Auto Express magazine has gained access to top-secret information from Citroen's HQ, and in this week's issue has published pictures to show what buyers have to look forward to.
Taking inspiration from the C-Buggy concept first seen at the Madrid Motor Show last year, the newcomer will play an important role in the Citroen range.
While the supermini-MPV-style car pictured in the mag was originally expected to fit into the line-up between the C2 and the C3, the five-door is now thought to be a direct replacement for the latter. This will let Citroen compete in this niche market without the cost of developing another all-new model.
Based on the same platform as Peugeot's recently launched 207, the newcomer will take on Ford's Fiesta-based B-MAX and established rivals such as Honda's Jazz and Renault's Modus.
Inside, the C3 will seat five and be packed full of space-saving features, including a C2-style split tailgate to ease access to the load area, which can be extended by sliding or folding the rear bench. The dashboard will merge features of the larger C4 with the more cost-effective materials of the C2 and existing C3. There are stylish centrally mounted dials, while bright colours are used throughout.
Engines will come from the latest units available to the Peugeot Citroen group, including the new 1.6-litre petrol also used in the next-generation MINI. Other powerplants will be shared with the existing C2 and C3. Buyers will also have the choice of three gearboxes - a standard manual, clutchless Sensodrive or fully automatic transmission.
Prices have yet to be finalised, but the new model is likely to cost from around £9,000. Citroen's legendary cashback deals will make high-spec versions more affordable.
With the current C3 not due for replacement until 2008, the car shown here is still top-secret. The wraps won't officially be taken off until next year, when it's likely to debut as a concept at one of 2007's top motor shows.
However, there will be plenty of new Citroen models to look forward to before then. The first is the C4 Picasso, which will be unveiled at next month's Paris Motor Show, before going on sale in the UK early in 2007.
Then comes the company's first fully fledged SUV. Based on the same platform as the new Mitsubishi Outlander, the 4x4 is likely to be called the C7, and will be available alongside a similar Peugeot-badged version. It will be in Citroen showrooms by the end of next year.