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Form and function, we test out the Citroën C3 Shine.

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By: Charles Molefe

My recent run-ins with products from the Stellantis group has yielded many a pleasurable experience, my latest encounter took place in the form of the facelift Citroën C3 which manages to slot into the B-segment, it competes with popular models such as the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Nissan Micra. Its path to being popular amongst the segment may prove to be difficult, however, I believe my experience will illustrate how well Citroën has implemented what I consider to be a near-perfect city car.

Aesthetics.

Firstly, the C3 possess a striking presence, it conjures a plethora of gawks from many onlookers as it does its thing, this contributes to the little Citroën’s efforts of ending up being a firm favourite in its class. The well rounded slick modern look of the C3 is what enables it to obtain such stature in its segment, it’s bold, proud, and present. It shouts I am here. and frankly, that is not a bad statement at all.

The interior is where it manages to etch out an advantage over its rivals, the touch, feel and overall aura of the C3 is what impressed my fellow passengers and I. However, the one drawback is the interior space, compared to its rivals the French legion feels a little on the tight side, additionally, rear passenger space does feel cramped for the taller folk.

Infotainment and Entertainment.

Citroën has employed a 7-inch touch screen that hosts key options ranging from climate control, entertainment and pertinent vehicle options. Android Auto comes standard on the Shine model and it was my weapon of choice to stream my tunes, the audio system is not the loudest, however, clarity is where it claims its position as a firm favourite of ours. The one challenge I faced is the time it took to get Android Auto up and running, it often seemed as though the system should have been a bit faster in booting up but once everything is up and running it responds adequately.

Drive, performance and economy.

The C3 has kept the efficient 1.2-litre that produces 81kW and 205Nm, at times the performance is eye-raising as it slashes through the 6-speed automatic gearbox, personally, the transmission is the vehicles strong point, the gear changes are seamless and offer a sense of perceived luxury, additionally, the six ratios are geared towards achieving low fuel consumption. During my test tenure I achieved a combined fuel figure of 6.5l/100km, my trips included a fair bit of highway driving and a tad of city driving that included several stop/start situations. On the point of the stop/start system, I did find that it is a little intrusive and can spoil what can be considered a perfect city car, I was glad that the option to turn it off is available, I believe that Citroën may need to recalibrate this feature for improved efficiency.

Safety and security

Citroën has managed to squeeze in several technologies that ensure that any emergency situations are dealt with in the most efficient manner, technologies such as  ABS, EBA, EBD, TCS and ESP. The French manufacturer has sparred no change in ensuring that you are at the forefront of technology, to add to the list, speed limit recognition and recommendation prompts are superimposed on the driver’s display, this information is extremely helpful as very often you’ll think that you are in the confines of the law only to end up seeing your C3 through the lens of our dear metro police officers equipment.

Summary

My experience with the bold French city car has been pleasurable, the C3 is a formidable challenger to the crown as it offers a plush, comfortable and enjoyable experience. I was often introduced to a number of uninformed prospective buyers who were looking at obtaining something different to the norm, most conversations ended up with the reliability cloud lurking over their heads. And this is one factor that will affect sales of the C3, however, this doubt is misplaced. I can confidently guarantee you that the Stellantis group has increased their footprint in South Africa and is continuing on creating a sense of security in the event that you may experience a hitch during your ownership tenure. If European accolades are anything to go by, you’ll be pleased to note that Citroën has received a number of awards that signify its return to the former glory days. What people often forget is that Citroën was the first manufacturer to introduce the first all-steel body in Europe, hydropneumatic suspension that is now used by a number of the top marquess in the industry. So don’t be alarmed when you spot a vehicle that has bumps on the doors, they are there for form and function.

Gottagged Rating

7.6/10

MODEL RANGE & PRICING

C3 1.2 Pure Tech Feel 60kW 5MT MY21 R 269 900.00

C3 1.2 Pure Tech Shine 81kW S&S EAT6 MY21 R 324 900.00

CITROËN SERENITY

Offered across the entire Citroën passenger car range and covers:

1. Warranty

5 – Year / 100 000 km Warranty

2. Manufacturer’s Service Plan*

3 Years / 60 000km Service

3. Peace of Mind:

Courtesy Car, Citroën Parts Basket, Complimentary Vehicle health check.

Microdot – Quick and easy Identification in the event of theft

4. Safety:

6 airbags across the range, Microdot, dedicated Apps connected to the car, and Safety Film and Tracking solutions, (optional)

6. 360º Service

Licence Renewal reminder; Roadside Assistance

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