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Citroen C3 Review & Prices

The Citroen C3 is a comfortable small car with stand-out styling and an affordable price tag. However, it’s not the best for rear passengers and alternatives are better to drive

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RRP £13,995 - £22,215 Avg. Carwow saving £2,341 off RRP
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£13,314
Monthly
£193*
Used
£9,151
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wowscore
6/10
Reviewed by Jamie Edkins after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Comfortable to drive
  • Unique design
  • Decent equipment levels

What's not so good

  • Tight rear seat space
  • Cheap-feeling interior
  • Infotainment isn't the best

Find out more about the Citroen C3

Is the Citroen C3 a good car?

The Citroen C3 is a stylish alternative to small cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa or Kia Rio. If those cars are a practical rucksack, the C3 is more like a funky messenger bag.

The exterior has a bit more style then your standard city car, and there are plenty of personalisation options on offer such as two tone paint and various decals to help you stand out.

The stylish bag theme carries over to the interior, where you have some leather-looking straps to close the door. Some models come with wood-effect trim on the dashboard as well, and it’s a welcome addition to the otherwise quite drab-looking cabin.

The material quality isn’t up there with the likes of the Volkswagen Polo either. There are a lot of scratchy plastics around the place, and bits of the cabin feel flimsy. That said, the C3 is more affordable than the Polo, and you do get a decent amount of equipment.

All models get air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity for your phone and cruise control. All but the entry-level car also get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Space in the front of the C3 is decent. There’s a good amount of adjustment in the seats, and the steering wheel can be moved for reach and height. That said, taller drivers may be left wanting a bit more legroom.

The Citroen C3 stands out from more sensible alternatives like a bottle of chocolate milk in the semi-skimmed aisle at the supermarket

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

The front seats are like big, comfy armchairs. They’re soft and yielding, although there’s not much lateral support to hold you in place through the bends. Things aren’t quite so comfortable in the back though. Headroom is average (and even tighter if you have the optional panoramic roof), and the C3 lags behind the Skoda Fabia for legroom.

In terms of interior cubbies, the C3 has some decent-sized door bins and a storage area with some cup holders in front of the gearstick. There is also a slot for your mobile phone below the infotainment screen, but it’s not really big enough for larger phones with the cable attached. The small glove box is the only real let-down in terms of cabin storage.

The C3 has a 300-litre boot. That’s a touch smaller than the Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa, and it’s considerably less space than you get in the Volkswagen Polo. It is a bit bigger than the Ford Fiesta’s though, and there’s plenty of space for the weekly shop or a pushchair.

On the road you can tell that this car is geared towards comfort over driving thrills. It’s not as much fun to drive as a Seat Ibiza or Ford Fiesta, but the soft suspension means it deals with bumps very well, and it’s also pretty quiet on the motorway.

Engine-wise, you have a choice of two 1.2-litre petrols and a 1.5-litre diesel. The more powerful of the two petrols, with 110hp, is the best all-rounder, offering zippy performance and decent economy. The 84hp petrol is a bit lethargic out of town, but perfectly capable within it. The diesel is a bit more expensive, and only really worth considering if you spend a lot of time on the motorway.

There are more practical small cars out there, and the Citroen C3 isn’t the most fun to drive either, but if neither of those things matter to you then it’s a comfortable and good-looking option which offers more kit for the cash than a lot of alternatives.

Keen on making a C3 your next car? Check out the latest Citroen C3 deals available through carwow, and on Citroen’s whole range of models, or check out the latest used Citroens available now. And if you’re selling your current car, see how you can do that through carwow too.

How much is the Citroen C3?

The Citroen C3 has a RRP range of £13,995 to £22,215. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,341. Prices start at £13,314 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £193. The price of a used Citroen C3 on Carwow starts at £9,151.

