Fast-changing market conditions defeat the most sophisticated motor industry forecasts for the future, but a new take on boxy design should soon be allowing Citroën to celebrate a remarkable exception to the rule.
Conceived back in 2004 as the baby brother of the C4 Picasso, the latest version of the C3 seems to be the right product at the right time as hard-pressed drivers look for multi-purpose models with style as well as practicality, versatility and value.
Add the bonus of strong residual values – CAP is forecasting 37% for the car after three years/60,000 miles – and the stage is set for the mini MPV to be a hit when it reaches the showrooms in April.
“Our timing has certainly been spot-on this time and I think sales could well reach 10,000 in a full year as more motorists aim to trim costs,” says Citroën UK managing director Xavier Duchemin.
“We have a strong proposal and I think this is a fantastic opportunity. But I also accept that we’ve been very lucky – no-one could have predicted the recession five months ago, let alone five years back,”
According to marketing director Ian Hughes, optimum pricing over the last three years has left the French brand in a strong position to benefit from the economic downturn and company executives are now evaluating a number of finance-led options
with the new car to help customers through the economic slowdown.
With a choice of petrol or diesel power, the mini Picasso will come in VT, VTR+ and Exclusive trim levels and likely standard equipment looks generous with six airbags, power front windows, CD-player and height and reach-adjust steering.
VTR+ should add a speed limiter cruise control, air conditioning, split rear seat and a trip computer and Exclusive is likely to add
climate control, rear park assist and auto lights and wipers.
With a dramatic wrap-around windscreen and large glazed area, the C3 offers light, airy and comfortable travel for five with remarkable stretching space, considering its compact size.
It also has a massive appetite for luggage, with volumes stretching from 500 litres to 1,500 litres.
Particularly relaxing to drive in diesel form, it sets a fresh benchmark in the class.