Test drove a C3 + C5
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Test drove a C3 + C5

    Just thought I would pop a few thoughts up here, for those interested.

    Dad and I went on our usual Salesyard hopping on the weekend, these are becoming more frequent as both of us are looking at new cars. We went to Peugeot at Arncliffe (they were quite busy, so we just sat in a few things they had there) and Rick Damelian Citroen.

    They had a lot of C3's there! Usually there is not much in that showroom but this time it was jampacked full of C3's (about 7 or 8) and Xsara's and C5's.

    As soon as we laid eyes on the C3, the girl I had with me started laughing at it, saying she couldn't imagine me owning one of those. Of course, the dealer went straight for Dad (because hey, I'm a young looking bloke and I couldn't possibly be looking at a new car, even though I rocked up in my 306...which cost 50% more than a C3 )

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    So Dad pretended he had never seen a C5 before while the guy went through the specs. This guy (Christian) was very proud of the fact that he has owned 15 Citroens back in France and it was great to see people enthusiastically selling Citroens. Within minutes of talking he offered a test drive. I was pretty surprised as I usually have to justify why I would like to drive one.

    I sat in the C3 and it all looked pretty good, easy to use etc etc. Very roomy in the front! Doesn't feel like a small car at all. Very French driving position, and to be honest I am getting a bit tired of sitting like that. Japanese offerings are much better in this regard. I always feel I am sitting on the seat, and not in the seat in most French cars.

    He drove the car first, and drove like a Frenchman! He got up to nearly 80 kmh in 50 kmh streets. It must have looked funny from the street as people in traffic were laughing at this funny little car being driven pretty fast with 4 people in it.

    My turn to drive. Wow you sit pretty high on the road. I found the car to have good steering, great brakes and superb ride (especially with 4 people aboard). It had very very little power and this was a major bummer in my mind. Taking off from the lights requires full throttle. Negotiating a hill required full throttle and a downchange. I tried to overtake in mild traffic and it just wasn't going to happen. It wasn't even adequate, pretty dangerous in some places too. You wouldn't want to snap across a busy intersection in a hurry. In comparison, my 306 is a powerhouse.

    We drove around for about 15 mins on a predetirmined route and then headed back. When parking the car back at the dealer I was amazed at how light the steering was. The dealer explained this was due to the electric power steering pump. There was already another couple waiting to test drive the same car. They are obviously interesting cars and the advertising campaign seems to be working, but after driving one I don't think I 'envy' them =)

    In the end - I liked it but I wouldn't buy one. I reckon a 1.6 litre 206 represents better value. They don't have the greatest warranty, they don't have cruise control, and ABS isn't standard on the base model. If I didn't have those requirements I might be more interested.

    Anyway - the dealer also asked if we wanted to drive a C5. Took one around the block, same route as the C3. Dad drove, I sat in the back (ooh leather ). My impressions from the back - engine is louder than I thought it would be. Ride is very similar to my 306, not the mobile water bed I thought it would be. Power is adequate. Brakes are amazing. The ability to drive at a faster speed than you should be is very easy. Adequate build quality.

    We sat at the lights for a minute or so and you can feel the suspension adjusting constantly. Pretty cool for novelty factor but I wonder if this would get boring?

    My sisters double bass fits in quite comfortably, and it is one of the few cars that does so.

    And thats that. Comments?

    Brendan

  2. #2
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Oh, and I asked the dealer about the possibility of the Berlingo II Multispace, as this is something I would definately be interested in, especially the 2.0 HDi.

    He said they would be sold here but the small doors on the side of the Multispace won't pass ADR's (bummer!).

  3. #3
    Administrator GreenBlood's Avatar
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    Brendan, Snap...

    We did the same thing on Friday, Denise is interested in getting rid of her Discovery eek! we've had it for 10 years since new and it's kept us poor (V8 evil )

    We drove the auto C3, which would have to be more power sapped than the manual, but given they are not marketed as a performance car I was pleasantly surprised, the four speed auto was fun to drive, we only drove around the city area but in that environment we found it quite adept. Later this year around July we will see the 1.6 with paddle gears on the steering wheel but again it won't be a screamer. I liked the deceptively large cabin space and driving position, great visability, and for around town at least, superb steering. The car we drove was a little up-spec with 15" aloy wheels, ABS, rain sensing wipers, metalic paint and a few other goodies and in auto form added about $2000.00 to the base model, we were impressed but......

