Review

Citroën C3 hatchback

Price  £11,135 - £17,130

Citroën C3 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Quiet and spacious
  • Very comfortable
  • Decent interior
Cons
  • Not great to drive
  • Four-star Euro NCAP safety rating
  • Entry-level model poorly equipped

At a glance

The greenest
BlueHDi 100 S&S Platinum 5dr £17,265
The cheapest
PureTech 68 VT 5dr £11,280
The fastest
PureTech 110 S&S Platinum 5dr £16,355
Top of the range
BlueHDi 100 S&S Platinum 5dr £17,265

"The Citroen C3 has low running costs and a practical interior, and thanks to its soft suspension it’s one of the most comfortable superminis on the market."

The Citroen C3 hatchback falls into a competitive class that includes strong rivals like the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai i20. Rather than attempt to challenge these cars on exactly the same terms, the C3 majors on comfort rather than driving prowess, offering a soft, cosseting ride that will suit a lot of buyers that use the car on patchy city streets. It also means the Citroen is a surprisingly capable cruiser when you get up to speed on the motorway.

The trade-off for this setup is that a number of cars, like the Polo and Fiesta, are much more enjoyable to drive. The C3 may absorb more of the road's lumps and bumps than those two but it also pitches and rolls in corners much more, which brings its own sense of discomfort on twisty roads.

The C3 is a practical car though. All models come with five doors and there is plenty of space on the inside, with only the Honda Civic offering more cabin room. The C3 is an easy car to get in an out of, and the boot is spacious, particularly with the rear seats down.

The latest engine line-up consists of three three-cylinder petrol engines and two diesel options. All the petrol engines claim economy figures of at least 60mpg, while the diesels can manage 80mpg. The best blend of performance and economy comes with the 1.2-litre PureTech 110 petrol and the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 diesel.

C3 buyers have the choice between three main trim levels; entry-level VT, mid-range VTR+ and top-spec Exclusive. There's also a Selection special edition model that sits between VTR+ and Exclusive. Unfortunately, to get the best engines you have no choice but to go for the most expensive trim level and you can only buy for an entry-level VT model if you’re happy with either the least powerful petrol or the least powerful diesel.

As you’d expect from the basic model, standard equipment doesn’t stretch much further than electric windows and mirrors, and split-folding rear seats. VTR+ adds air-conditioning, alloy wheels, extra airbags, Bluetooth and cruise control. Rather expensive top-spec Exclusive cars get a panoramic windscreen, larger alloy wheels and automatic air-conditioning.

Citroen as a brand has performed less than brilliantly in our most recent Driver Power satisfaction surveys. The C3 itself came a rather lowly 163rd out of 200 cars in the 2015 survey but that may partly be down to the car's advancing years.

The C3 only managed four out of a possible five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. The entry-level model has ABS, electronic stability control and a tyre-pressure monitoring system but testers were critical of the lack of curtain airbags, which are only fitted if you go for a VTR+ model or even higher up the range.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.5 / 5

Most Citroen C3 hatchback models return impressive fuel economy – just avoid the 1.6-litre petrol

Engines, drive & performance

2.7 / 5

The Citroen C3 majors on comfort, and rivals are more fun to drive as a result

Interior & comfort

3.4 / 5

The Citroen C3 is as comfortable as a bigger car and has a pleasant interior

Practicality & boot space

3.2 / 5

A large boot and five doors make the Citroen C3 highly practical

Reliability & safety

2.9 / 5

Poor customer satisfaction and a four-star crash-test result make the Citroen C3 less than impressive here

What the others say

3.6 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
While the old C3 was too small and unrefined to ruffle the feathers of the class leaders, the fresh model rights those wrongs with spectacular results. Offering luxury and comfort in equal measure, it's nearly as quiet and composed as the Polo, and certainly an interesting alternative to more racy rivals such as the SEAT Ibiza.
11 / 20
It's not a driver's car, but if you're looking for something that covers bases and has a bit of character, the new C3 will put a satisfied little smile on your face.
4 / 5
The C3's a super-stylish supermini that feels as plush as it looks – with a comfortable ride, too. The wrap-over windscreen is a novel selling point, but sloppy handling and tight rear space stop it beating the best in class.
3.5 / 5
Chic, sophisticated and refined. These are the qualities Citroen has aimed to instil in the C3 - a car designed to rival the likes of the Ford Fiesta. While it retains the similar rounded shape of the original C3, this model is far superior in every department with a giant leap forward in quality and refinement.
What owners say 
4.2
4.2 /5 based on 24 reviews
67%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

Owner rating:

3 star   0
2 star   0
Last updated 
19 Jan 2016
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