It’s always exciting when something a bit different enters the market. They did it a couple of years ago with the Cactus and now Citroen have brought something just as fresh to the supermini segment with their new C3.
Fully customisable from its bi-tone roof to the multi-coloured air bumps along the side – it’s clear from the very first glance that Citroen are on to a very good thing here.
Is it lame to call a car ‘on trend’? Is ‘on trend’ still on trend? Is fleek still a thing? We digress.
Basically, the new C3 is so achingly hip that it makes us want to use teenage snapchat lingo while we splash numerous filtered pictures of it all over our Instagram and Pinterests. #ForReal
Citroen know this, and exactly the kind of market they’re targeting here. In fact they’ve even added a 12 megapixel camera behind the rear-view mirror which will allow you to take and share pictures and videos instantly from the car of anything weird or wonderful you come across on your travels. Only when the car is stopped of course.
Aside from Facebooking your road trips, the ConnectedCAM has another slightly more useful function as a built-in dash cam, so it will automatically record footage of any incident the car is involved in.
It can also salvage the thirty seconds before the incident is detected – making it a world first to have this technology, and a potential lifesaver in any messy insurance disputes. Not so silly after all.
It drives too
Pretty well actually. We had the pleasure of driving the pick of the range which is the award-winning 1.2l turbocharged Puretech 110 petrol. Unfortunately it won’t be available in Ireland right away (estimated delivery date is February) but in our opinion may just be worth waiting for because it suits the character of the car so well. It’s perky, willing, and effortlessly smooth with enough pep to keep you looking as cheerful as the car itself.
The seats are wide and cosseting and the ride itself is comfortable without being boring. The suspension is soft enough to take the jar out of bumpy B-roads, but not the fun out of their twists and turns. It’s got a lovely hunkered down feeling thanks to a low centre of gravity, that’s not quite MINI, but not a bad imitation.
The other options will be two versions of the 1.0l Puretech petrol, a well-tested, fizzy little three-cylinder available in two different power outputs (68 or 82 PS) ideal for the city driver, and two 1.6 Blue HDi diesels (75 or 100 PS)
And while the majority of C3 sales have traditionally been diesel, Citroen predict that the C3 is going to attract a new type of urban buyer, who will be more likely to choose petrol.
Space, Spec & Tech
It’s roomy, in the supermini sense of the word. That means a decent amount of head and shoulder room (the front seats are exceptionally broad), and enough room for two adults or three kids in the back. Rear legroom gets pretty tight with a taller driver/front seat passenger.
The boot is at the larger end of the spectrum at 300 litres, although the finish inside isn’t particularly great, there’s a large load lip, and the seats don’t fold completely flat. Not the job for Ikea, but to throw the shopping into? Grand. Full size spare wheel too.
The entry level model is the Touch. It comes equipped with USB and Bluetooth connectivity for smartphones, cruise control, lane departure warning and a thoughtful little ‘coffee break alert’.
Feel adds upgraded styling like 16-inch alloy wheels and LED daytime running lights; more intelligent and useful technology including Mirror Screen with Apple Car Play and a 7-inch touch screen; and the added comfort of automatic air conditioning.
The top of the range Flair gets the ConnectedCAM and air bumps as standard (optional on the others), 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, and a reversing camera.
The interior is what the French would call ‘magnifique’. Simple, understated and effortlessly cool – the horizontal dashboard layout takes inspiration from the Cactus but does it even better. The floating touchscreen and doorstrap handles add a bit of character without feeling contrived. Some unique fabric options for the upholstery allow you to make the C3 your own on the inside too.
Touch starts at €15,490, Feel at €16,990, and Flair from €18,990. For the launch, Irish customers can avail of a free styling pack that will add the stylish Airbump and bi-tone roof features to the Feel trim.
The supermini market can sometimes be a bit of a yawnfest – all function and no fun but the C3 brings an exceptional amount of colour and fun to the segment at a fraction of the price of some of its premium rivals which, from our first impressions anyway, it’s already outshining.
The C3 is in showrooms now, you can find your local Citroen dealer and have a look for yourself here: http://www.carsireland.ie/car-dealers/franchise/citroen
We’re told orders for next year are strong already and if your taste is on the quirky side, you may want to get your order in sooner rather than later as more unusual combos can take a while to order in.