C3 vs Matiz vs Clio
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  1. #1
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    C3 vs Matiz vs Clio

    Sorry this topic is only 67% French, but it'll have to do.

    Spent the afternoon with a friend testing a few cars. Tested the C3 because it's the latest thing in down, the Matiz, because we needed a bottom end car - a bad benchmark, and the Clio, because we needed a good car - a good benchmark .

    Citroen C3 Exclusive 1.4 Manual

    First car up was the C3, which arrived at the dealer late last night. It's certainly a special looking car, basically as you drive, you're advertising Citroen - something which catches glances wherever you go. The driving experience isn't as quirky as it looks though.

    The cars quality isn't as bad as what some European reports have said, but there are some finer details which exhibit less than impressive detailing - overall it's fine. The car had no underbonnet insulation, and the bonnet underside was not fully sprayed. Some engine components were exhibiting signs of corrosion, not quite what I expected (on the brakes it's fine).

    A high stance gives the car plenty of headroom in the front, and a reasonable amount in the rear (although it's better to lean slightly forward, otherwise your head will touch the rear of the roof). The narrowness of the car shows when you have both armrests down, as the handbrake becomes quite hard to use. The interior is characterful and colourful. The seating position encourages a more relaxed driving style - the armrests, softish padding, comfortable velour and high seating position make the front seats feel like an armchair. Height adjustment on both front seats is a plus. The rear could do with a little more room, it's probably not as capacious as the styling leads you to believe. In any case, it's certainly far from bad.

    For a supermini, the boot is well sized and deep, one of the best for Euro superminis. In addition cubbyholes for paraphernalia are plentiful.

    Instrumentation is slightly differnt. You have a semi circular tacho, whose needle swings from left to right at the top of the binnacle (the shape is like that of a sun rising). The speedo is digital, and the temp and fuel gauges are digital bars to the left and right of the speedo.

    The car as a manual takes 14.2 to 100km/h according to factory figures. Although this is slow, in reality it doesn't feel that slow, and bear in mind I was driving a car with only 140km on the clock. The car is zippy enough, and has reasonable response in 3rd and 4th gears. You won't win too many traffic light grand prixes, but you won't be complaining too much. Although mechanically it is a simple, old tech engine, it doesn't feel particularly asthmatic at high revs. Surprisingly, it's quite nicely hushed, even when working hard. The car itself is reasonably well hushed overall, despite having a large frontal area like a 307.

    The gearshift is a little notchy, and the clutch is very light. My friend complained it lacked feel, but I found it very easy to drive - something I've noticed with the latest batch of Euro superminis. It'd be nicer if the gearstick base were a tad higher.

    At parking speeds, the steering is amazingly light - lighter than the lightest Japanese cars. However at speed, it returns to a nice weighting.

    Brakes are competent, if not at 307 level. For 165/70 R14s, the car handles and grips fairly well, but it's not a sporting drive. The ride is good, but not especially supple or outstanding.

    Aircon is adequate, and just copes with the large glass areas. The air vents are of an interesting design. Stalks were very light.

    Stereo is the Clarion headunit which you find in most PSA cars these days. Fine for a simple factory headunit, with a reasonable amount of bass. The remote controls are now integrated with the windscreen wiper stalk. The parts commonality is quite obvious these days - for instance, the radio display is shared with the 206 1.4 XR. The display will tell you if the doors are open.

    Overall, the package I drove is only $500 cheaper than the Xsara VTR driveaway. The salesman also said that it was unlikely that we'd see the 1.6 C3, because it makes more sense to get a Xsara. As a 1.6, I think the C3 would be quite zippy, and it has the refinement that the 206 lacks.

    Daewoo Matiz 0.8 Manual

    Well you need to see the good, bad and ugly, so you realise how good the good is. So the Matiz was up for testing, and what a great start to the test, when the Lanos in front wouldn't start. So the sales crew pushed it out of the way Fortunately the Matiz started.

    With 38kW and 3 cylinders, I didn't expect this to be a rocket, and it wasn't. 17 seconds 0-100km/h according to the manufacturer, so there's nothing to get the heart racing. I guess it's no surprise that Daewoo doesn't publish the 0-100 for the auto on drive.com.au

    To be fair the car driven wasn't brand new, but appeared to be in good condition. But the rear doors squeaked as you opened them. The doors were very thin.

