Citroen has sold almost three million C3's since the model's introduction in 2002, constantly re-styling and re-inventing its core hatchback to keep it fresh in the face of mounting competition from (mostly) Korea.

Here we have the latest incarnation, due to debut at the Geneva motor show on 5 March - and slated to land in South Africa in late June or early July.

A restyled front end creates a new 'face' with updated chevrons and bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights, matched to new tail-light clusters combined with new reflectors set underneath the rear bumper.

Inside, there's new chrome detailing and a thermo-coated soft-touch dashboard, with dashboard trim strips in your choice of matt black, warm brown or soft grey, to tie in with the new-style upholstery. The instrument cluster is also backlit in white for modern, easy-to-read appearance.

COMPACT YET SPACIOUS

What haven't changed are its compact outside dimensions - 3.94m long and 1.71m wide - the 10.8m turning circle and 300-litre boot, with more storage in the central console, glove compartment and centre armrests, as well as the higher-than-usual seats, which allow for better use of interior volume and easier access.

Also unchanged is the huge, signature Zenith windscreen, which increases the upward field of vision for front passengers by 80 degrees and combines with ultra-slim pillars to give an unrivalled view of the road ahead.

And for those of us with receding hairlines, solar protection at the top gradually merges into clear glass at eye level.

Optional equipment includes a reversing camera and parking sensors, together an RD4 MP3 audio system, Bluetooth hands-free kit, jack plug and USB socket, and eMyWay navigation.

THE POWER OF THREE

The new C3 will be available with Citroën's new-generation PureTech VTi 68 (one-litre) and VTi 82 (1.2-litre) three-cylinder petrol engines, rated at 4.3 litres per 100km / 99g/km and 4.5 litres per 100km / 109g/km respectively.

There will also be a four-cylinder VTi 120 engine, available with a either manual or automatic transmission.

On the diesel side, C3 customers will be able to choose between four options - HDi 70, e-HDi 70, HDi 90 and e-HDi 115. The micro-hybrid e-HDi designation doesn't mean electric motors and batteries, however; it's Citroënspeak for a very efficient idle-stop set-up that helps them achieve what the company claims are some of the lowest CO2 emissions in the class - from as low as 87g/km.