Citroen C3

How long do you sit in stationary traffic before turning off your engine? Two minutes? Five? Just think how much fuel you could save if your car switched off automatically whenever you stopped.

It's no hybrid, but the C3 Stop&Start offers green motoring to Citroen's supermini customers. The idea behind the new model is very simple and it works well in practice, but keeping your foot on the brake when stationary can become a bind. Given the fact that the innovative newcomer is relatively cheap, it could be a hit with town drivers.

How long do you sit in stationary traffic before turning off your engine? Two minutes? Five? Just think how much fuel you could save if your car switched off automatically whenever you stopped.

It's a question Citroen's engineers asked themselves, too. And spurred on by experimental machines such as the 90mpg VW Lupo 3 litre (which debuted stop-and-start technology), the firm built the new C3 Stop&Start. But does it really work? In theory, the underlying principle is very simple. Engineers have done away with the starter motor al-together, using the alternator - which normally charges up the battery - to turn over the engine.

When you pull to a stop, the motor cuts out until you take your foot off the brake pedal. Restarting takes a mere 0.4 seconds and it is very quiet and refined, but the system does mean that your brake lights will be on all of the time that the powerplant is off - which could be annoying for the driver sitting behind. Also, while there are clearly emissions benefits, a mere 5.5 per cent reduction in combined fuel consumption is a little disappointing. City motorists are likely to save more.

The Stop&Start system will only be available on the 1.4-litre 16-valve 90bhp C3 equipped with Citroen's clutchless manual SensoDrive gearbox. Exact costs are yet to be finalised, but company insiders are hinting at a premium of only around £200 for Stop&Start models.

Most Popular

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value
Appreciators: Renault 5
Features

Appreciating cars: classic cars that go up in value

Looking to invest in a modern classic? Here are some cars destined to appreciate in value
4 May 2021
Genesis to launch in Europe this summer with line-up to rival Audi and Mercedes
Genesis G80 and GV80
Genesis

Genesis to launch in Europe this summer with line-up to rival Audi and Mercedes

The Genesis G80 saloon and GV80 SUV will take on the Mercedes E-Class and GLE off-roader as the Korean luxury brand sets its stall out in Europe
4 May 2021
New 2022 Skoda Fabia grows in size and gets tech boost
Skoda Fabia - front
Skoda Fabia

New 2022 Skoda Fabia grows in size and gets tech boost

The new fourth-generation Skoda Fabia supermini is expected to hit UK showrooms early in 2022
4 May 2021