By Sala Masindane
Having returned to our shores recently, Citroen has attempted to change everything about the brand. These changes include a new management and an updated product line-up. This was done without much fanfare, but with a promise to deliver to the needs of the consumer in terms of the products. One of the comeback kid poster boys is the Citroen C3 that is coming into a competitive segment which includes the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Renault Clio. The C3 will be available in two trims, i.e. the 1.2T Feel and 1.2T Shine. We recently drove the later to see if it will stand its own against the formidable competition.
To be honest the C3 doesn’t really attempt to take on the above-mentioned hatches in their respective strengths. It comes in with a distinctive appearance, it holds nothing back and the design is quite expressive. Upfront, there’s a two-tier light signature and a double chrome bar that underlines the Citroen chevrons, and runs through to the LED daytime running lamps, and round headlamps. On the side, the Shine features Airbump panels that protect the bodywork from dents and scuffs. These panels will consist of seven capsules made from tough polyurethane which feature red surroundings. These resemble the red roof that is part of the two-tone exterior colour. The rear spots a modern look with muscular wings and lights appear in 3D design.
The interior does not necessarily scream luxury, but Citroen has tried to follow up the exterior looks by creating a welcoming cabin that offers something just as outgoing as the exterior. There are some soft touch materials around the dashboard, but hard plastic materials are on the dominant side. That is not bad as they look good and seem like they will last a long time. On the entertainment side, there’s a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. The screen is a bit slow in terms of feedback when using it but it is nothing that would disturb you as the driver. The two-tone colour scheme continues inside with the to the door handles that resemble a luggage strap taking a contrasting colour to the door panels. The comfortable seats also have a unique boxy design and red strip running through them. Overall, the quality is decent with enough head and legroom all round.
Drive and engine
The Citroen C3 1.2T Shine is powered by a perky 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with 81kW/205 Nm and is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The three-cylinder engine offers decent performance as we did not struggle for power when required. Although the C3 offers a smooth ride when cruising along in the city, we noticed that the engine does become a bit noisy at low revs. We found that it doesn’t need to be hurried and overtaking needs to be planned, which is what we’ve come accustomed to in most three-cylinders. Citroen has worked on the refinement and the ride quality of the C3, this makes it soak up the bumps on the road while giving accurate feedback to the steering. The automatic gearbox gave a good account of itself and shifted accordingly when required. We managed a fuel consumption of 7.8l/100km which is not a far cry from the claimed 6.0l/100km, but not great either. This would probably be lower if it wasn’t for the stop and start nature of our trips during the time we spent with the C3.
The Citroen C3 may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it does tick most of the boxes required in a hatch. It’s trendy, spacious and quirky. It may not offer all the fireworks that the competitors have but it does not claim to have them anyways. It’s list of standard features will see some of them sweating a bit. The C3 is worth at looking at if you are in search for a hatch.
The C3 1.2T Shine is priced from R299,900. The price includes a five-year/100,000 km and service plan.
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