Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Citroen C3 review - an affordable and comfy supermini

"The Citroen C3 is a cheap and cheerful supermini with a quirky design, comfortable ride and now the option of an electric e-C3 version"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£14,120 - £22,335

Pros

  • Comfortable around town
  • Very affordable
  • Lots of interior space

Cons

  • Uninspiring to drive
  • Unrefined engines and motors
  • Low-quality interior

Verdict – is the Citroen C3 a good car?

The Citroen C3 is an unassuming small car that doesn’t do anything particularly groundbreaking, but with this generation coming with the option of electric power in the form of the Citroen e-C3 for a rock-bottom price, it could prove to be a game-changing car for the masses. In either form, it’s fairly comfortable, but it’s not particularly engaging to drive and interior quality is lacking. We think that’s still not enough to put buyers off, though, and the C3 is still a lot of car for the money, especially if monthly finance offers further sweeten the deal.

Citroen C3 models, specs and alternatives

The Citroen C3 has been a staple of the brand’s lineup since the early 2000s and has changed quite a bit since then. Now in its fourth generation, the latest iteration of the Citroen C3 hatchback is chunkier and more SUV-like than before to appeal to modern tastes, and even comes as an all-electric version called the Citroen e-C3.

The best small cars and superminis 2023Top 10 best small cars and superminis 2024

The C3’s design is boxier and more upright than that of the previous generation Citroen C3, and is also the first C3 to sport the brand’s retro-inspired new logo. It gets an overall angular look, but it’s not as quirky to look at as you might expect from the Citroen brand; one that’s historically been known for some outlandish designs.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Instead, in recent years Citroen has been pitched as a more value-focused brand in order to stand out in the crowd, and that’s what the focus is for the C3. Using simplified underpinnings borrowed from the latest Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208, as well as the Corsa Electric and E-208 for the e-C3, has helped keep costs down. That’s particularly true of the e-C3, which with an expected sub-£22k price tag is set to potentially revolutionise the market by democratising EV ownership. The petrol version is also very affordable, and will start from under £18,000.

From launch, the latest Citroen C3 will come in three trims: You!, Plus and Max. The entry-level You! cars forgo a central infotainment screen, but get a smartphone holder instead – that might seem spartan in 2024, but it allows Citroen to keep costs down, and many buyers may be happy enough using their smartphone for most of the features an infotainment system would have anyway. The trims above this add many more expected modern features, though, so there’s still the option.

Trim levels

Power options

  • You!
  • Plus
  • Max
  • C4 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine (99bhp)
  • C4 1.2-litre PureTech Hybrid 100 mild-hybrid petrol engine (99bhp)
  • e-C4 single electric motor (111bhp)

 

MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions

Although official fuel economy and emissions figures are yet to be confirmed, the Citroen C3 should prove pretty frugal in petrol and PureTech Hybrid guise because these engines used in other Citroen, Peugeot and Vauxhall models (among others) are very efficient. Now though, there’s also an e-C3 electric model which should prove cheap to run, boasts up to 199 miles to a charge and is cheap to buy, too. Read more about the Citroen C3's MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions...

Engines, drive & performance

Don’t expect the Citroen C3 to be an engaging car to drive – it’s quite slow even in electric e-C3 guise, and doesn’t take to being pushed hard well. Thrash the petrol engine or even electric motor hard and the C3 isn’t particularly refined either. However, when it comes to comfort – a Citroen speciality – the C3 delivers around town and on most roads at a more relaxed pace, even if it can feel unsettled at times. Read more about the Citroen C3's engines, drive & performance...

Interior & comfort

The Citroen C3 is a budget model and nowhere is this more apparent than on the interior. Base models don’t even get an infotainment system but there is a smartphone holder so you can use your own device. Cost-cutting is evident elsewhere with the widespread use of cheap plastics, but there are some interesting quirks to the cabin such as a thin slit on the dash where the driver’s display is mounted, and we like that the climate controls are operated by physical knobs and switches. Read more about the Citroen C3's interior & comfort...

Boot space, practicality & dimensions 

The upright proportions of the Citroen C3 have translated to a surprising amount of interior space for a supermini, so two six-foot tall adult rear passengers can travel in relative comfort. The boot is not class-leading, but it’s a reasonable size, although there’s a distinct lack of storage solutions in the rear. Read more about the Citroen C3's boot space, practicality & dimensions...

