I’ve been in that country where they serve coffee like this:

Or Italy, as we usually call it.

I had this for a week, except that it was rudely interrupted.

A Citroen C3 Picasso.

It came with this, the ETG6 automated manual gearbox.

Which in turn could be commanded by a pair of flappy paddles, not that I ever bothered:

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I was somewhat surprised to find myself with a C3, having ordered a Fiat 500 or Equivalent but obviously this was an Equivalent.

The Equivalent came with a 1.6 diesel, something which would probably cause an American to assume that it could hardly move unaided as it was like something you might find in a lawnmower.

It went just fine. Not as quiet as I’d have liked under acceleration but enough go to keep up with traffic. The diesel engine had its shortcomings though. Once past about 1500 revs you get a decent slug of torque and the car feels really rather brisk but then by about 3500 it’s gone and you’re left with noise.

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The automated gearbox is a thing that many people hate, particularly those who have never driven one. Most of the time it was just fine. Changes are a little on slow side and as it’s essentially a manual box power is interrupted during gearchanges which gives an odd feeling that the car has suddenly run into a headwind. I was slightly surprised to find “6" appearing on the dash display once I was outside town.

A small diesel must be very easy on fuel, right? Not as much as I had hoped for in fact. Average per the computer was 5.8 l/100 km or about 50 mpg (Imp). In comparison the petrol Fiat 500 that I had last year was slightly better while my father’s 1.6 diesel Focus will do 70 mpg on a long run.

In order to keep the CO2 levels down (everything seems to revolve around this in modern car design and we’ll return to this) the Equivalent had stop/start. Come to a halt and keep your foot on the brake and the engine stops. Release the brake and it starts. It does this so smoothly that I didn’t know I had it for the first day. Having become aware of it I noticed how aggressively it operates, stopping the engine whenever you stop even for a second. Oddly and in contrast to a manual car it doesn’t operate in neutral. Stop the car and engage N and the engine promptly starts again.

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Toys aren’t terribly numerous but you get automatic lights and wipers, automatic air con and Bluetooth. In a nod to the DS and its steering headlights it has cornering lights.

And now the downside. The Equivalent has four wheels. One at each corner and no more, so no spare. Back to that CO2 you see, less weight. Naturally I drove over a large stone. Naturally a tyre blew out so I pulled over. And found this.

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This is not a spare wheel. By no stretch of the imagination is it a spare. It’s a puncture repair kit. According to the pictograms (no text because the Equivalent is sold in many countries) you turn the switch which you can see in the bottom left corner to the left, haul out the silver pipe you can see running along the edge of the unit and attach it to the valve on the tyre. Then plug the unit into the 12v socket and switch on to apply sealing gunk to the tyre. The gunk sprayed out just as fast as it was pumped in so the next step is to put the whole lot back and walk until a phone signal appears followed by lengthy discussions with various Italians equipped with dodgy English, a tow truck, two days without a car and a two hour taxi ride.

So there you have it. Quite a reasonable car specified by somebody who could usefully be beaten to within an inch of his life by a puncture repair kit.