The Citroen C3 is a supermini like few others. The French firm has caught on to the fact that what the world wants these days is SUVs. And it wants its small car customers to benefit from the same funky, customisable styling. That’s why the C3 in all its forms mixes supermini character and SUV space.
The C3 is a five-door supermini with typical Citroen quirky looks. As a new car, its bodywork can be customised in multiple ways, with different colours available for the bumper inserts, the roof and door mirrors – plus the ‘air bumps’ on the doors. These plastic add-ons are designed to protect the C3 from dings in its natural habitat - the car park. Buying used you’ll find a rainbow of colour choices out there.
The C3’s face is dominated by a high-set thin strip of daytime running lights, below which sit the headlights, and the wheel arches are clad in plastic. It all combines to create a quasi-SUV look that we’re big fans of here at cinch.
The C3 is a 5-door supermini with typical Citroen quirky looks.
What’s it like to drive?
Citroen is keen to make it clear that the C3 puts comfort first, which means it soaks up most lumps and bumps pretty well. This is a small car, remember, so you’re going to feel potholes. The average UK road surface is nicely dealt with by the C3’s soft suspension.
That inevitably means the small Citroen’s body leans a bit when going around corners. It doesn’t handle as well as, say, the Ford Fiesta. Its light steering does make driving and parking in town a pleasure.
Most C3s have petrol (PureTech) engines - a willing performer in and out of town. You’ll appreciate the extra power of the ‘110’ motor on faster roads, though, which is where the diesel ‘BlueHDi’ also excels.
Its light steering does make driving and parking in town a pleasure.
The C3’s exterior quirkiness continues on the inside, where the dashboard’s air vents take their styling from the exterior air bumps. Some versions have fake wood here, others go for glossy plastic or fake leather – there’s something for everyone, although there aren’t many soft-touch plastics, as you’d expect for the price.
A seven-inch touchscreen is mounted mid-way up the dash – it controls the audio and nav (if fitted) as well as ventilation. The latter is a bit of a Peugeot-Citroen quirk that does away with physical buttons for the temperature and fan speed. While this helps to de-clutter the C3’s interior, it can be a chore finding the air con on the menu on the move. There are analogue dials in front of the driver and a multi-function steering wheel.
The front seats look almost like armchairs, thanks to prominent bolsters – they’re actually pretty soft and squidgy, which helps to boost the C3’s comfort. The driver’s seat adjusts for height, so you should be able to find a good position with ease, and leg and headroom are decent for both front occupants. This is a supermini, remember, so rear seat space is going to be tight for adults, although they’ll be fine on shorter trips. Rear doors make getting in and out a breeze. A SEAT Ibiza offers more room, though.
As standard, most C3s have air-con, lane-departure warning, speed sign recognition and cruise control. The entertainment system has Bluetooth and some models have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which use your phone’s sat-nav. You also get a USB and aux-in port lower down.
Storage space is provided by a slot beneath the touchscreen, a cubby below and door bins. There’s also a small glovebox. Those in the rear seats get a cup holder and small door bins, while some trims have pockets in the back of the front seats. Enough for phones, coffee and a Sunday newspaper – though not much else.
The C3’s boot is comparatively roomy for a supermini, and beats rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. There’s enough space for a mid-sized suitcase or several bags of shopping. The only downside is the drop from the boot lip to the floor, so you can’t slide long loads in that easily. The rear seatbacks are split 60/40 and fold to take three or more suitcases.
Running costs and reliability
The least powerful 1.2 petrol engine has an official average economy figure of 48.7mpg (measured with the more realistic WLTP testing regime) and the 110 PureTech achieves 46.3mpg when paired with an automatic gearbox.T he relatively rare diesel engine should average 62.7mpg. Good fuel economy, though not best in class.
What we love
We absolutely love the way the C3 looks. Viewed in isolation, it’d be easy to think the C3 was a larger, family car, and not a supermini – the crossover styling just makes it look like a bigger car. The funky styling is bound to appeal to young drivers, but we can see all ages going for the C3. It’s at home in the town and city,and is great for the school run and supermarket.
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Town and country drivers
The Citroen C3 is packed with character, thanks to its fun styling inside and out and small, economical engines. The soft suspension is a departure from most rivals’ firmer set-ups, though it does a good job of absorbing pockmarked roads at the expense of a bit of rock and roll on twisty tarmac.
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