Citroën has become the latest European supermini maker to introduce an automated manual gearbox. Like a version of the Daihatsu Sirion, the C3 has a “Formula 1 style” paddle change gearshift for what Citroen dubs its ‘SensoDrive’ gearbox.

Like rivals such as GM’s Opel/Vauxhall Corsa and Mercedes’ A-class, the Citroen ‘box allows clutchless gearchanges but they can be made via steering wheel-mounted paddles, rather than just the gear lever, allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Gear lever changing is still possible, though, and a completely automated operation can also be selected.

To change gear manually, the driver simply flicks the paddles to change up or down, or taps the gearlever forward or backwards. Neutral and reverse can also be selected using the gearlever. To make the car do the gear changing automatically, a button at the base of the gearlever is pressed.

The new gearbox is being offered with the 110bhp, 16-valve 1.6-litre petrol engine, a unit shared with some Peugeot models.

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