The new Citroen C3 has evolved from its original, quirky hatchback design

Citroen has transformed the 2023 C3 into a cost-effective crossover from its original, quirky compact hatchback design, strategically tapping into the rapidly expanding B-segment in South Africa, which constitutes a substantial 40% of monthly car sales.

The Citroen C3 surprisingly comes at a lower price than its hatchback predecessor, but that doesn't indicate any compromise on quality. In fact, the C3's recent accolade as the World Urban Car of the Year suggests the brand is moving in the right direction.

The Double Chevron made notable changes to the front grille, giving it a smooth and aerodynamic look. On either side of the grille, they installed redesigned headlights that capture the eye with their sharp LED daytime running lights, while the lower corners are now adorned with striking fog lamps.

The vehicle boasts 15-inch steel wheels sporting dark grey tri-fork hub caps, while the rear maintains a minimalist design highlighted by rectangular taillights. What truly stands out are the numerous colour combinations and choices offered, allowing for a touch of individuality. For a head-turning front end, opting for a two-tone paint job would be our top recommendation. Moreover, accessory packs are also available to customise your C3.

Citroen's reputation spans the globe due to its distinctive and fashionable interiors, and even with budget constraints in a crossover, the brand managed to bestow the new C3 with unique design touches, such as the charming rectangular air vents and the tasteful "anodised" dashboard trim.

The infotainment system, boasting a 10-inch touchscreen, comes as a regular feature for this segment in terms of size. Although its matte finish gives the impression of an aftermarket phone screen cover, it offers wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a rarity in this price range. Besides, it provides convenient charging options with 1 USB-A port at the front and 2 USB-A ports at the rear.

The cargo area appears to offer ample space, and the rear seatback can be easily folded as one unit. The backspace for passengers seems adequate, though it could be a bit snug if the front seats are fully extended.

The Citroën C3 currently comes with a 1.2 litre 3-cylinder petrol engine, pumping out 61 kW of power and 115 Nm of torque. It is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, being the sole powertrain choice. The acceleration is steady, and the gear ratios lean towards higher speeds, yet some may find the C3 slightly lacking in power. Navigating through city streets proves adequate, and highway cruising is smooth, but you may desire a turbocharger. Nevertheless, this combination boasts an economical fuel efficiency rating of 5.6l/100km.

Over time, entry-level and budget cars have seen a welcome rise in the inclusion of standard safety features. However, the absence of electronic stability control in the new Citroen C3, despite its ABS with EBD and dual front airbags, is regrettable and must be addressed. Interestingly, among the competitive models (Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite, and Suzuki Ignis), only the Suzuki cars provide stability control across their lineup.

Citroën South Africa offers an enticing deal starting at R229,900, including a 5-year/100,000 km warranty and a 2-year/30,000 km service plan. (Prices correct at time of publication.) The company also presents two budget-friendly packages for easy crossover upgrades, ensuring the new Indian-manufactured C3 garners attention as a well-priced, stylish, and technologically advanced vehicle, potentially re-establishing Citroen's prominence in the local market.

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