Since 2002 when the C3 debuted, this supermini has always been brimming with French charm, while also being impressively spacious for such a compact model.
The latest car was revealed in September 2016 as an all-new model that Citroen hoped would shake up the market.
With looks mimicking that of the funky C4 Cactus, which utilises plastic side mouldings which aim to minimise door dings, as well as a two-tone paint finish and many options for personalisation both inside and outside.
The C3 also remains true to Citroen’s Advanced Comfort policy, which aims to make its cars as pleasant to travel in as possible.
Elsewhere the C3 also introduces new technologies – notably the ConnectedCam – a fully-integrated dashcam that allows for pictures and videos to seamlessly be shared to social media.
Citroen offers the C3 with two petrol engines and one diesel.
The entry-level engine is a 1.2-litre petrol unit producing 82bhp. The limited power figure makes this model a good fit for new drivers, but it’s slow and hard to recommend.
Our favourite engine is the one fitted to our test car – a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol producing 108bhp. It’s the most popular C3 engine, which is little surprise given the C3 is a good match between performance and efficiency. The sprint from 0-60mph takes 9.2 seconds, along with a claimed top speed of 117mph. The only disappointment is the five-speed manual gearbox, which isn’t particularly pleasing to use.
A rather efficient 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel engine is also offered, too.
Ride and handling
The C3 feels at home around the city, where its peppy engine feels a perfect fit for the city streets. A small turning circle, light steering and a low kerbweight are all assets in urban areas, too.
It also lives up to its comfort promises, as the C3 is an impressively comfortable car with well-cushioned seats and a soft suspension setup. It does an excellent job of dealing with potholes, too, which makes the C3 ideal for the UK’s rough roads.
Despite the C3 being light and nimble, it lacks the driver enjoyment of rivals such as the Ford Fiesta – particularly as the light steering doesn’t provide much in the way of feedback once you’re outside of town.See Available C3 Deals
Interior and equipment
The interior is one of the highlights of the C3, with Citroen using a range of new trim finishes and fabrics to make this supermini stand out from the crowd. A number of ‘Ambiances’ are also available, which allow owners to choose a variety of colours and materials, which can be as bright or tame as you desire.
The interior itself is a pleasant place to be, thanks to the comfortable seats and airy feel. The seven-inch touchscreen is also good to use, and offers plenty of connected features, albeit it can be an annoyance when functions such as climate control are nestled within a menu.
Citroen offers the C3 with three core trim levels – Touch, Feel and Flair.
Standard equipment includes electric front windows, lane departure warning and a height adjustable driver’s seat. Feel adds a seven-inch touchscreen, electric door mirrors, cruise control and 16-inch alloy wheels.
The range-topping Flair model brings a leather steering wheel, a reversing camera, tinted rear windows and the aforementioned ConnectedCam camera system.
The C3 is one of the more affordable superminis in its class, with prices starting from £13,235 and rising to just under £20,000 for the range-topping models.
Another asset to the Citroen C3 is its low running costs, regardless of which engine you go for. But it’s the 1.5-litre diesel that is the most efficient – returning up to 67.0mpg, with ultra-low CO2 emissions of 90g/km.
Citroen has managed to move the C3 upmarket with this latest model, thanks to more kit, technology and higher quality cabin materials. It should also be applauded for remaining true to Citroen’s policy of being very comfortable.
While it might not be the last word in driving fun, the C3 is a charming, practical and affordable supermini that more than holds its own in the crowded supermini class.