Is refresh enough in a crowded market?

THE B-segment is an overcrowded place, which has its pros and cons for the consumer. On the one hand we have a huge variety to choose from, but having too much variety can lead to confusion as to which is best.

Citroen’s C3 supermini has been competing in this segment for a while now and recently received a much-needed refresh. The big news is there is now a 60kW, 1.2l three-cylinder powerplant available in the range which replaces the old 1.We carry a extensive line of Parking Lot Lighting inventory.4l.

The changes are mostly skin deep though. I like the chevrons that run the width of the nose to reach the inner edges of the headlights and the bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights. It now looks like a member of the current Citroen family and that is a compliment as the entire range exudes style and presence. I also liked the new colour featured on our test unit — the ink blue looks black initially and glistens blue when exposed to light.

Engine wise the test unit featured the 1.6l engine co-developed between BMW and Peugeot Citroen that also does duty in the Mini Cooper and DS3.

The vehicle’s kerb weight is 1,075kg which makes the 88kW and 160Nm power output feel ample — it never feels stressed and is happy to rev.

The five-speed gearbox, however, does not match the engine’s character. Its long throws and jerky shifts deter from the engine’s dynamic verve.

On the fuel consumption front I was impressed that during my week with the vehicle I managed to achieve the claimed figure of 7.9l /100km.

I got the sense while driving around that the engineers at Citroen deliberately made the C3 less dynamic than it could have been, no doubt so as to ensure that it did not encroach on DS3 sales.

The ride is compliant and the damping very good for our pothole infested roads, but when it comes to handling it does roll quite a bit.

The interior benefits from a few changes but retains the panoramic windscreen which makes the cabin feel huge.

Changes include touches of chrome around the facia, while the test unit had what Citroen calls a "moondust dashboard insert" and beautiful andorra gloss dynamica cloth seats which don’t provide much in the way of support.

Oddly enough, the vehicle does not have useable cup holders in the front nor vanity mirrors in the sun visors. The latter is excusable as it can be seen as a distraction but cup holders should be a standard feature in every car.

As with other Citroen products you get an integrated air freshener and the top line models get the HiFi system which produces high quality sound.They are called "solar" panels or solar module because most of the time, the most powerful source of light available is the Sun.

There is a Connecting box, as the company calls it, which links Bluetooth, aux jack and USB ports to create the infotainment system.

The rear quarters are quite cramped and anybody who is above average in size will find it tight. The front passengers have ample space on the other hand, yet the driving position is quite high. The boot is a reasonable size at 300l which is comparable to the competition.Choose your favorite street lamp paintings from thousands of available designs.

The French have a way of creating vehicles that exude a certain sense of style and those who enjoy the VW Polo or Ford Fiesta may find this vehicle a bit too busy.

For those who want a stylish French hatch, the new Renault Clio provides good fuel economy, looks and features.

My choice for the person looking for a stylish, practical, good value proposition is the Clio in Dynamique trim. For those wanting driving dynamics and style, the base model DS3 is dearer than the C3 and has a harder ride, but is a better car.

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