Reliability & safety

Citroen performs well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, and while the previous-generation C3 came in 31st place, the closely-related Citroen C4 came in the top spot out of the 75 cars that featured, so the brand is doing something right. Citroen’s warranty is still quite mediocre, though, and the Citroen C3 is yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, so safety is a grey area. Read more about the Citroen C3's reliability & safety...

Citroen C3 alternatives

The Citroen C3 is very different from the model it replaces, riding higher and blurring the lines between hatchback and small SUV more than before, so it goes up against a varied list of rivals from both body styles.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Should you buy a Citroen C3?

The Citroen C3 is an affordable hatchback with SUV-inspired styling which is bound to be a hit with buyers, but it’s the e-C3 that has the real potential to be a game changer because of its incredibly low price for an EV.

However, it’s very evident on all versions of the model that there has been significant cost-cutting to achieve that attractive price tag. The interior is full of scratchy cheap plastic, with entry-level models not even getting an infotainment screen (somewhat unheard of in 2024). Put your foot down and you’ll notice a considerable lack of refinement when driving the C3 in petrol and – more surprisingly – even in electric form.

The Citroen C3 is comfortable at low speeds, though, which has become a trademark for the brand, although it definitely comes at the expense of an uninspiring and numb driving experience.

The C3’s warranty is essentially the industry standard, with competitors offering more peace of mind, but reliability figures for Citroen’s tried-and-tested engines seem to be positive. All in all, while the Citroen C3 may not excel specifically in any area and has some downsides, it’s also priced incredibly competitively, especially in electric e-C3 guise, which considerably helps its case.

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Citroen C3 range?

We would go for a Citroen C3 in the middle Plus trim, as it adds most equipment you’d expect of a 2024 car, including the easy-to-use infotainment system, rather than the base spec’s smartphone holder. If you’re debating whether to go for a petrol C3 or electric e-C3, then the choice is quite hard given the fact that both are very cheap for what they are. The e-C3 may well be the car that convinces lots of buyers to make the switch to electric power if they have weighed up all their options and find that they can make an EV work around their life now that cost is less of a factor – just don’t expect it to reinvent the wheel.

How we tested the Citroen C3

We drove the Citroen C3 and e-C3 on a variety of different roads in Austria in May 2024.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech You 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £14,120

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech You 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £14,120

Fastest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech 110 Max 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £21,075

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Polestar 3 review – upmarket and well built, but not sporty
Polestar 3 front quarter dynamic
In-depth reviews
17 Jun 2024

Polestar 3 review – upmarket and well built, but not sporty

New DS flagship: chic, aero-focused EV to draw on 1960s heritage
DS electric car render
News
14 Jun 2024

New DS flagship: chic, aero-focused EV to draw on 1960s heritage

Retro throwback! Fiat Grande Panda channels iconic 1980s hatch
Fiat Grande Panda front quarter
News
14 Jun 2024

Retro throwback! Fiat Grande Panda channels iconic 1980s hatch

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Have You Considered

MINI Cooper review – cheeky and fun as ever, but a harsh ride
MINI Cooper front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
30 May 2024

MINI Cooper review – cheeky and fun as ever, but a harsh ride

MG3 review – affordable, efficient and fun-to-drive supermini
MG3
In-depth reviews
29 May 2024

MG3 review – affordable, efficient and fun-to-drive supermini

Most Popular

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

More on C3

Show me:
Top 10 best cars for students 2024
Best cars for students
Best cars
6 Jun 2024

Top 10 best cars for students 2024

Affordability, safety and practicality are top priorities for students – these 10 cars are your best options
New £21,990 Citroen e-C3 becomes UK’s cheapest 200-mile EV
Citroen e-C3
News
30 May 2024

New £21,990 Citroen e-C3 becomes UK’s cheapest 200-mile EV

A new Citroen e-C3 is on sale from July, and will significantly undercut rivals at just under £22,000
All-new Citroen C3 is here! Bargain French supermini gets hybrid tech
Citroen C3 front quarter
News
30 May 2024

All-new Citroen C3 is here! Bargain French supermini gets hybrid tech

The Citroen C3 gets a complete makeover, promising to be more efficient and comfortable than before
Hot car deal: top-spec Citroen C3 hatchback for just £127 per month
Citroen C3 tracking
Deals
22 Mar 2024

