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Citroën C3 hatchback (2009-2016) - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

2.4 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

2.2 out of 5

With such a strong focus on comfort, the Citroen C3 isn’t as fun to drive as the Citroen DS3, Ford Fiesta or Volkswagen Polo, because it has very light and rather vague steering, as well as a tendency to lean too much in corners.

But these characteristics also make the C3 very easy to drive in town and surprisingly comfortable for longer motorway trips, where it remains very quiet.

Citroen C3 petrol engines

Our pick of the petrol range would be the 1.2-litre PureTech 82 petrol, which goes from 0-62mph in 14.2 seconds when fitted with a manual gearbox. The entry-level petrol engine has 68bhp and can feel underpowered unless you’re just driving around town. The 1.2-litre PureTech 110 feels nippy, with 0-62mph achieved in 10.6 seconds.

We’d avoid the ETG automatic gearbox with the PureTech 82 petrol engine, as its slow and jerky gearchanges adversely affect the car’s performance. If you really need an automatic supermini, the VW Polo fitted with a DSG gearbox is far smoother to drive.

Diesel engines

The best diesel engine is the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 100. This gets from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds. The entry-level diesel, which offers 73bhp, is not recommended. Like the equivalent petrol, it feels underpowered outside town, and being a diesel it’s not the best choice for low-mileage urban drivers.

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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

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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