CAR REVIEW: Meet the Citroën C3 facelift – a car you can judge on more than just looks
Ordinarily, I would start a review by talking about a vehicle’s aesthetics. In the case of the facelifted Citroën C3 however, I am going to get straight down to business and gush about the best thing about the compact hatchback – its driveability.
Granted, this is a bold statement to make and coming from me, it’s no small accolade. The truth of the matter though, is that the products from Citroën (and Peugeot) are long overdue for as much attention by the South African public as that given to the offerings from Asia and other European countries. Not only are these French vehicles teeming with features and technologies (many of which come as standard items), they genuinely are worthy competitors to mainstream hatchbacks on the market.
I didn’t have a particular destination in mind but I had a full tank, so why not!– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
Climbing into the driver’s seat and firing up the 1.2T 81kW litre engine, I pointed the C3’s headlights towards the freeway in search of back routes towards either Mpumalanga or Kwa-Zulu Natal. No, I didn’t have a particular destination in mind but I had a full tank of fuel, so why not!
My wicked little plan for the C3 included finding out how well its suspension and comfy seats would hold up on not-so-well-tarred South African roads– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
At the event, I had been most impressed by the little car’s ride quality and heightened levels of occupant comfort, but my wicked little plan for the C3 included finding out just how well its suspension and comfy seats would hold up when pushed along not-so-well-tarred South African roads. After all, the majority of South Africans looking for a reliable set of wheels would take into consideration just how well the little Frenchie would cope on neglected roads that lead to grandma’s house.
The narrow ribbon of road leading to Bronkospruit provided me with just the testing environment I was looking for; given the road’s numerous potholes of varying size and depth, unevenly laid tarmac, and other annoying anomalies. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the Citroen C3 is an SUV nor was I trying to ‘break’ it. On the contrary, I had so much faith in its capabilities to tackle its most fierce rival – the VW Polo, that I simply had to do all I could to prove its competence.
Thankfully, and I say this with real heartfelt gratitude, Citroën hasn’t tried to disguise the C3 as a sporty offering– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
With a slight growl from its 1.2 turbocharged engine and sailing re-assuredly on 16” heels, the C3 was up for the challenge and showed no signs of strain during any part of the 90-minute drive.
From purring contentedly along the straights to cornering confidently in and out of the twisties, the C3 raised eyebrows from the road users I easily overtook as I hurtled towards nowhere in particular. The C3’s light, electric-powered steering system makes the compact hatch agile and light-footed but not in a ‘gone with the wind’ type of way.
Suffice to say I drove the C3 pretty much the way I drive all test units – as if I stole it– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
Thankfully, and I say this with real heartfelt gratitude, Citroën hasn’t tried to disguise the C3 as a sporty offering. It irks me when manufacturers put little race-car-inspired touches to cars that have no business impersonating anything vaguely racy. Instead, the French manufacturer has done a rather good job of taking the C3 to what could be the edge of its performance capabilities, without venturing into true sporty mode. Anything more than what the C3 currently is, it would put in a different vehicular segment altogether.
Suffice to say, I drove the C3 pretty much the way I drive all test units – as if I stole it – which means a hard and fast drive. Driving in this fashion allows me to test a car’s handling, performance, and, well, the effectiveness of the braking system – which explains why I do a test run on my own and on abandoned / infrequently travelled roads. Apart from limiting encounters with other motorists, I don’t relish the prospect of having a squeamish, or screaming passenger when I am at work!
Given that the C3 has something of a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ type performance, it would be a good idea to mention safety features– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
Also, a feisty drive allows for a 360-degree test of a car’s fuel efficiency (spirited drive vs. city driving) and having sprinted for 300km in one direction on the first day, I was happy to note that my return trip resulted in 7.8-litres of fuel consumed per 100kms. This translates to much less fuel used by anyone else who buys the C3 because chances are slim that they would drive the way I do; at least I hope no one does!
Given that the C3 has something of a ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ type performance, I think it would be a good idea to mention safety features roundabout now. These include ABS, EBA, EBD, TCS, ESP, 6 airbags across the range, Microdot, dedicated Apps connected to the car and Safety Film and Tracking solutions, (optional).
After driving for 2 hours consecutively, I was pleasantly surprised when the coffee break timer popped up, alerting me to take a much-needed break.– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
The Shine model I drove is equipped with Citroën Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation technology, which reads speed limit signs and communicates them via the driver’s display. Another safety necessity for South African drivers, is cruise control which monitors speed limits and recommends adjustment to speed accordingly. After driving for 2 hours consecutively, I was pleasantly surprised when the coffee break timer popped up, alerting me to take a much-needed break.
Interior-wise the Citroën C3 offers a well-specced and ergonomic space for the driver and a roomy cabin for other occupants. The rear-seat area allows for taller passengers to enjoy a comfortable long-distance drive in terms of both leg and headroom.
For a compact hatch, the C3 has rather large windows which surprisingly don’t look at odds with the overall design of the car. These come in handy when it comes to all-round visibility, a much-needed element when parking in tight spots or when driving on high traffic roads.
Speaking of parking mishaps the Citroën C3 features AirBump technology which helps prevent pesky scratches, dents, and dings in parking lots from opening doors too wide or shopping trolleys in much need of wheel alignment.
Granted, word on the street isn’t overly encouraging especially when talking about resale value and depreciation– VUYI MPOFU, MD: DRIVING IN HEELS SA
Available in Six distinct and exciting exterior colors the Citroën C3 stands out in a crowd and can be jazzed up further by choosing from Onyx Black or Opal White contrasting roof colors.
For a B-segment compact hatchback, the 3rd generation Citroën C3 is worthy of attention for anyone on the market for anything other than a VW Polo.
Granted, word on the street isn’t overly encouraging especially when talking about resale value and depreciation but it may surprise you to learn that almost all hatchbacks are taking a beating on this front; given the infiltration of small SUVs with price tags marginally higher than that of the hatchbacks.
MODEL RANGE & PRICING
- Citroën C3: 1.2 Pure Tech Feel 60kW 5-speed Manual Transmission – R 269 900.00
- Citroën C3: 1.2 Pure Tech Shine 81kW 6-speed Automatic Transmission – R 324 900.00
All models come with a Citroën Serenity three-year/three-service service plan that can be upgraded to a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan.
Offered across the entire Citroën passenger car range and covers:
- Warranty: 5 – Year / 100 000 km Warranty
- Manufacturer’s Service Plan*: 3 Years / 60 000km Service
- Peace of Mind: Courtesy Car, Citroën Parts Basket, Complimentary Vehicle health check.
- Microdot – Quick and easy Identification in the event of theft
- Customer Experience: A personalized service you can enjoy
- Safety: 6 airbags across the range, Microdot, dedicated Apps connected to the car, and Safety Film and Tracking solutions, (optional)
- 360º Service: Licence Renewal reminder; Roadside Assistance