Latest C3 brings best of Citroën at bargain price tag

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Our affiliation with Citroën goes back a bit. There was a time when we made the Total Economy Run our own, shortly after the brand returned to SA. Our Citroëns won that prestigious event several years on the run and took every trophy we signed up for one year.

After that, we drove to Durban and back to Jozi on a 41 litre tank of diesel in a C1. Yes. You read that right. The Picasso chase car had enough left to go back from Jozi to Durbs again! Just to prove our Citroëns were the most economical cars on the road in case anyone doubted our Economy Run prowess.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s far, far more to this chic, slick and smart brand than just its cars being the most economical of all. But I digress. Spending a week with this new nip and tuck C3 just brought back so many memories that will bring a smile to my, and many a Citroën friend’s faces, who may read this one.

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Latest C3 bottoms interesting range

Citroën has an interesting line-up in South Africa right now. Topped by the C5 Aircross, there’s the C3 Aircross below that, and then the C3. But hang on a minute.. there are two different C3s on the market. The older model in the choice of 60 kW and 81 kW turbo models, and this new and improved for 2023 61 kW version.

This new one is the most interesting one as it explores new South African waters for Citroën It brings affordability without sacrificing on style, or unique features in a bargain basement no frills option. But it’s still sexy and sassy enough to be cool at the same time.

Citroëns have of course always been a bit of an acquired taste. On that point, this bargain basement car has some old school highlights. Like plastic hubcaps on steel wheels. They look the part but then it’s always ugly when you inevitably lose one or two along the way.


The latest take on Citroën’s Y form style

Oozing the ooh-la-la to set it apart, this latest C3 refines the brand’s latest family Y form look with a few new nicks and crevices. To further emphasise that robust attitude behind those terraced headlamps and a high bonnet. Step inside to a really cool space. It benefits stunning attention to cabin in a splendid yet quirky blend of class and style.

C3 is abundantly spacious and surprisingly comfy with signature Citroën Advanced Comfort seats, excellent head, elbow and knee room, and plentiful smart storage. Geometric features and some really fine finishes, contrasts and highlights are made to pop by orange and chrome elements.

Easy-to-use 10-inch CarPlay, Auto, Bluetooth and quick-charging USB touchscreen infotainment is simple enough. It even almost leaves enough knobs to do the major settings on the run. The climate is manual and vital audio is adjustable via the flat-bottomed half-multifunction wheel. And what’s on the screen is logical enough too.


C3 is seamless and smartphone friendly

Seamless and smartphone friendly, it’s all backed by a new colour configurable 6-mode 7-inch vehicle info cluster and trip computer. They keep you up to speed with all that vital info, if and when you need it. The dash even has tricks to conceal all those pesky charger cables and keep your C3 even neater and tidier inside.

Powered by Citroën’s naturally aspirated 61 kW 115 Nm Puretech 1.2-litre. Flexible and pleasing to drive, we’d however struggle to say its quick. It isn’t. In fact it’s the slowest car we’ve tested this year. But it’s still got ample grunt to get happily on with it. Its frugal though – that claimed 5.6 litres per 100 km is pretty easy to achieve too.


C3 a lot more than just ooh la-la

So there you have it — this latest C3 certainly brings a lot more ooh la-la Citroën spark and so many other positives, too, for not a lot of money at all.

So, if you’re shopping for furiously competitive two-hundred and fifty grand entry hatchback, take a peek at this latest Citroën C3. You may just thank us for suggesting it! — Michele Lupini

Testing & Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Citroën C3 1.2 Feel
Engine: 61 kW 115 Nm 1.2-litre petrol I3
Drive: 5-speed manual FWD
0-60 km/h:        5.74 sec
0-100 km/h:       13.14 sec
0-120 km/h:       19.26 sec
400m:             18.9 sec @ 119 km/h
80-120 km/h:      10.45 sec
VMax:             169 km/h
Fuel:             5.6 l/100 km
CO2:              128 g/km
Range:            800 km
Warranty/Service: 5y 100K/3y 60K km
LIST PRICE:       R229K
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