether (along with supporting bars) to make a true roadster. Continue reading “Citroen C3 Pluriel – 2003”
Better late than never — the arrival of the GS in 1970 plugged a gap that had cost Citroen dear over time. This four-door family car belatedly slotted between the Ami and 2CV economy cars and the luxurious DS — a vital market segment where rivals had been cheerfully cleaning up since Citroen discontinued the famous Traction Avant in 1957. Continue reading “Citroen GS – 1970”
Voted European Car of the Year in 1975, the Citroen CX was the last car built by this quirky French maker before a forced merger with Peugeot ended the company’s famed independence of thought and deed. In common with Citroen’s other new offerings in the early 1970s, the CX was designed in house by Robert Opron. The car’s flowing lines are derived from those of the Citroen GS and the CX’s fastback shape contributed to extremely aerodynamic contours that allowed the car to achieve performance comparable with that of vehicles with bigger engines. Continue reading “Citroen CX – 1974”
Citroen had purchased Maserati in 1968, with a view to combining its own advanced suspension system with Maserati engines to create a GT version of the upmarket Citroen DS. The result went on show at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970 as Citroen’s headliner, destined to keep the company’s name in lights alongside the likes of Porsche, Jaguar, Lotus, Alfa Romeo . . . even Ferrari and Aston Martin. It was an odd market sector for the French mass-marketeer to chase, but the pursuit was both enthusiastic and stylish. Continue reading “Citroen SM – 1970”
The debut of the Citroen DS series at the Paris Salon in 1955 was sensational. Some humorously suggested Flaminio Bertoni’s design was so futuristic that aliens must have invaded his drawing office and sketched out a 23rd-century machine, but the point was well made.
If you must drive this one (you must, you must!) the place to go is rural France. For this was not so much the French ‘People’s Car’ as the ‘French Country People’s Car’. This versatile little machine was a godsend for rural folk, many of whom were still following a 19th-century way of life after World War II. The Citroen 2CV changed all that, serving as an affordable multi-function passenger car, van, pickup truck, off-roader and small livestock transporter.
The name of the game for Citroen in the mid-1930s was ‘frontal traction’, for the phenomenally successful Traction Avant was launched in 1934 and over three-quarters of a million would be sold before eventual discontinuation in 1957.