DRIVEN | Citroën C3 goes for an 'autocure' to enhance its already surprising package

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Pricing for the Citroen C3 range starts from R269 900.

Power comes from a naturally aspirated or turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine.

Some of its rivals include the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Baleno.

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The ladies in my life, on occasion, have a pedicure or manicure, or both. And so our oh! so stylish and chic French Femme from Citroën goes for an 'autocure' from time to time. Some may call it a facelift, but I think 'autocure' sums it up better. All Citroën have done is to brighten up the look and polish her here and there and voila ­- a 'new' C3 supermini or compact premium hatchback. A mild post-pandemic lockdown makeover.

The headlights have been brought up to date, LED running lights added, bumpers have been tweaked, and one or two other minor fiddles that make it look a little less cute than before. That's pretty much it on the outside.

The interior is smart (and different to the usual offerings from most brands) with welcoming and bright textiles, tasteful textures and the linings of bins and storage receptacles are lined in a light colour so that you can see what you are looking for.

2021 Citroen C3 side
2021 Citroen C3

French flair

The Airbump panels (air-filled bumps with a scratch-proof surface, as seen on C4 Cactus) are a Citroën signature feature, offering personality and style, as well as protecting the vehicle, which I like. No more shopping trolley scratches, well, anyway, fewer dings and gouges. Each panel positions a line of air-filled bumps at the bottom of the doors to protect the car's most vulnerable areas in the urban environment. The Airbump panels also have a white or red graphic motif, depending on the version.

DRIVEN: Could French flair and a frugal package make Citroen's refreshed C3 a good buy?

The Citroën C3 has a boot volume of nearly 300 litres.

You have a choice of six body colour options, two-tone combos with white or black roof, varying colour inserts and graphic options. I drove the Shine model and loved it.

2021 Citroen C3
2021 Citroen C3

The C3 Shine feels gutsy, surefooted, agile and zooty to drive. The little three-pot roars when encouraged and stops on a tickey when asked. Acceleration and fuel consumption are on the better side for this segment. Combined fuel consumption is claimed at 5.7-litres/100km for the manual and 6.0-litres/100km for the auto, on the combined cycle. I got a somewhat heavier 7.8-litres/100km in town driving.

The cabin is very pleasant, with comfortable seats, a good aircon and sound system, and ergonomically placed controls. I know it is very subjective, but I like the layout of the dash and instrumentation.

The Feel specification costs R269 900 and runs the 60kW version of the 1.2-litre three-cylinder motor, with a five-speed manual transmission and is shod with 16-inch alloy wheels.

The Shine model costs R324 900 but has the 81kW turbo motor and a six-speed auto box with 17-inch alloy wheels. My recommendation is to pay up and get the Shine. It is so worth it.

Most of the competition in this price and size bracket does not have the same panache or performance. The big sellers are the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Starlet, with Suzuki Baleno, Honda Fit, the Koreans and Mazda2 making up the rest of the field.

All models come with a Citroën Serenity three-year/three-service service plan (that can be upgraded to a five-year or 100 000km maintenance plan) and a five year or 100 000km warranty.

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