Hot car deal: top-spec Citroen C3 hatchback for just £127 per month

Our hot car deal for March 22nd is the stylish Citroen C3 supermini for just £127 per month
Citroën C3 hatchback review (2017-2024)
Citroen C3 hatchback front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
13 Nov 2023

Citroën C3 hatchback review (2017-2024)

“The Citroen C3 is now just as quirky as iconic models from the French firm’s past, boasting novel features that help it stand out”
Citroen e-C3 set to be UK’s cheapest electric supermini
Citroen e-C3 render
News
16 Jun 2023

Citroen e-C3 set to be UK’s cheapest electric supermini

A £21,000 starting price means the e-C3 will undercut the MG4 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric
New sustainable Citroen C3 could only be offered as a lease
Citroen C3 - front
News
22 Dec 2022

New sustainable Citroen C3 could only be offered as a lease

Citroen is preparing to debut its next-generation Vauxhall Corsa rival, with replaceable parts and an optional electric powertrain
Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month
Renault Captur Iconic
Best cars
22 Nov 2022

Top 10 best cars for under £150 per month

Although supply shortages have increased waiting times and limited model ranges, it’s still possible to get a shiny new car for £150 a month
Skip advert
Advertisement
New Citroen C3 Shine is an online-exclusive trim level
Citroen C3 Shine
News
4 Aug 2022

New Citroen C3 Shine is an online-exclusive trim level

Citroen adds a sixth trim level to its small hatchback’s lineup, with two-tone paint and lots of kit
New Citroen C3 Elle starts at £18,150
Citroen C3 Elle front corner
News
18 May 2022

New Citroen C3 Elle starts at £18,150

The French car manufacturer is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Citroen C3 with a special edition Elle model
Citroen range gets new ‘C-Series Edition’ trim
C3 C-Series
News
14 Apr 2022

Citroen range gets new ‘C-Series Edition’ trim

The Citroen C3, C3 Aircross SUV, C4 and C5 Aircross get a new value-focused trim level
New Citroen C3 You supermini starts at £12,995
2022 Citroen C3 You
News
11 Apr 2022

New Citroen C3 You supermini starts at £12,995

Citroen takes aim at the Dacia Sandero with its new entry level C3, which replaces the C1
Top 10 best cars for £15,000
Kia Picanto X-Line
Best cars
16 Feb 2022

Top 10 best cars for £15,000

If your budget for a new car is £15k, you can choose from an appealing selection of hatchbacks and SUVs. Here are the best ones
2021 Citroen C3 updated with more equipment
2021 Citroen C3
News
21 Oct 2021

2021 Citroen C3 updated with more equipment

Citroen has announced a set of updates for the C3 supermini, including the withdrawal of the Shine trim
2020 Citroen C3 facelift arrives with a price of £16,280
2020 Citron C3 - front 3/4 static
News
1 Jun 2020

2020 Citroen C3 facelift arrives with a price of £16,280

Citroen C3 supermini receives a mild facelift for 2020 with additional personalisation options
Top 3 used first cars for £6,000
Top 3 used first cars for £6,000
Tips and advice
20 Mar 2020

Top 3 used first cars for £6,000

“Dear Carbuyer, I’m looking for a first car for my daughter that’s easy to drive. What can you recommend for £6,000?”
Citroen C3 Flair review
Citroen C3 Flair hatchback front 3/4 tracking
News
21 Aug 2019

Citroen C3 Flair review

The C3 Flair trim brings a much-needed dose of fresh and funky fun to a segment desperately in need of it.
Skip advert
Advertisement
Used Citroen C3 buying guide: 2010-2016 (Mk2)
Used car reviews
8 Jan 2018

Used Citroen C3 buying guide: 2010-2016 (Mk2)

The Mk2 C3 hatchback might not stand out from a crowd on looks, but its low purchase price and running costs are undeniably attractive
Citroen C3 2017: full prices and specifications
7 Feb 2017

Citroen C3 2017: full prices and specifications

Full specifications, facts and figures for the 2017 Citroen C3 have been announced
Citroën C3 hatchback (2009-2016)
In-depth reviews
21 Jul 2016

Citroën C3 hatchback (2009-2016)

"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 m…

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024