FIRST DRIVE | 2021 Citroën C3 Shine dazzles with boosted engine
As far as Citroën is concerned, buyers in the B-segment need to be more colourful. With this in mind the facelifted C3 hatchback now on sale in SA comes in six exterior colours, the most distinct being a cherry red and a bright turquoise, and you can also choose contrasting black or white roof colours.
The new C3 also boasts re-energised styling that its maker hopes will help put it into contention in the hard-fought family hatchback segment where rivals such as the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Opel Corsa, among others, are staking their claim.
But anyone remotely interested will be lured by the C3’s looks. It is quite likely the most interesting looking of the latest debutants with its redesigned grille and famous chrome chevrons now extending outwards into a rearranged and hectic stack of headlights. It has more of an SUV look than a traditional hatchback.
Opt for the headlining C3 1.2 Pure Tech Shine model and it flaunts the eccentric French design language through new scratch-proof Airbumps found on its doors and fog lamp housings with white surrounds.
It’s fairly spacious too with a 2,540mm wheelbase fit for four passengers and 300l of boot space. The interior invokes the larger C3 Aircross and C5 Aircross models with décor and organisation, while upgrades include a flat-bottom steering wheel for easier access, improved noise-cancellation, a driver attention warning system that monitors erratic steering inputs, and coffee break alert that gives two-hour alerts.
Luxury and convenience features include rain-sensor wipers, rear parking sensors, a 17.7cm touchscreen display enabled for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
There are no mechanical changes. The two grades, Feel and Shine, essentially describe what powers them. The former is powered by a naturally aspirated 1.2l, three-cylinder engine with 60kW and 118Nm and hooked up to a five-speed manual transmission. The latter is the model I drove and which has the same engine but paired with a turbocharger for stronger outputs of 81kW and 205Nm, and it is exclusively equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The safety catalogue is pretty impressive and includes cruise control, ABS, stability control, and a speed limit recognition system that displays recommended public road speeds in the instrument binnacle.
On the basis of the impressive showing of a comfortable drive feel, agreeable cabin space and furnishings, approachable pricing and eye-catching styling, the new Citroën C3 deserves a look. Both models come with a five-year/100,000 km warranty and a three year/60,000km service plan.
• C3 1.2 Pure Tech Feel manual — R269,900
• C3 1.2 Pure Tech Shine automatic — R324,900