Rental cars are an inevitable part of travel photography. They might not be the most glamorous cars on the road, but they get you and your gear to the locations you want to shoot. Some do it better than others. Here's my review of this one.
If you can’t be bothered to read the whole article, then the highlight is this: It’s better than the Peugeot 208 I reviewed last time in EVERY WAY.
Ok, you’re done now, but for those of you still killing time, here’s why. Firstly, look at it! It’s cool looking in a chunky sort of way. With those big wheels, and weird dent thing in the side it is obvious someone at Citroen has paid attention to the details. And this continues on the inside too. With leather straps to pull the doors closed like a 1960's Le Mans race car, a sporty rev counter and lots of piano black and chrome trim, this little hatchback looks and feels quality throughout. And the exhaust note is properly fruity too. I don’t know if they’re piping in fake burbles through the speakers or if it’s just clever acoustics, but either way they’ve made it sound like there’s a little V8 in there rather than the weedy little 4 pot you actually find hidden under the bonnet.
But let's not get carried away here. It's still just a family hatchback, not an all out driving machine. The manual gearbox is functional, but not exciting, and there is not as much travel in the brake pedal between on and off as I’d like. The steering is fairly agile, albeit a little on the light side and exceedingly numb, Ride quality is good until you hit potholes and then it feels like you've fallen down a flight of concrete stairs while carrying bricks.
The boot is big enough to carry 3 large camera bags and still close the parcel shelf over the boot space so no-one can see in. That's paramount when hauling expensive gear. The visibility out of the letterbox rear window is poor and made worse by the gigantic headrests on the front seats. I felt like Harry Houdini trying to get out of a straight jacket craning around them to reverse.
I liked the touch screen infotainment system. All small cars these days seem to excel in this department. You can use the sat nav from your phone, play music, adjust the climate control and listen to the radio all with easy to read buttons on screen.
It's front wheel drive and low powered so it isn't useful for off roading, but if you need to get four people and their camera equipment about comfortably and not use very much petrol this is a solid choice.
We rented the car from Avis as we usually do. The customer service there is always excellent with friendly staff and plenty of options for bringing the cars back at weird times or to different cities and they always manage to accommodate our oddball requests.
This is not a paid endorsement for Avis or for Citroen.