    The car is nothing special to drive. Performance is barely adequate, and the gearbox needs to be rowed. The shift action feels gritty, and the clutch takes up very quick, with its short travel. The engine itself works hard, and is a little noisy - it doesn't enjoy being revved, even if necessary. Flooring the throttle makes little difference.

    Brakes are the worst I've experienced on a modern car, feeling wooden and ineffective. Ride is ok, handling is not great. The car has no power steering, and the weighting is inconsistent.

    Although hardly COTY material, the Matiz does a few things well. Firstly it has great all round visibility, thanks to the thin pillars. Secondly, it uses its space well with good headroom all round. Thirdly, ventilation is good, with strong aircon, the best of the day. Then again, French cars have never been famed for freezing aircon.

    At the end of the day, it's hardly a fair contest comparing a $12k car with two $20k cars. But it's still not an impressive car. Merely economical transport with good air conditioning. For the money, you're better off getting a second hand vehicle.

    Renault Clio Expression 1.4 Manual

    The best supermini on the market some say, so it was time to see how true that was.

    Inside, the Clio has a smart looking dash which feels well built with reasonable switchgear. The cheap, hollow feeling glovebox was the main downer - a new catch design would fix a lot. The main spoiler for the interior ambience is the dark coloured trim, which looks and feels cheap. As the Privilege, the Clio is much more classy feeling.

    Sitting in the car, after the C3 and Matiz, the first thing you notice is "where is the headroom". Cars are getting heavier, fatter, and taller, and as a design of a generation gone by, this handicaps the Clio. In the front, headroom is adequate, but the rear remains tight. Legroom is ok in the rear.

    On the road, it's not hard to see why the Clio has been getting good reviews. The 1.4 16V is fine with 3 people onboard, better than the 1.4 in the C3. Not too noisy either - noise chiefly from the road and the air. As a package, the manual is far better than the auto.

    The clutch has a slightly high takeup point, and isn't heavy. I found the gearshift baulks a little, precluding swift gearchanges.

    Steering errs on the heavier side, and isn't as direct as I like. The brakes are fine, but are slightly less effective than in the C3.

    Since the last time I was in a Clio, the ride seems to have stiffened up by quite a bit, and the car rolls less. It's nice to drive, but I could do with a little more grip, as there were times when the tyres were squealing in corners.

    Aircon is disappointing, it just managed to keep the 21-25C temperature outside at bay, but wouldn't cool down a parked car on a 40 day well. On the other hand, the audio is very nice for an economy car, and the remote stalks are always great.

    Overall, there wasn't one clear winner after today's expedition.

    The C3 has lots of character, isn't a bad drive, and is very practical - this is going to help Citroen grow in this country.

    The Matiz is just simple, economical transport.

    The Clio is a nice drive, feeling mature on the road. But its yesteryear packaging lets it down.

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    If you enjoy driving, get the Clio. If you want a car that's easier to live with, and still competent on the road, the C3 is great.

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  2. #2
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    Here are a few pics to give you an idea what I'm talking about re. the C3.

    The instrumentation

    <img src="http://carpoint.ninemsn.com.au/content/reviews/citroen/2003C3SX4.jpg" alt=" - " />

    The front cabin - looks better than in the baby blue I drove yesterday.

    <img src="http://carpoint.ninemsn.com.au/content/reviews/citroen/2003C3SX3.jpg" alt=" - " />

    From the rear

    <img src="http://carpoint.ninemsn.com.au/content/reviews/citroen/2003C3SX2.jpg" alt=" - " />

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts CHRI'S16's Avatar
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    Nice work Justin, you mentioned that there wont be a 1.6 C3?, what about a vts or equivalent, i remember UFO saying there will be and, that Peugeot will also release a rebadged vts (gti) version as they do with the 106/saxo in the UK. will this hapen here??? as UFO is on holidays we'll have to wait and clear this up later, but im shure youd know too.?
    tx xqisid
    ... ptui!

  4. #4
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    The dealer said he doesn't think there'll be a 1.6 after talking to his manager (because of the close price proximity to the 1.6 Xsara), but all other reports indicate there will be one mid 2003.

    Cheers,

    Justin

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
    Aussiefrogged in MEL, PER, SYD, BNE & ADL.
    Rendezvous Adelaide 2005

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