Soft top DS3 could relaunch Citroen in NZ

Last updated 07:10 17/02/2013
Citroen DS3 Cabrio.

CITROEN DS3 CABRIO: Could suit the New Zealand market perfectly.

Citroen DS3 Cabrio.
FOLDING ROOF: It can be fixed into three positions and opened and closed when moving.

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With Sime Darby adding Citroen to its car stable in New Zealand this month, to sit alongside the Peugeot PSA sibling it has handled for some years, a sexy new product would be just the thing to re-focus attention to the twin-chevron badge here.

Just announced in Britain is the rag-top version of the pretty and popular DS3 hatchback, which was launched three years ago and has been in New Zealand since 2011.

The DS3 Cabrio model was originally presented at the 2012 Paris Motor Show in October, and the significance of the early launch of the British version of the car is that it will be right hand drive.

In Britain, the DS3 Cabrio is offered in three types, each with a different engine, priced from around NZ$35,000 to NZ$45,000 in the ''old country'' though it's likely that any versions offered in New Zealand will be in high specification form and with shipping charges, somewhat more expensive than that.

Like the Fiat 500 rag-top the DS3 Cabrio isn't a proper convertible, but it does mean that its electrically operated canvas top can be fully opened or closed at speeds of up to 121kmh to three positions - ''intermediate'', ''horizontal'' and ''total'', in 16 seconds. The Brits, of course, would love this, being able to enjoy fleeting exposure to sunshine without having to stop.

There are three UK petrol engine options, the 60kW VTi, an 87kW VTi and the turbocharged 113kW THP, the two first linked to five-speed manuals and latter to a 6-speeder. It has to be said that an auto will be needed here and we doubt that the least powerful car would be considered.

Citroen says the DS3 Cabrio's market is dominated by female buyers and its customer profile will largely reflect existing demand with owners typically aged 35-plus with a strong female bias. The French carmaker added that it is also targeting "older buyers who are 'young at heart' with older, more independent children at home". This group abounds in New Zealand, so how about it Sime Darby? You know you want to.

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