spot_img
HomeDRIVENCitroën C3 Shine

Citroën C3 Shine

AS GOOD AS IT GETS |

The revamped Citroën C3 is really cute. As a city car, it is just the right size and has a great mix of technology, and as a long-distance cruiser, its overall comfort levels will put much larger cars to shame. It is by no means a sporty drive, but we’ll forgive this elegant little car many things for a chance to spend another few days behind the wheel.

Since the launch of the third-generation model globally in 2016, the C3 has become a true success story for Citroën, racking up 780,000 sales across the globe to make it the brand’s best-selling model. Its recent mid-life update has focused on refinement rather than revolution, with subtle style changes, an updated interior, and rationalising the available powertrain options to petrol only.

WHILE AWAY THE HOURS

Citroën in South Africa (which, since earlier this year, forms part of the Stellantis group of brands) introduced only two versions of the C3 hatch – the entry-level 1.2 Feel and 1.2T Shine. Our week-long tester was the latter. 

I love the look of the C3, and appreciate the comfort and style of its interior, but it is on the road where the car excels. Firstly, the ride quality is truly exceptional in this segment – unsurprising since this is probably Citroën’s most enduring selling point. Compared to others in this segment, most are set up for more dynamic handling; the C3’s ride is smooth, even soft, without compromising handling.

Powertrain options include two PureTech petrol engines. The Shine, kitted out with an in-line three-cylinder 1,199 cc turbo petrol, manages 81 kW and a competitor-walloping 205 Nm of torque that comes online at a low 1,500 r/min. At 194 km/h and 9.4 seconds, the top speed and acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h easily also beats the C3 Shine’s chosen competitors (Hyundai i20 1.0T Fluid, Volkswagen Polo hatch 1.0TSI Comfortline, and the Nissan Micra 66kW turbo Acenta), although fuel consumption is only better than the Hyundai i10.

In terms of gearboxes, the lesser-powered Feel model has a five-speed manual box mated to its normally-aspirated engine. In the Shine, a six-speed auto does an admirable job of maintaining decent comfort levels and managing spirited driving, when necessary.

Offering high levels of safety is another key consideration for Citroën, and the C3 Shine offers six airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control and stability control as standard.

SHE’S GOT THE LOOK

As mid-life refreshes go, the C3 shows off just enough newness to keep things interesting. The front-end has been reprofiled with new LED headlights and a revised look that give it a better family resemblance to other cars in the Citroën range, particularly the C4. 

As any fashion-conscious young lady will attest, no new outfit is ever complete without a nice pair of (w)heels, and in this respect, Citroën hasn’t disappointed with stylish 16” alloys, shod with 205/55 rubber that helps to keep the driving feel in check.

A revised Airbump design adds to the Shine’s natural flair, and while this feature may not be to everyone’s taste, it adds to the C3’s unique identity and helps protect against potential dings and scratches in the car park.

MORE ON THE INSIDE

By now, you’ll score no points for guessing that the C3 is all about comfort. Take the lovely armchair-like front seats, for example, standard on the Shine model. As part of Citroen’s ‘Advanced Comfort’ programme, the cabin has been designed to insulate passengers, with dashboard finishes and seat detailing matching the car’s exterior colour choice.

Standard equipment across models is generous enough, and in the Shine, it includes a 7” touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic air conditioning and cruise control.

LAST WORD

As a small hatchback, the C3 makes a very strong case for itself in this market – now backed by a powerful mothership in the form of Stellantis. As an everyday car, I expect that most buyers will appreciate its comfort more than the performance and handling of some competitors. Still, and perhaps more importantly, it offers something entirely different to the rest of the field. 

Ordinary is boring, and the C3 is anything but that. It is both likeable and competent, erudite and user-friendly, and will likely win over anyone who gets behind the wheel.

Report by BERNIE HELLBERG JR |Images © CIT

RELATED ARTICLES

EYE OF THE PUMA

SHOTS FIRED!

REDUCTIVE SEDUCTIVE

Most Popular

JAC T9

EYE OF THE PUMA

FOR A FEW CYLINDERS LESS