The French maker’s legendary comfort returns while its forward looking technology is projected with the availability of ConnectedCam.
This is a real-time forward-facing camera which continually records what it sees through a very wide angle lens, ideal for use with incident claims, but which can also be operated in front of the main rear view mirror by the passenger to “snap” memorable images.
What ConnectedCam captures can be downloaded through a dedicated app to the user’s smart-phone and onto social media. Standard on upper trim levels and available on the mid range versions as part of a visibility pack, it is the first known fitment of the technology which many drivers have added as accessories.
Citroen C3 was launched in 2002, updated in 2010 and this is the third generation. From launch, 3.6M have been sold globally and 200,000 in Britain, making it their most popular model. Deliveries of the new C3 begin in the New Year.
The latest design keeps the distinctive lights front and back lights, adds optional ‘air-bumps’ and has a 40mm lower roofline and greater rear seat legroom.
There are 68, 82 and 110bhp petrol engines or 75 and 100bhp diesel engines with the top petrol model gaining the option of a six-speed fully automatic transmission next spring to support the five-speed manual gearboxes fitted as standard.
Prices go from the Touch at just under £11,000 through the Feel beginning at a little over £13,045 and the top of range Flair versions begin at £14,795 and top out at £17,095.
Citroen UK’s small cars’ product manager Jason Maynard said the increasing technical sophistication of the third generation C3 was intended to widen this family car’s appeal to younger buyers.
He said, “The average age of a C3 buyer has been about 55 years but with this one we believe this will come down, possibly into the mid to late forties.
“That’s not to say it will not appeal to still younger buyers with a family because we see this car as a proposition for everyone to consider.”
He added that the personalization programme through the packs and options will allow buyers to create a car that better suits their desires and needs than rivals can provide.
Reflecting on the current buying trends, Mr Maynard said Citroen UK believe the new C3 will see 75% choosing a petrol engine, compared to 60% in recent years and the majority of sales will be to private buyers, many taking up the Simply Drive contract scheme which includes insurance and roadtax.
When the six-speed automatic is added next spring, up to 4% are expected to pay the anticipated £1,000 premium.
The new C3 is very technology driven with the now familiar central console screen for info-tainment, car functions, navigation, climate control and downloadable apps to enhance driving experience.
It can be touch or voice-activated and the interior can be highly personalized and colour coded to match taste and any of 36 exterior colour combinations.
Seats are shaped to give a “sofa-style” experience even for the front pair which are cleverly curved to let more light into the back and allow greater forward vision to those in the rear.
With five seats and five doors there is a 300 litres boot behind a high sill and the oddments room includes door bins which have white linings to make it easier to see things in them.
That is not a massive boot but it will take a lot of weekend shopping or possibly a child’s pedal bike but the new Citroen C3 is definitely not intended to be a performance model.
The engines come with only five-speed manual gearboxes and frequently I found myself wishing I had an extra ratio to reduce the 110bhp petrol engine’s noise and improve economy while the gutsy mid-range push of the 110bhp diesel would benefit from the refinement of a sixth gear.
Performance was modest from standstill and when overtaking with either engine but the diesel felt it had a greater urgency and the clutch and gear-change were good although I thought the steering lacked feel.
Brakes were effective on our two test cars but the petrol model produced a grinding noise under gentle application in town traffic.
Both displayed a very comfortable, even cosy, character on road, the suspension soaking up bumps and potholes without drama and with a gentle rolling around tighter turns.
Within its class, the Citroen C3 is probably the most comfortable and technically advanced car but it’s not a hot or even warm hatch, more a mild mannered family workhorse use to taking directions.
|Interviewed at this week’s media launch of the new C3 ‘supermini’ five door hatchback range Mike Wilson Citroen UK’s Head of Product Pricing told David Miles, “We have high hopes for the new model and we anticipate around 16,000 sales next year, that’s approximately three times as many as the outgoing C3 will achieve in its run-out year in 2016.
“In addition to retaining current C3 customers we expect the growth in sales to come from conquest customers.”
He added, “Around 60% of UK sales will go to retail customers with 72% of all buyers choosing one of the petrol derivatives.
“Of the three PureTech 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol engines on offer 50% of customers will choose the 82hp engine, 16% the 68hp unit and 6% the 110hp engine. As for the two 1.6 four cylinder BlueHDi turbodiesels 19% will go for the 75hp unit and 9% for the 100hp engine.
“When it comes to choosing the specification level up to 5% will go for the base Touch level, the mid range Feel variants will be the choice of around 59% of buyers and the top Flair level we anticipate will account for 36% of sales.”
He said that due to the higher residual value forecast Citroen UK can offer a very attractive PCP finance packages for retail buyers.
These start with a low £300 deposit and then £159 a month over three years with an annual 6,000-mile limit.