Citroen's C3, which claims to slot in between the Saxo and the Xsara, will be battling for attention along with the new Volkswagen Polo and Ford's new Fiesta – also due to be unveiled this week.
Both manufacturers are offering segment firsts with their offerings, while car makers without a new launch in the sector are beefing up the specification of their models to soften the blow of the Fiesta's launch.
CITROEN'S C3 follows positive reaction to the Lumiere concept car presented at the 1998 Paris Motor Show.
Its engine line-up will include two 1.4-litre HDi diesel engines from the joint PSA Peugeot Citroen/Ford diesel development programme and three petrol engines, a 1.1-litre 61bhp, 1.4-litre 75bhp and 1.6 110bhp. The 1.4-litre engines feature an optional automatic gearbox.
Safety features include six airbags, of which two are curtains, and a host of electronic features from larger Citroen models, such as parking sensors, automatic wipers and automatic hazard lights.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but will be 'competitive' when it arrives in early 2002.
- Model: Citroen C3
- Petrol engines: 1.1 61bhp; 1.4 75bhp; 1.6 110bhp
- Diesel engines: 1.4HDi 70bhp; 1.4HDi 16v 92bhp
- Transmissions: Five-speed manual or four speed automatic (1.4 75bhp only)
- Safety features: Driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, parking sensors, automatic wipers and hazard warning lights
THE next generation Volkswagen Polo, which shares its platform with the Skoda Fabia introduced last year, will be making a play for safety-conscious buyers with twin front and side airbags as standard, as well as ABS.
Volkswagen's new Polo will make its UK debut next spring and make its first public appearance at Frankfurt next month. The new car shares a strong family resemblance with the smaller Lupo, but the new Polo is six inches longer than the current model and its wheelbase has increased by two inches.
The entry-level petrol option will be a three-cylinder 1.2 litre offering 65bhp, while the existing 75bhp 1.4 litre will be offered as a five-speed manual and four-speed automatic.
The two existing diesels will be carried over will be carried over from the current line-up (1.9 SDI and a 75bhp 1.9 TDI PD), with a range-topping 100bhp 1.9 TDI from the Passat will also be available.
Three further petrol engines will be available later in the year including an 85bhp 1.4 FSI (direct injection petrol), a 55bhp 1.2-litre and the existing 100bhp 1.4-litre.
- Model: Volkswagen Polo
- Petrol engines: 1.2 55bhp; 1.2 65bhp; 1.4 75bhp; 1.4FSI 85bhp; 1.4 100bhp
- Diesel engines: 1.9SDI 64bhp; 1.9TDI PD 75bhp; 1.9TDI PD 100bhp
- Transmissions: Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic (1.4 75bhp only)
- Safety features: Twin front and side airbags and ABS as standard
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