By Funziwe Moleme
When is a budget car, an actual budget car? The answer to this question can have many responses depending on who is providing the answer. If you ask Citroen, that answer is the new C3. Coming in at R229,000 – the new C3 is even more accessible than ever, and the drop in price raises a question on whether Citroën has been re-positioned to be below the C3 we know (think Ford Fiesta to Figo) or is it something different? Well, without formal communication from Citroën on this, we can only speculate that this may be the case. Either way, our evaluation is based on the value the potential buyer stands to get.
The New C3 cannot be faulted for looking generic, it certainly stands out from a design perspective. Quirky looks inside and out are immediately noticeable. The interior does however point out to a budget car, with the “youthful” design that may not necessarily appeal to a seasoned buyer. The rear seat doesn’t have a 50:50 or 60:40 split. It is bench-like and lacks in bolstering or support. Upfront, the air vents and 10-inch display dominate the dash like the hard plastic around the cabin. Fit and finish won’t insult any buyer, but we feel like the overall interior execution could have been a little subtle from a design point of view.
Piloting the new C3 is where things improve slightly. While the engine has a low-end grumble, it marginally quietens up at speed and there’s a decent sense of refinement overall – especially when compared to cars at this price point and below. Fuel consumption is solid at 5.4l/100kms (Citroën claims 5.6l/100kms) and will only increase a tad when pushed. Considering that it is powered by a 3-cylinder, 1.2 petrol engine that has an output of 61kW/115Nm – power is okay, but things can get a little rough when pushed.
Other positives include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, an option of 10 exterior colours, 2 interior options and a relatively comfortable drive.
Overall, we think the new C3 faces stiff competition. Other rivals, like the Suzuki Ignis (R212,900), Suzuki Swift (R218,900) or Suzuki Baleno (R239,900) offer better refinement and in the case of the Baleno (or Toyota Starlet at R241,200) you get more space and practicality. All these cars will also provide (from our tests and time with them) similar levels of fuel economy as well.
The Citroën has a slight edge on its unique design and having a softer drive but there’s little to worry the competition at this price point. The C3 comes with a 5 year / 100,000km warranty and 2 year / 30,000km service plan.
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