Citroën C3 hatchback
Price £11,135 - £16,970
- Very comfortable
- Quiet and spacious
- Decent interior
- Not great to drive
- Entry-level models poorly equipped
- Four-star Euro NCAP safety rating
At a glance
"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."
Like many Citroens of old, the Citroen C3 hatchback puts comfort ahead of outright driving fun. That’ll suit many people, since the model is comfortable around town, where cars like this are often driven, but surprisingly refined and relaxing on longer motorway drives, too.
However, cars such as the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai i20 are better to drive and you could argue that their superior body control (they lean less in corners than the C3) means they’re actually more comfortable, at least on twisty roads.
The C3 is only available with five doors, but they make the most of the car's plentiful space; only the taller Honda Civic is roomier. Those extra doors make getting into the rear seats easier, while the seatbacks can be folded down to create an impressively large boot.
The model's engine line-up has been refreshed to comply with the latest EU emissions regulations, so there are now three petrol engines, all with three cylinders, and two diesels. The petrols all return at least 60mpg, while the diesels stretch that figure to 80mpg. For their blend of performance and economy, our favourites are the mid-range 1.2-litre PureTech 110 petrol and 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100 diesel.
There are three trim levels – VT, VTR+ and Exclusive – plus a special edition called Selection (a mildly upgraded VTR+). Citroen has distributed the C3's engines in such a way that our recommended trim, VTR+, is not available with our preferred engines. To get one of them, you have to choose your C3 in top-spec Exclusive trim. Only two engines (the least powerful petrol and diesel respectively) are available with the basic VT trim.
To the VT trim's electric windows and mirrors, and split-folding rear seats, VTR+ adds manual air-conditioning, alloy wheels, extra airbags, Bluetooth phone connectivity and cruise control. Exclusive brings a panoramic windscreen, larger alloy wheels and automatic air-conditioning – but it's expensive.
As a brand, Citroen hasn’t fared too well in our recent customer satisfaction surveys. Too few people rated the C3 for it to figure individually in the survey, but the DS3 on which it's based performed well, so there should be little cause for concern.
However, the C3 disappoints when it comes to safety due to its four-out-of-five Euro NCAP crash-test rating. Although even the most basic version has anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and tyre-pressure monitoring, testers marked the model down for offering curtain airbags only on VTR+ trim and above.
Most Citroen C3 hatchback models return impressive fuel economy – just avoid the 1.6-litre petrol
The Citroen C3 majors on comfort, and rivals are more fun to drive as a result
The Citroen C3 is as comfortable as a bigger car and has a pleasant interior
A large boot and five doors make the Citroen C3 highly practical
Poor customer satisfaction and a four-star crash-test result make the Citroen C3 less than impressive here