'Our' new Citroen C3 gets the full dealership experience


We'll be living with a new Citroen C3 for the foreseeable future, so to mark its arrival we collected it from Richmond Citroen in Portsmouth for the full handover experience.

First impressions are great. The large, glass-sided building – which is half Citroen and DS, half Hyundai – is modern and airy. I'm greeted by a friendly receptionist who offers me a drink and ushers me towards a coffee shop incorporated into the dealership.

While I sip a latte and wait for my photographer to arrive, it strikes me just how important an excellent dealership experience is. Buying a new car is often the second biggest expense for a person after a house, and as a family turns up with kids giddy with excitement this point becomes clear.

The wait for the snapper lets me cast a sneaky eye over the dealership, which is quietly buzzing with activity. A gentleman waits in the coffee shop with his young, impatient son. A mechanic walks out of the service bays behind the dealership to explain that the minor issue with his car was taking a little longer than expected to fix – he was totally polite and it put the customer at ease. So far, so impressive.

We stroll over to a C3-shaped car draped in cloth and together pull the cover back to reveal our new Citroen. All customers get to do this, and it's a welcome act of theatre for such an expensive buy.

Tim walks us around the exterior of the car. It's painted Polar White, which offsets nicely with the black Airbumps down the side. Style-wise it's a huge improvement over the old car.

We jump inside and all the gadgets and gizmos are explained – we tether my phone to the infotainment system and Tim explains how the integrated Connected-Cam dashcam works. Now admittedly, the C3 isn't exactly brimming with technological wonders that require hours of explanation, but it's a welcome step to ensure we know exactly how our car works.

After a brief chat, we're both happy that everything's been explained and let Tim get back to work. Then it's back to the coffee shop to take advantage of the free WiFi and another dose of caffeine...