BRAZIL: Locally-built Citroën C3 gains facelift ahead of Europe

By Fernando Calmon | 22 August 2012

Brazils C3 has different styling details but shares its Zenith windscreen with the model built in France

Brazil's C3 has different styling details but shares its 'Zenith' windscreen with the model built in France

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A Brazilian plant which until recently was still making the outdated, first generation Citroën C3, has trumped its counterparts in France by rolling out a facelifted version of the second generation car.

Europe's current C3 (codename: A51) was revealed at the Frankfurt motor in September 2009 and has been built at the Aulnay-sous-Bois and Poissy plants in France since the end of that year.

Meanwhile, the A8-series C3 continues in production at the Porto Real facility in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro until the end of August. It has been built there since May 2003 with some 240,000 units sold thus far. Dealers expect stocks to last for another two- to three months.

Citroën expects the new model to have a stronger appeal to male buyers thanks to more attractive and bulky styling, as well as the availability of alloy wheels with chrome detailing, plus LED tail-lamps for some model grades. This has not proved to be the case with the existing car.

The Brazilian market C3 is 10 cm/3.93 in. longer and 4 cm/1.57 in. wider but the interior space is only marginally better and the 300-litre/10.6 cu. ft. boot volume is also about the same as before. The fuel tank has been enlarged from 47 litres/10.3 imp. gallons to 55 litres/12.1 imp. gallons.

The new car has a flat-bottomed steering wheel, with the dashboard itself placed lower in the cabin and a panoramic windscreen allowing a greatly improved view forward (and above). There is also a hard sunshield with integrated visors. The materials used for the instrument cluster are noticeably improved over their equivalents in the outgoing C3, and a 7-in. multimedia screen adds to that impression.

For Origine and Tendance model grades, there is new aluminium 16-valve SOHC 1.45-litre/88.4 cu. in. engine rated at 91.7bhp on ethanol. Exclusive, a more expensive trim level, brings with it a 120.3bhp (on ethanol) 1.6-litre/97.6 cu. in. 16-valve DOHC unit.

Prices for the Novo C3 range from R$39,990 (US$19,400) to R$49,990 (US$24,875). A four-speed automatic gearbox that comes with paddle shifters in a R$4,000 (US$1,990) option.

A revised C3 is expected to start rolling off the lines at Aulney and Poissy from the fourth quarter, following a likely debut at next month's Paris motor show.