Our most popular versions of the Citroen C3 are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.2 PureTech You 5dr £13,314 Compare offers

The Citroen C3 undercuts a lot of its alternatives on price, but it’s worth noting that the entry-level model is sparsely equipped. Even when you step up to the mid-spec version it’s still quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

Performance and drive comfort

The Citroen C3 is pretty comfortable for a small car and it’s easy to manoeuvre in town, however it’s not the most fun hatchback to drive

In town

The Citroen C3 is the most at-home in town. Its small size makes it easy to squeeze into tight parking spaces, you have decent all-round visibility and the steering is nice and light.

There is a bit of a blind spot over your shoulder, however all but the entry-level car gets a reversing camera to help mitigate this while parking. That entry-level model doesn’t have parking sensors either, so if you’re not too confident in car parks, you’ll want one of the higher trim levels.

The suspension also does a great job of dealing with broken city streets. It irons out potholes nicely, and you have to hit a bump pretty hard before it sends a thump through the cabin.

The best engine to go for is the 110hp 1.2-litre petrol because it’s nippy and economical. If you only drive in town, the 82hp version will also be fine, but bear in mind that it’s not available with an automatic gearbox, if that is important to you. That said, the auto isn’t the best – it’s slow to respond when you put your foot down, and hesitant and jerky when changing gear.

Go for the manual version and the clutch is light, although the gear change feel a bit sloppy and the Ford Fiesta has a more slick shift. The brakes also feel pretty grabby, with a light brush of the pedal bringing you to an abrupt halt, which can make smooth progress tricky.

On the motorway

The C3 holds its own on the motorway. It feels pretty stable for such a small car, and the cabin remains nicely hushed at high speeds. You do get a slight rustling from the door mirrors, but that’s about it.

The suspension continues to perform well here too, with the soft setup keeping everything smooth and comfortable. You can get buffeted around by strong winds, however this is to be expected in a small hatchback.

All cars get cruise control to help take the strain out of long trips, however it’s not an adaptive system, which makes it less useful in heavy traffic. If you spend the majority of time on the motorway, you might want to consider the 1.5-litre diesel engine for its improved economy. The 82hp petrol feels out of its depth when things get faster, running out of puff pretty quickly, but the 110hp is a good all-rounder.

On a twisty road

It’s when you hit a country road that the comfy suspension shows its flaws. The C3’s body leans in the corners and the light steering doesn’t offer much in the way of feel. A Ford Fiesta is a lot more fun to drive.

The 110hp 1.2-litre engine is the best choice for country road driving. It offers enough power for overtaking as long as you’re willing to rev it hard, although it’s a bit noisy when you do.

If all you want is something to waft you home in comfort, the C3 does this pretty well. It irons out imperfections in the road nicely and it’s quite relaxing to drive. Just don’t expect it to be in any way thrilling.

Space and practicality

The Citroen C3 offers a decent-sized boot and finding your ideal driving position is reasonably straightforward. Those in the back will be less comfortable though, thanks to a lack of legroom

The front seats of the Citroen C3 are impressively comfortable for such a small car. They’re more akin to soft armchairs really, although there’s not much in the way of side support to hold you in place through corners. That said, you can spend hours sitting in them and you’ll get out feeling fresh.

Finding your ideal driving position is pretty easy as well. The steering wheel can adjust for height and reach which is handy, although there is no height adjustment for the driver’s seat. Exceptionally tall drivers may also find that the seat doesn't quite go back far enough.

As for cubby spaces, they’re fairly average in the C3. There are some cupholders in front of the gear lever with a small slot for your phone above this, although those with larger phones may find they don’t fit. You also only get half a glovebox, with the other half taken up by the fuse box.

Space in the back seats

Rear seat room is not the Citroen C3’s strong suit. Headroom is pretty tight, something which is made worse if you go for the optional panoramic glass roof, and leg room isn’t particularly generous either. A Skoda Fabia is better for carrying people in the rear.

It’s okay for carrying three in the back though. The middle seat is nice and wide, there’s adequate shoulder room for such a small car and there’s plenty of room for everyone's feet in the wide footwells.

If you need to carry smaller passengers, this is straightforward as well. The C3 is only available as a five-door, and the rear doors open plenty wide enough to get a child seat through with little faff. The ISOFIX anchor points are also easily accessible.

