2021 Citroen C3 Shine (car review)

THERE’S a myriad of adjectives you could use to describe the 2021 Citroen C3 Shine, including quirky, fun, cool, different, and possibly even pretty. It’s a groovy little hatch that offers unique styling, a funky design and plenty of practicality.

It even sports Air Bumps, which are either the height of Paris fashion accessories or truly the most bizarre thing to ever grace the sides of a motor vehicle. Just quietly, we really like them, and they double down as door protection in car parks.

It can be had in a multitude of cool colours too, including Polar White (with an emerald green roof), Polar White (with a red roof), Spring Blue (as tested), Arctic Steel (with a white roof) Elixir Red and Perla Nera Black (with a red roof).

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Things get a little simpler from there though, as there’s just one interior trim, cloth with emerald highlights. In the case of our test vehicle, you’ll find that emerald colour surrounding the air vents in the door trims too.

There is also literally only one spec, that being the Shine we’re testing here, so there’s no confusion over which model to get either. The upside is there’s literally no options to have to chose, so buying is easy.

The downside, like my 9-year-old offspring says, is “you get what you get, don’t get upset”. This means you have to take what Citroen dishes out, and in the case of safety and some technology, that’s slightly less than what others are offering.

For example, while it has autonomous emergency braking, there’s no cyclist or pedestrian detection, which could be handy given this vehicle’s penchant to be a city-dweller. It’s also missing rear cross traffic alert.

There is blind spot detection, lane departure warning, driver attention alert, speed limit recognition and recommendation, distance alert and tyre pressure monitoring though, so that’s kind of a win.

ABS is standard, and paired with electronic brake distribution and emergency braking assist. Six airbags will keep occupants safe too, along with auto hazard lights under heavy braking, dynamic stability control and anti-skid technology.

It comes loaded with plenty of tech too, including keyless entry and push button start, cruise control, a reach and rake adjustable steering column, and front and rear parking sensors. But again, it’s what’s not here that you notice.

You won’t find heating or ventilation in either of the front seats, nor will you find power adjustment for them either. In the plus column, there are some cool looking daytime running lights, and you’ll find two cup holders in the centre console.

The steering wheel is full leather, and there’s a tonne of satin chrome, and metallic green highlights throughout the interior. But it wouldn’t be a French car without some quirk now would it. Take the luggage-inspired interior door handles for example.

The infotainment system feels a little underdone size-wise though at 7.0-inches, but has plenty to offer in terms of features, including satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

DAB+ digital radio, voice recognition, and a USB port and 12v socket feature. You’ll also score climate control air-conditioning, auto headlights and windscreen wipers, and 300-litres of boot space (with the seats up). Put them down, and that grows 922-litres.

But it’s on the road where the 2021 Citroen C3 Shine comes into its own, with great ride and handling. It’s actually a fun little car to drive, and offers solid power delivery from its Puretech 1.2-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine.

Mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, it delivers 81kW of power and 205Nm of torque. That doesn’t sound like a tonne of power, but remember it’s a little car, it’s not super heavy (1,090kg), and the powertrain does a great job of delivering get up and go.

With a top speed of just 188km/h and a 0-100km/h time of 10.9 seconds, it isn’t going to win any races, but it’s an absolute trooper, and doesn’t feel like it’s struggling, even under heavy acceleration.

Citroen claims fuel economy of 4.9-litres/100km, but if you can actually achieve that somewhere other than in an incredibly controlled test environment, we’ll buy you a beer at the pub. The best we could manage was 6.4-litres/100km.

The Citroen C3 Shine comes with the company’s 5+5+5 package, consisting of a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 5-years roadside assistance, and 5-years free scheduled servicing. It will set you back a little over $33,000 drive away.

That’s a bit pricey. It’s also dearer than a variety of rivals, including the Mazda2, Fiat 500 and some Volkswagen Polo variants. Remember though, that this is the top-spec, fully loaded C3, as we don’t get a cheap and cheerful version (as we mentioned earlier).

There’s a host of accessories and optional extras to be had too, including 17-inch wheels, different bumper trims, roof racks, bike mounts, random roof sticker kits, a rear spoiler and strangely, a massive protective cover for the rear bench seat.

We get it’s so you can put stuff in there without it getting dirty (like hardware items once you’ve filled the boot), but you could wrap a body in there, or use it for, well, whatever you use the back seat of a hatch for that might need a giant protective drop sheet.

See, we told you the 2021 Citroen C3 Shine was quirky, and a little bit different. Truth be told, it’s quite unique, and if you’re a fan of standing out from the crowd, Air Bumps and all, then this little French hatch could be just the ticket.

Our test vehicle was provided by Citroen Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Citroen C3 Shine, contact your local Citroen dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros - unique styling; comfortable seating; solid ride and handling.
Cons - pricey; down on safety tech; limited rear leg and head room.
Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> unique styling; comfortable seating; solid ride and handling.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> pricey; down on safety tech; limited rear leg and head room.2021 Citroen C3 Shine (car review)