The Citroen C3 has quirky looks and a cabin that’s comfortable unless you’re a tall person in the back. However, it’s hard to drive smoothly in town and the infotainment system is clunky
The Citroen C3 is an eye-catching small car that’s comfortable and quiet to drive, although alternative models have more space in the back and are better to drive.
Few have the Citroen’s style or level of personalisation, though. You can choose from nine shades of paint, three contrasting roof colours and – in the top-of-the-range model – two colours for the protective plastic cladding (Citroen calls Airbumps) that run down the side of the car. There are also a couple of £250 packs that add orange or white highlights to the interior.
The striking styling of the outside is mirrored inside, where you get a rectangular theme and leather-effect door pulls that look cooler than the moulded ones you get in other small cars. There’s even an element of customisation available (on all but the entry-level model) with Citroen letting you choose from two interior themes – Red Urban or Hype Colorado.
There’s only one option for the infotainment system, though. It’s neither the sharpest looking nor quickest touchscreen available in this sort of car, but its saving grace is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available. So all but entry-level C3s (which don’t get the touchscreen) can mirror the sat-nav on your compatible smartphone.
Sitting in the C3’s driver’s seat is a bit like slouching down in a big comfortable sofa – the front chairs are wide and yielding, although they don’t offer much support in bends. It isn’t quite so comfortable in the back seats – headroom is just average (and even tighter if you spec the panoramic sunroof) and a Nissan Micra has more knee room.
In terms of interior cubbies, the Citroen is only really let down by the small glovebox because its door bins are big and it has a number of smaller storage areas.
The 300-litre boot is also a reasonable capacity for this size of car. It’ll happily swallow a pushchair or a couple suitcases, but it would be easier to load if you got an adjustable boot floor like you get in the VW Polo.
Citroen hasn’t bothered trying to make the C3 fun to drive like a Ford Fiesta, instead its soft suspension means it’s very comfortable for a car like this and the cabin is also relatively quiet on the motorway.
The Citroen C3 stands out from more sensible alternatives like a bottle of chocolate milk in the semi-skimmed aisle at the supermarket
It’s not the safest though – it scored four stars compared to the five stars Euro NCAP awarded the SEAT Ibiza. Top end models do get automatic emergency braking, though, which can stop the car automatically at slow speeds if it detects something in your path.
Engines include three petrols and three diesels. The two more powerful petrols are cheap to buy, cost little to run and have zippy performance that makes them ideal for a small car that’ll probably spend a lot of time in town. The more expensive diesels are only worth considering if you have a very high mileage where their improved fuel economy will pay off.
The C3’s absolutely deserves a place on your shortlist, though. It may fall down on rear seat space and driving fun, but its interesting styling is sure to win hearts.
You can read more detailed and in-depth analysis of the Citroen C3 in the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers are available on the C3, visit our deals page.