Citroen C3 Sensodrive

2 Jul, 2002 5:34pm

It's a first for Citroen, and it's designed to offer drivers the convenience and safety of keeping their hands on the wheel when they change gear. SensoDrive is parent firm PSA's first paddleshift system and will debut on the C3.

Verdict

Both SensoDrive and Citroen's new 16v diesel engine increase the appeal of the C3 range in different ways. The paddleshift system offers drivers F1-style technology and is an important safety feature, while the powerplant is vital to secure sales in the key small diesel sector.
It's a first for Citroen, and it's designed to offer drivers the convenience and safety of keeping their hands on the wheel when they change gear. SensoDrive is parent firm PSA's first paddleshift system and will debut on the C3.

Two paddles behind the steering wheel operate a five-speed box, and our drive quickly proved Sensodrive's value. Whether on the open road or in town, the set-up works well, with easy, quick changes. A centre console button allows you to switch to full automatic mode, which strangely isn't as smooth as using the paddles. The auto option is also a bit quick to take you up the ratios to save fuel. SensoDrive will be available on the C3 1.6 Exclusive from October, and will add around �500 to the car's £11,995 price.

Meanwhile, Citroen has debuted its 1.4 HDi 16v engine for the supermini. On sale now, it's £330 more than the equivalent 8v unit and with 92bhp on tap, it's a more accomplished performer than its less lively 70bhp sibling. The 8v powerplant will stay in the LX entry-level model, keeping the price a little under the magic £10,000 mark, while the 16v engine will be found in the SX and Exclusive models.

Key specs

* C3 SensoDrive is Citroen's first paddleshift system
* Sequential-style set-up is available as an option on the 1.6 Exclusive model for around £500
* New 1.4-litre HDi 16v engine lines up alongside the 8v unit to offer more choice to diesel fans

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