OH how we laughed.
When Citroen said in 2010 they were inventing a premium sub-brand there was sniggering and giggles at the back of the room and more eyebrows raised than at a Roger Moore convention.
Roll on seven years and one of the biggest motoring success stories of this decade has been the reinvention of the Citroen DS.
However, the booming glory of DS put parent brand Citroen very much in the shade.
So the French giants decided to split the brands two years ago and now Citroen are back doing what they do best…quirky.
The was until the C4 Cactus came along and spiked things up again in late 2014.
Now they bring us their latest C3 which gets so much style and funkiness from the Cactus.
It’s a tough old gig to go toe-to-toe with the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, VW Polo and Renault Clio.
This is the hardest market to crack to try and overturn the UK’s biggest-selling models.
Thankfully Citroen have played to their strengths, that means chic and cheerful as only the French can do.
I love the beefy body especially in this shark grey paint job and contrasting black roof and trim. The headlamps delicately joining the badge chrome is also a very futuristic but effective touch.
From air bump door protectors to interiors that look like a designer handbag with contrasting colours, uncluttered dashboards and luggage-strap door handles.
As in the Cactus, I don’t like the flatbacked front seats and their lack of lower back support.
However, it’s refreshing in a car world of duplicate styles from the same stable that Citroen remain as bold as they can be.
Like the Cactus this C3 looks like a designer’s concept car that’s made it past the bosses without them noticing!
The interior is roomy and feels airy and the six-speaker DAB/Bluetooth stereo in the upper two Feel and Flair models (Touch is the entry level trim) is cracking.
It’s got fantastic bass and mid-range response for fans of music from Rihanna to Radio 2.
What about under the bonnet?
Well new diesel car sales dropped by 20 per cent last month, according to motor industry figures.
I’m not sure that’s consumers suddenly becoming CND-loving, vegetarians and all climate- conscious or them worrying about future popularity and therefore resale values.
If I were to go all Mystic Meg, the future for four wheels is more likely to involve small capacity, turbocharged petrol engines and a scattering of electric cars.
That’s why Citroen have the 1.2 three-cylinder turbo which has the personality of a playful puppy, full of boundless energy as it bounces along.
But this is the 1.5 diesel which offers over 70mpg and is a very decent, no frills performer on the road.
The range starts at £11,135 although this C3 Flair BlueHDi I tested is a much heftier £19,545.
But nonetheless this is the best C3 ever – it’s a stonker.
Citroen are laughing this time…all the way to the bank.