    Our sales rep did the upsell on the C5 as well, again my impressions are different to yours although I was driving rather than a passenger and that may account for our differing opinions. The car we drove was a diesel, also with full leather(very nice)I found it to be extremely quite on the road, I agree the suspension (at least on a short trip) was closer to conventional than any other oleopneumatic Citroen I have driven, but extremely compliant soaking up bumps and potholes with aplomb. Loved the interior, bit worried by the blind spot created by the wide A pillar (A pillar? front screen pillar) very spacious and invited long distance cruising. In diesel form (again car tested was auto) the C5 has to rate very highly in terms of value for money. Fit and finish, paint quality etc. is certainly better than any Citroen that has been brought into the country prior to it's release, maybe thanks to Peugeot for that (never was a priority of Citroen).

    So which one did we buy.... just looking wink

    Cheers
    Chris
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  4. #4
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    Brendan,

    How many k's did the C3 have on it? Ours now has 1100km.. I haven't driven it since the first day or two after we got it though.

    It'll be interesting to see how it gets along on Sunday.

    Derek.

  5. #5
    Real cars have hydraulics DoubleChevron's Avatar
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    Guys,

    I've noticed you talk a lot about motive power (or lack there of). You need to compare it to comparable cars, ie: 1.4 litre C3, compare it to other 1.4litre cars. The chassis dynamics should speak for themself even with the little motors.

    I found most cars feel very lethargic that I've driven lately, reason??? My everyday car is a CX turbo that effortlessly pushes you back in the seat at 100mph (160km/h) and drops the rear suspension down in acceleration force. Xantias feel slow, the BX used to feel really quick, it now feels mediocre. To compare I'd need to drive V6 C5's etc...

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    Shane L.
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  6. #6
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    thakns for the comments. Interesting reading. Brenno, have you ever driven a 1.3/1.5 small car? Can you make any comparisons? I've only ever driven smaller cars, the GTI and GTi6s are the most powerful cars I've owned myself. So I'm quite interested in how the C3 compares to my old Micra...
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  7. #7
    1000+ Posts brenno's Avatar
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    Chris - I can imagine the C3 would be affected greatly by the extra people we had in the car, so I really should drive it again by myself if Citroen will let me

    Derek - from memory it had about 1800 kms on it. I'm keen to go for a ride in yours =)

    Shane - yes you are right, I am not being fair on the little C3. I usually drive my 306 with almost twice the power. Most of my mates cars have twice the power of my 306.

    My main gripe with the engine was the lack of torque down low. It must be great to drive on the move with the power up top.

    I am also unfairly comparing this car to the other cars on my 'potential next car' list, all of which are much more powerful.

    Lincoln, come to think of it....no I havn't driven many 1.4 litre cars on a long term basis. I did have a 1.6 206 auto for a few days, and it was fine.

    BC

  8. #8
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    And a 206 1.6 has 44% more power!

    You can definately feel the difference in the 206 1.6 going to a 307 1.6 - it's much faster. But then again, it's much noisier & clunkier too.

    Peugeot 307 XS 1.6
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  9. #9
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    Sure thing Brendan

    What colour did you drive? Ours being bright green is a little stand-outish

    Even my 306, with only 27% more power than the C3 (go the stats Justin!) feels sooo much more powerful than the C3.

    I've got my sister's Clio at the moment (she's away in Thailand) and even it has heaps more get up and go than the C3. On the other hand, it's bumpier, noiser and a bit more cramped. I guess it feels more like a pocket racer (with its 72kw ooo) but then it has ~8000km on the clock. The Clio is so good I'd hate to imagine how good the Renault Sport Clio 2L is!

    I've driven 3 1.4L cars at length: a 206 1.4L .. did 3500km in it 2 years ago, the Clio and the C3. I remember the 206 being kind of lethargic, but it was OK on flat UK roads. It didn't have any probs cruising motorways at 100mph (160km/h) though.

    See ya Sunday

    Derek.

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