FIRST DRIVE: Refreshed Citroën C3 has more personality

Now in its third generation, the latest Citroën C3 promises to deviate buyers away from the norm.

Truth be told, the Citroën C3 has had a tough upbringing over the past years, going up against well-established superminis that excel in this stable. 

Now in its third generation, the latest Citroën C3 promises to deviate buyers away from the norm with its refreshed design as well as updated tech. 

Since the third generation of the Citroën C3 launched in 2016, over 1 million units have found homes across the globe, simply because the model is among the top three best-selling models in its segment for major European markets.

We recently spent time at the helm of the updated Citroën C3 that is available in two trim levels as well as two engine options: Feel and Shine. 

The Feel is powered by a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder engine with 60 kW and 118 Nm, plus a 5-speed manual transmission. Citroën claims this model will return 5.7l/100km on a combined cycle.

The range-opening Feel model rides on 15-inch steel wheels shod with 195/65/R15 tyres, while the Shine model adds 16-inch Hellix alloy wheels shod with 205/50/R16 rubbers. 

The Shine model, which is the only variant we sampled at the launch, is powered by a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine with 81 kW and 205 Nm. It features a 6-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. This variant is slightly thirsty at 6.0l/100km. 

On the outside, the Shine model has an updated look yet it takes a few glances to notice the changes. It is youthful and certainly looks beautiful. It comes fitted with a tweaked front-end that has new LED headlights, while the chrome detailing now extends to the LED Daytime Running Lights.

Another feature we like is the new scratch-proof air bumps with silver effect inserts as well as colourful fog light bezels. 

There are two new body colour options, as well as 2-tone combinations that add a youthful thrill to the C3.  

The interior of the updated Citroën C3 remains impressive and everything is easy to use. There is a fair amount of plastic feel on the dash yet perfectly put in place and does not rattle over road imperfections. The driving position is spot on with all-around visibility thanks to the height and reach adjustable multi-functioning steering wheel.

There is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that allows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The system also has a single USB port, Bluetooth, Aux Jack, plus a 12V Socket as well as 6 Speakers as standard. 

The boot space for both models is measured at 300-litres with the rear seats up. Folding down the rear seats will further expand that. 

Our launch drive took us to the Hartbeespoort area and we got to feel how the refreshed Citroën C3 in Shine guise performs. It shows the need to get up and go with an adequate amount of shove in all six gears. 

It’s not built for performance but for comfort thanks to what Citroën calls the Advanced Comfort system that makes the car comfortable as well as easy to live with on a day to day basis. The system makes the C3 adapt well over bumps and rough road conditions. 

On the open road, the C3 cruises with so much aplomb and it is hard to fault. 

Safety is top-notch. It comes fitted with active and passive safety features such as a Driver Attention Warning, Coffee Break Alert, ABS, EBA, EBD, TCS and ESP. 

Other features include Speed Limit Recognition and Recommendation, and Auto Dim Rearview mirrors plus Cruise Control. 

The Citroën C3 really promises to challenge the B-hatch segment, more especially the Shine model with its turbocharged petrol powerplant. It has more personality and it is worth looking at. 

  • C3 1.2 Pure Tech Feel R269 900
  • C3 1.2 Pure Tech Shine R324 900

The refreshed Citroën C3 range comes with a 5-year/100 000 km warranty and a 3-year/60 000 km Service Plan.  

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