THE latest Citroen C3 is a cost-effective solution for those who value style and place a strong emphasis on personal expression. I sampled one recently.
The requirement for mobility among the general public has made entry-level car options very popular right now.
Perhaps you just landed your first job out of college or you require a runabout for day-to-day living. The competition in the entry-level vehicle market is fierce, so you need to be at the top of your game to stand a chance.
Enter the brand-new Citroen C3.
While there is a second C3 available, it is more of a premium model that competes with cars like the Volkswagen Polo. This C3, on the other hand, is designed specifically for the entry-level automobile market.
The Citroen brand immediately conjures up images of chic and contemporary design, much as how French producers prefer to forge their own paths rather than adopting the most recent fashions in terms of style.
There are some attractive designs available in the entry-level auto market, and the Citroen C3 is one of them since it fairly embodies the current Citroen design language.
The C3 is a B-Segment hatchback, but with to its dramatic lower proportions, plastic cladding, and 180mm of ground clearance, it looks like an SUV.
The C3 is strong enough to handle the wide-open roads and does not appear to be a tiny car to the eye. The car's back features polygonal taillights and a sizable piece of black plastic trim, which soften the otherwise powerful appearance.
The C3 comes in two-tone paint, with the second colour extending to the roof. The 15-inch steel wheels with quad-fork-style hubcaps covering the steelies complete the look.
One of the highlights of the C3 is its interior, which is comparatively roomy. The C3's dashboard combines abstract shapes and symmetry, and there are plenty of cupholders and storage compartments in the middle stack.
However, everything is where it needs to be. All of the seats have enough of head and legroom, so your passengers will not feel crammed in.
There is lots of room, even in the boot, which has 315 litres of space.
Want to go on like that? The back seats do fold down. There are two colours available for the dash and seat trims if you wish to further customise the interior appearance. Customise the C3 whatever you like.
Despite the C3's lofty driving position, which is to be expected from a B-Segment hatchback with SUV-like proportions, the seats are adequate in terms of support and comfort.
They may use a little more bolstering and a headrest that could be adjusted, but generally they are good. The 10-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is fairly attractive, has good resolution, and is wide enough to fit other features like volume control.
This may be improved with a physical volume dial, distinct mute and on/off buttons, as opposed to the infotainment system only using touch controls.
Even more features include power windows everywhere, drive-away central locking, and keyless entry. The driver's side door or maybe the center console would have been a wonderful location for the electric windows to be centered. Instead, the rear window switches are at the end of the front seat divider, while the front window switches are on the driver's side door.
It would feel more comfortable in the hands to have an instrument cluster that sticks out more and a gear knob that is more ergonomic.
The rest of the C3's interior is generally cozy enough.
The C3 is powered by a 1.2-litre PURETECH 3-cylinder petrol engine. A 5-speed manual transmission connects this engine's 61 kW and 115 Nm output to the front wheels.
The PURETECH engine used in this application is more of a lazy engine than a non-revving engine. With a little bit larger gearing, this drivetrain drives well. The C3 may use more torque or something like a VVT system to give it more oomph. When the car is full of passengers, it will help.
Unfortunately, the steering is one area where the C3 has some issues.
The C3 requires more steering wheel rotations than necessary to maneuver on the road and in parking situations since the steering sensation is hazy, the steering rack is slow by itself, and these factors combine with the small steering wheel.
This could be fixed with a faster steering rack and a little larger steering wheel. However, in this vehicle range, the C3's ride quality is virtually unmatched. The C3 asks for more while being incredibly comfy and absorbing bumps.
Fuel economy, safety and competition
Citroen C3's claimed fuel efficiency is 5.6 l/100 km, although I averaged around 6.0 l/100 km, which isn't too awful.
Dual front airbags, ABS and EBD, Park Distance Control, an anti-theft alarm, and seatbelt reminders for the driver and passenger are all safety features. Suzuki Ignis, Nissan Magnite, and Renault Kiger are some rivals.
The Citroen C3 definitely meets the need for an entry-level vehicle in terms of style and comfort.
Although it struggles a little with steering and engine performance, it's still a good car to think about as a first buy. The ride comfort is unbeatable, and the infotainment is decent as well.