Style and kit in spades, and totally funky.
“Audacious by design and extensively customisable” are the keywords, as Citroen pulls the wraps off its funky new C3 hatch, which has arrived in time for the 2018 model year. This C3 marks the continuation of a nameplate that has found no less than 3.5-million homes since its first iteration some 15-years ago, with the latest model set to continue its longevity and inject some style and colour into what used to be a cut-and-dry segment of the market.
The 2018 C3 might be front-wheel drive and pretty practical, but its looks wouldn’t suggest it, and we kinda like that. This is a toughened-up hatch as opposed to a SUV-pretender, and that positioning means that there’s plenty to be gained all round. The C3 rides high and is packaged in a properly-funky body, proudly wearing the brands’ corporate face and funky four-eyed headlight arrangement. Moving down the sides will reveal the inclusion of cool ‘Airbumps’ on the doors, plastic panels filled with air that are designed to protect your Citroen from parking dings that have a tendency of appearing a couple of days after taking delivery.
From this angle you’ll also notice the two-tone paint scheme, where the roof and door mirrors are painted in a colour differing from the main paint finish on the body, as well as the standard diamond-finish 17-inch alloys. And at the rear, you’ll see that the body-cladding continues, mimicking the lines seen at the front, with the C3’s hatch flanked by cute 3D-effect LED taillights.
Motivation for the C3 comes from a 1.2-litre ‘PureTech 110’ tri-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, producing a healthy 81kW and a giggle-inducing 205Nm. Drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels despite what the exterior may suggest, with a six-speed automatic gearbox sandwiched between them. This is enough to propel the C3 toward the horizon (and hitting 100km/h on the way in a relatively-leisurely 10.9-seconds), all the while consuming just 4.9L/100km of unleaded (or so the company claims).
The cabin of the C3 is a masterclass in the balance of aesthetics and practicality, with a cool soft-rectangular theme featured throughout. There are rectangular air vents, sat in a rectangular dashboard, with more rectangles on the steering wheel, which suggests to us that that too would have been rectangular if was possible. While style is heavy here, so is kit, with the C3 coming well-equipped as standard with just two major options on offer (we’ll get to that later). There’s high-quality fabric trim for the seats and the doors, along with leatherette grab handles at the front and metal-esque door handles all round.
Inside is where you’ll find things like the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that reduces the overall button count dramatically, as this touchscreen handles everything from the climate control to the radio, which also offers smartphone mirroring for iOS and Android devices. There’s also things like lane departure warning, active seatbelts, speed-limit recognition and ‘Coffee Break Alert,’ which is just a driver-attention monitoring system with a cooler name. While this is all great, autonomous emergency braking is missing here, which is the main reason why the C3 only gets a 4-star EuroNCAP rating.
Nine paint finishes are offered for the C3, with Polar White coming as standard, while New Black, Ruby Red, Almond Green, Soft Sand, Orange Power, Platinum Grey, Aluminium Grey, and Cobalt Blue attracting either premium-solid or premium-metallic, uh, premium, costing an additional $290 and $590 respectively. The roof can be specified in a matching hue, or it can be specified in either Opal White, Onyx Black or Sport Red at no extra cost, allowing every C3 customer the ability to stand out even in a carpark full of them.
If you have extra dosh burning a hole in your pocket, you can opt to have Citroen’s ‘ConnectedCam’ added to your C3 for $600, giving you the ability to take photos and videos of the scenery via the windscreen-mounted camera and having it shared to your smartphone, while also acting as a dash cam the rest of the time. If that’s not quite your bag, you can opt for a panoramic glass roof for the same price, allowing light to flood the cabin.
The 2018 Citroen C3 is now available at your local showroom, with a launch price of $22,990 (before ORCs) for the time being.