Well, fearing that I’m stating the obvious, it’s a small French hatchback. But in fact it’s so much more to Citroen, taking place on their mantel as the top seller. So while it might not possess the cuteness of the C1, or the chic appeal of the DS3, the C3 is Citroen’s bread and butter.
On the outside
The Citroen C3 retains the ‘bubblish’ shape its carried forward from its beginnings in 2002, however has been refreshed quite nicely indeed. Its proportions seem to have been smoothed out, leaving behind any sharp, ungainly lines for a more polished finish. The large expanse of glass does a lot to modernise the look too; with the added benefit of flooding the interior with light.
On the inside
If you’ve ever sat inside the DS3 you’ll know what Citroen is capable of when it comes to funky, modern and interesting interiors. That’s kinda what the French manufacturer is all about, pushing the envelope of design to create something really special. While this level of attention wasn’t afforded to the Citroen C3, it’s nice to see that some of the DS3’s details spilled over to its less chic sibling. Overall the finish is beyond expectation and goes beyond what you’d expect from a ‘bread and butter’ car. The monolithic ‘Zenith’ wrap around windscreen adds a certain je ne sais quoi you may struggle to find in any of the C3’s competitors and makes the cabin feel outrageously spacious.
The 1.6 litre VTi 120 petrol motor develops 88kW and 160 torques and delivers its power to the road via a 5 speed manual gearbox (an automatic is available). It’s a decent drivetrain, feeling nippy about town and solid for a motorway cruise; although personally I’d go for Citroen’s super-frugal eHDi diesel.
On the road the Citroen’s soft suspension and light controls point to a set up that aims to bring big-car comfort to the supermini market place. And it certainly delivers on that front, ironing out ripples in the road with aplomb and offering up and effortless driving experience. The flip side of the coin is a disconnected feel behind the wheel and plenty of body roll through corners.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week with the C3. It chic new look, spacious interior, neat extras and supreme comfort make it a brilliant car to live with day-to-day. It’s price tag of R231 900 may seem a little steep, but the beauty here is that there’s a more affordable 1.2 litre model that’ll do the Citroen C3 just fine.
Price: R 231,900
Engine: 1598cc petrol
Power: 88 kW
Torque: 160 Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 8.9
Top Speed (km/h): 190
Consumption (l/100km): 5.9 (claimed)
First published in Autodealer KZN