Citroen’s Eye Catching C3

Features 7 minutes, 43 seconds

CITROEN will be going all out with its new C3 in a bid to attract more customers with its latest C3. The Citroen badge might still be a new face in Brunei’s car market, but it’s always been a brand that tries to win over fans with innovation and comfort. The new C3 is also an important car for the French automaker, because it is its biggest seller, and it expects this car to carry all the hallmarks that the brand wants everyone to know about.

First impressions are important for new car models. Members of the media that were meeting the car for the first time on this trip to Barcelona, Spain remarked about how visually eye-catching the new car is versus the old.

The look

Where the old one was a frumpy-looking little hatchback, this newer one comes across as bold. It’s longer than the older car, and presents itself in a variety of colour schemes that’s part of Citroen’s push to get newer customers behind the wheel of their cars.

The combinations of body colour, roof, interior and accents make it a car that’s truly customisable to your whims and taste, the base colour and roof combinations alone amount to 36 different combinations.

However, what many people will surely notice first are the air bumps on the side of the car. These are designed to make sure that errant drivers parking their car next to you don’t bump their doors into the car. If they do, the air bumps will take the brunt of the damage and leave your car unscathed, the front air bump also carries a coloured accent of your choosing, which turns it into a nifty design touch.

The front of the car sees the double chevron badge as the main centre piece with day time running lights either side, the head light cluster sits below in an arrangement that really give the car a presence and look which is very different from anything that’s on the road right now.

The front end being quite large combines with the black wheel arches to give the C3 a look that’s a tad bit crossover vehicle, except that its a bit lower than any crossover vehicle has a right to be. The car is also wide for a small car, so it has a nice stance when it’s parked.

The rear end of the car would be quite normal were it not for the rear tail lamps having a 3D effect, thanks to their arrangement, and from there you know you’re dealing with something that’s modern and vibrant.

After a quick look around the front, the first feeling you get when you poke your head into the cabin is a feel of how far Citroen are pushing to try and capture those people who might be new to the brand and cars altogether.

Even in the version of the car with a smaller 82hp engine and less options, you wouldn’t think the company is really short changing you on anything. There’s still a whole host of extras that you wouldn’t find on a competitors’ base car in this segment, cruise control in a manual car is somewhat of a novelty in Brunei, as is the sat nav and the multimedia features.

The engine

In the higher-spec version, you have more power at 110hp, a six-speed automatic, a very nice touch screen system that controls the car’s features and conveniences, along with the multi functional steering wheel and cruise control.

Before we get into the engine and the modest power figures, let me first continue with what is a very interesting feature that I’m sure will be of interest to those who spend a lot of time with their social media networks.

This car has an integrated camera that takes photos and videos at a touch of a button. Called connected cam, once you have the app on your phone, it can send it through the car’s WiFi to your phone and allow you to share with your friends or the rest of the world what you saw on your last road trip.

For those wondering what kind of practical application this could be useful for, the car is able to record a video 30 seconds prior to and up to a minute after an incident. This means it can help with any insurance claims, in addition to recording the wonderful times you took the car on your favourite piece of road.

It’s also very easy to use, a button at the base of the windscreen mirror is all that you push to activate it, and if you hold it down, it will record a video for you in high definition. The camera is also wide-angle and able to capture images in a 120-degree field of vision, making it quite straightforward for the driver or passenger.

The camera isn’t the only thing that bridges the realm of smartphone and car, the touch screen multimedia system is able to mirror your smart phone, whether its an Android or Apple iOS, you’re able to use it with the new C3 to play your music and engages those who don’t really see their cars as anything more than a vehicle that gets you from A to B.

At least this way it becomes another tool that compliments your smartphone rather than just a mode of transport.

One thing that really stood out after spending a decent amount of time behind the driving wheel of the car was how comfortable it is. I was driving in an unfamiliar city, with a driving community that have differing habits and customs (actually we right- hand drive countries are on the wrong side of the road), but the C3 was never the source of my ire.

I never once thought that it needed more power, needed this or would be better with that. As it stands it’s a pretty nifty little car.

The engine Brunei is likely to get is a three-cylinder 1.2 turbocharged petrol, which ‘only’ has 110 hp, but and this is a massive one, 151lb/ft at 1,500rpm is what makes this little motor stand out compared to other smaller engines in this field.

It gives the car a lot of purposeful grunt, and while it won’t win any races at the stop light, it makes it very handy in day to day situations where you can use it. To put into perspective, I used to own a Honda Civic Type-R EP3, it was a 2.0-litre engine and had 142lb/ft of torque at 6700rpm.

In addition to this, the automatic transmission isn’t too bad, it’s not razor sharp like some other transmissions, but it never put a foot wrong, whether we were cruising down to the beach or avoiding cyclists up mountain roads, it never gave me or my colleague a problem while we were driving it. The handling is neat and tidy, and you can place the car well in corners, should you need to make those kind of manoeuvres.

And yet that’s losing sight of what makes this car interesting. That sort of stuff isn’t the raison d’être of this car anyways, it’s the other aspects of this car that make it interesting and very much worth your time.

A boot space that’s quite big for this class, is amplified even more if you’ve got the rear seats down, and like others it does the 60/40 split. The glove box is quite well endowed also, but I’m unsure if this remains the same for the right-hand drive model.

Nice touches

What you will get though are the nice touches that Citroen has included, the compartments on the door are light coloured, so you can see the items you place inside better, the mix of materials that are used on the interior are also nice, however there are some plastic bits in and around the car which help keep the price of the car down.

Don’t let that fool you though, this isn’t a car that was aimed at the younger car market or as a cheap alternate second car. This car has a lot of personality, and because it is comfortable and nice thought of features, there’s bags of functionality too. If you asked me if I would buy this car and drive it around day in and day out, I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes.

Among the sea of cars in Brunei's hatchback market, this car is a standout performer, and I would even go as far as saying that if you’re in the market for a small four door saloon car to hold your horses and check out the C3 when it gets in town. This car might actually sway you to get it instead, as it represents a lot of what the younger drivers are after, technology, comfort and pizzazz, as opposed to those who link car ownership to pre-conceived ideas of brand and status. The new C3 from Citroen ladies and gentlemen, it’s a fun little thing and I really like it.

The Brunei Times