Very few car manufacturers put as much effort and time into the interior and exterior design of their vehicles as the French and perhaps the Italians do. Look at the recent Fiat 500, which is a designer car through and through. Citroen, being a French brand has also been known to be quite expressive when it comes to their cars, and we’re not complaining.

We recently spent some time with their B-segment hatch, the Citroen C3 and tapped into the French way of doing things. No doubt, the C3’s exterior is distinctive, with a two-tone colour combination, Citroen’s signature air bubbles on the sides, and a front end design with three light clusters on each side. It looks the part for a city car and blends right in. You may not notice it but the C3 is a compact vehicle, understandably so if you consider the narrow European streets it was built to navigate. Its size makes it a breeze to live with in the city. Parking my SUV into my one car garage generally takes me longer than necessary, it’s a tight fit and everything has to be done at an agonizingly slow pace to avoid dents and scratches. Slotting the Citroen C3 into the same space had me wondering why I spend a chunk of my life trying to squeeze into a garage each day. It may not be equipped with a reverse camera, which was odd but does have rear PDC as a standard equipment, and that’s enough for a car this size. 

Now as you can imagine, the Citroen C3’s compact size will likely affect interior space, and it does. When sitting in the front you can adjust your seat to your most comfortable position, but there won’t be any rear legroom left for anyone above the age of two. Admittedly, I’m not the shortest person at 1.8m, which means you need to be short to have both front and rear legroom in the Citroen C3, and something tells me that most C3 drivers will be females below 1.7m in height. Perfect match!

Speaking of the interior, the French have designed it to look like a Citroen. Stylish and modern are the main keywords here. Sadly though, the C3’s interior is only nice to look at. When you reach out and touch the door and dash panels, your enthusiasm is quickly dashed once your hand meets the hard plastic used to create such a good looking interior. To forget about this you need to shift your focus onto other parts of the interior like that 7-inch infotainment screen, which by the way has smartphone mirroring. I didn’t like the fact that you need to toggle through the screen to set your aircon temperature. Mechanical dials and buttons are always the better options here. 

Citroen C3 engine specs

Citroen has fitted the little C3 with cruise control for highway cruising, something the hatch does very well despite having a small capacity engine under its bonnet. It is a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder unit but when piloting the car you can’t tell. The Citroen’s engine feels peppy and ready to go when zipping around the city, and this is thanks to constant technological improvements. When you combine this performance with a feather-light steering wheel and a tight turning circle, driving the C3 around town becomes a breeze. On the highway, the 3-cylinder engine with its 81 kW and 205 Nm will maintain the national speed limit of 120km/h and overtake without breaking a sweat. The entry-level Citroen C3 Feel is a none-turbo version of the 1.2 engine, and will only produce 60 kW and 118 Nm through a manual gearbox.

Citroen C3 price

Citroen C3 1.2 Feel                                                                             R274 900

Citroen C3 1.2T Shine                                                                         R334 900