Citroën has today unveiled its new C3, the latest take on a best-seller that has sold more than 3.6 million units since 2002. Our Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, was at the unveiling in Lyon, France, to find out more about the brand’s supermini.
With its distinctive design and colourful personality, the new C3 brims over with an exuberant freshness and optimism that will rock the market. Its unique morphology and original graphic features express energy and confidence.
Appearance is audacious by design and extensively customizable, leaving full scope for individual expression. The interior is carefully thought out to make driver and passengers feel comfortable, to make each journey a pleasurable experience. And the car is fitted out with the very latest technologies, including a world première appearance for Citroën ConnectedCam, an on-board HD camera that lets you share your road-trip photos and videos directly.
The high-standing front end is strong and compelling, giving a powerful impression of robustness with a horizontally balanced outline right through from the waist. The resulting vehicle posture looks natural and steady. The fluid curves and muscular flanks lend vigour and power. The pure, wholesome, unaggressive appearance is highlighted by potent graphic features. The new C3 is certainly different. It’s energetic and modern, yet calm and reassuring.
Looking at the car sideways, the first detail you notice is the floating roof carried by the black windscreen pillars, and the taut roof curves accentuating the dynamic outline. The horizontal window seals show off the deliberately high bonnet line, producing a steady, stable, reassuring posture. At the rear, the generously sized, muscular wings give the Citroën a ready-to-pounce appearance, an impression accentuated by the very short overhangs.
The Airbump panels (air-filled bumps with a scratch-proof surface) are a Citroën signature feature, lending personality and style, as well as protecting the vehicle in much the same way as a bumper. The material used in the Airbump panels gives excellent resistance to everyday aggression, from sunlight, water, aging, scratching, etc. Each comprises six air-filled bumps at the door bottom, an especially vulnerable area of the car in an urban environment. The Airbump panels have a white or red surround trim, depending on the version.
The rear end again emphasizes vehicle width, with smooth surfaces providing an ideal backdrop for the 3D rear lamps, which lend a unique, high-tech identity to New C3. The lower protection affords good everyday robustness. The C3 badge is different to that sported by the previous model: the figure 3 appears in black with a chrome surround, recalling the gloss black chevrons with chrome surround used by Citroën models since C4 Cactus.
The new C3 also promises great everyday practicality. Designers have paid special attention to stowage facilities, designed for optimum functionality without compromising interior harmony. There’s an ingenious central cubby, designed to keep maximum free space at the front of the vehicle. And the glove box is the largest in this vehicle segment. The front doors have capacious and ingenious cubbies, in a light colour to contrast with what’s in them, making things easier to find. And the new C3 boot volume approaches 300 litres, which cuts down on the often difficult task of deciding what to take and what not to take.
A smooth driving experience also calls for an intuitive, interactive and responsive interface, which the new C3 offers through its seven inch touchscreen tablet, acting as the vehicle control centre. This provides modern, intuitive access to all vehicle functions, and makes for a superbly uncluttered dashboard. The tablet uses capacitive screen technology, for optimum response. And the groove at the bottom acts as a handrest, for optimally comfortable usability. Convenience continues with the car’s hands-free access and ignition system, which means you can lock/unlock and start the car without even needing to take the key out of your pocket. The car recognizes its driver as you approach.
Linda Jackson, Citroën Brand CEO, said: “The new C3 has all the Citroën brand markers and all the qualities to give the marque new impetus. A comfortable car with real personality, it is set to appeal to new customers looking for a modern car of character.”
The new Citroën C3 will be on sale in the UK in January 2017.