The C3 Pluriel recently went on sale on the local market. If the versatile lifestyle vehicle lives up to its many accolades, it could prove quite popular in sunny South Africa.

The C3 Pluriel recently went on sale on the local market. If the versatile lifestyle vehicle lives up to its many accolades, it could prove quite popular in sunny South Africa.

The model has been described as a five-in-one vehicle that "can easily be transformed from its saloon guise into a 2+2 coupé, a cabriolet, a spider, or even a spider pick-up". It's won a star in the 2003 Design Observer, an event organised by the French Agency for the Promotion of Industrial Design, been named L'automobile più bella del mondo in Italy and voted cabriolet of the year 2003 by 17 of Europe's motoring journalists from 11 countries.

When the Pluriel's material sunroof is closed, it looks like a compact three-door convertible. Simply by pressing some buttons, the drivers is able to control the roof and windows to turn it into a spider. The roof folds down on to the rear window and disappears into the false floor of the boot.

The rear seat of the Pluriel is designed to retract into the floor. The load area of each variant can be extended and the vehicle turned from a four-seater into a two-seater. The boot hatch opens downwards, extending the load floor and making it easy to transport long objects. The boot does not have to be emptied to reach the false floor. A sliding plate is provided for this purpose.

The entry-level C3 Pluriel is fitted with a 1,4-litre fuel-injected powerplant, which produces 54 kW and 118 N.m of torque, mated with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1,4 derivative will cost R184 995.

The flagship is powered by an 80 kW 1,6-litre 16-valve engine mated with Citroën's SensoDrive five-speed robotised manual gearbox, with a choice of two gearchanging modes, as standard. The 1,6 derivative retails for R209 995.