- Fun, quirky design
- Plenty of space
- Well-priced in the segment
- Bit too plasticky inside the cabin
Citroen have revolutionised their design over the past few years, the C4 Cactus starting the trend for something a bit different.
The smaller C3 has been around since 2002 and has become Citroen’s best-selling model with over 3.6 million of them sold worldwide but now the C3 is into its third generation and we took it for a drive over the Malvern hills and the country lanes of Worcestershire.
On The Road
There are three petrol and two diesel engines available for the Citroen C3; there’s a 3-cylinder, PureTech 1.2-litre petrol engine which is available with 68hp, 82hp or 110hp and comes mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. An automatic version is available for the 110hp one next February.
The diesel offering is the BlueHDi 1.6-litre which comes with either 75hp or 110hp and although none of them are high on power they offer plenty for this sort of model, the 110hp works particularly well giving it plenty of go from the start and has a top speed of 115mph.
With an improved ride comfort on the C3 it seems to soak up less than even roads well with minimal disruption to the ride. It is matched to good handling, it has plenty of grip if you lean on it into corners and the steering is well balanced offering plenty of feedback. Although it’s an agile car it lacks a little something extra to make it a fun drive, but if you’re looking for a runaround this is a good choice.
With an improved, insulated cabin noise inside the car is a lot less than the previous generation, there’s a bit of wind noise and the 3 cylinder petrol does produce that noticeable hum at high revs.
The exterior has a really bold, unmistakenly Citroen design with its front strip LED light signature, 3D rear lights and the airbumps which unlike the Cactus are an option.
It can also be personalised with three roof colours and nine body colours available making 36 different combinations to choose from including three interior colours.
If you’re looking to be different then the Citroen C3 is a must.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
The interior is kept simple, a 7-inch colour touchscreen displays media, navigation, climate control, car and phone settings but it is quite hard to operate when you’re on the move.
The instrument panel is stylish with a digital display screen enclosed by the dials and there are a few nods to the Cactus with wide, sofa-like front seats and luggage style door handles.
There is Citroen’s ConnectedCAM system which is an HD camera behind the rear-view mirror that can take photos of anything in front of the car. It’s also a dashcam that when triggered through an accident will record the leading twenty seconds up to a ‘moment’ while all of this is all viewable on an app on your smartphone. There is a USB, a jack and 12 volt socket to hook up all your devices.
There are three trims; entry-level ‘Touch’ which comes with cruise control, DAB radio, Bluetooth, hill start assist and power steering. ‘Feel’ adds 16-inch wheels, LED daytime running lights, Apple CarPlay and an alarm, while the top spec ‘Flair’ has a leather steering wheel, a reversing camera, dark tinted rear windows, rear parking sensors and the ConnectedCAM.
Space & Practicality
It’s under 4 metres in length but it still packs a punch in terms of space as legroom has been increased by 22mm and there is plenty of headroom to match. There are a few cupholders, there’s no centre armrest compartment but the door pockets are large and they’re even lined in a bright cream colour so you can see items you put in there. How long do you spend fumbling around for things when it’s dark?
Boot space is 300-litres and very deep although the boot lip is quite high to lift bags over but with the rear bench seat folded it increases to 922-litres.
The Citroen C3 is priced from £10,995 which we think is a great, competitive starting price as the Ford Fiesta is £13,545 and the Renault Clio £11,915. It’s a practical five-door with plenty of that Gallic charm and a good dose of uniqueness. It comes with a two-year/unlimited mileage warranty and the free option of a one year dealer warranty and free breakdown assistance for a year too.
The Citroen C3 goes on sale on 3rd January and is available to pre-order now.
Running costs will be good too with the petrol engines emitting as low as 103g/km of CO2 so will cost nothing for the first year and then £20 annually, while the diesels will be road tax free as they emit just 92g/km.
Quality & Reliability
Some of the interior materials don’t feel as solid as some rivals and there’s a lot of plastics, but the attention to detail is really good and the embossed bumps in doors and airvents replicating the exterior airbumps are a nice design touch.
There have never been any major issues with the Citroen C3 in terms of reliability, owners seem generally satisfied but it’s the build quality that gets the thumb down. The French brand really needs to up their game though to improve their position amongst the other manufacturers as they often find themselves near the bottom in the surveys.
Safety & Security
Citroen C3 hasn’t been tested yet in the EuroNCAP ratings but it does come with plenty of safety systems so we expect it to receive the full five stars.
Driver assistance systems include lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, coffee break alert, speed limit sign recognition, electronic stability control and hill start assist. There’s also a tyre pressure monitor, ISOFIX points in the front passenger seat and also the rear and security includes remote central locking and an alarm.