What's not so easily accessible is USB sockets to charge your devices, because there are none in the back. In fact, there’s only one USB charging port in the whole car. What you do get in the rear are decent-sized door bins, but that’s your lot really.

Boot space

The pay-off for the below-par rear seat space can be seen in the boot, because it’s a generous size for a small car.

You get 300 litres of space with the rear seats in place. That’s eight litres more than a Ford Fiesta’s boot, and it trumps the Suzuki Swift by 35 litres. It’s not quite as big as the Dacia Sandero though, that car offers 328 litres of space.

While you get a good amount of space, there aren’t many clever features in the boot aside from a couple of tie-down points. A couple of shopping bag hooks or a 12-volt socket wouldn’t go amiss.

Loading and unloading your luggage is also made more difficult by the big load lip to lift stuff over. Unlike in the Volkswagen Polo, there’s no option of a false floor to flatten this out so it’s something you’ll just have to put up with.

Fold the back seats down and you have 992 litres of space. That’s actually around 100 litres less than the Fiesta, and it’s almost 200 litres smaller than the Skoda Fabia’s load area. The lack of a false floor comes back into play here as well because the seats don’t lie completely flat, meaning there’s a big ridge in the floor to haul heavy items over.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Citroen C3 has a quirky-looking cabin with plenty of nice design touches to help it stand out, however the build quality and dated infotainment system let it down

The overall design of the Citroen C3’s cabin is pretty nice and there are some funky touches which help it stand out. You get some leather-effect straps to pull the door closed, and you can choose between wood or Alcantara trim on the dashboard.

Once you start prodding around though, you’ll find that the materials themselves are actually quite flimsy, especially when compared to something like a Renault Clio. Most of the plastics are hard and scratchy, although you do get some padding on the door armrests for added comfort.

The base-spec Citroen C3 just gets a black and white central screen with DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone. All other models get a 7.0-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s an okay system to use. It can be a bit slow to respond, and some of the menus are a tad confusing, but if all you do is plug in your phone it’ll be fine. What’s not so good is the fact that all of the climate settings are controlled through this screen.

There are some shortcut buttons for things like demisting the window, but actually adjusting the temperature and fan speed on the move can be frustrating when you’re stabbing away at the relatively small on-screen buttons.

If you want built-in sat nav then you’ll have to go with the top-spec Shine Plus version, however it doesn’t work as well as the navigation apps you can get on your phone so it’s not really worth upgrading just for this feature.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Citroen C3 is available with two petrol engines. They’re both 1.2-litre units, one with 83hp and the other with 110hp. You can also have a 1.5-litre diesel with 102hp, however this is only available on the top-spec car.

The lower powered petrol is only available with a manual gearbox, as is the diesel. If you go for the 110hp petrol, you get a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard, with the manual version only available in range-topping Shine Plus trim.

If you do most of your driving in town, the 83hp petrol will be sufficient. It has enough punch for nipping around city streets, although you may find it runs out of puff at higher speeds. The 110hp petrol is the best all-rounder, as it offers a good blend of performance and economy.

The diesel is only really worth considering if you do a lot of motorway miles and need the better fuel economy because it’s more expensive to buy than the petrols. It’ll return a claimed 71mpg, compared to 54mpg from the 83hp petrol and 51mpg from the 110hp petrol.

Those looking for the lowest company car tax will want the 110hp petrol as it’s the lowest-polluting engine. That said, the lack of any hybrid options may steer company car buyers towards something like a Renault Clio.

Safety and security

The Citroen C3 scored four out of five stars in its 2017 Euro NCAP safety tests, with one star being knocked off due to a lack of standard driver assistance features. The actual structure of the car should protect you pretty well should the worst happen.

You do get lane departure warning as standard, as well as cruise control, however you have to step up to the mid-spec car if you want a reversing camera. Only top-spec cars get front collision warning and auto high beams.

Reliability and problems

Overall, there are no major reliability issues to report with the Citroen C3 and most owners report them to be dependable cars.

All new Citroen models come with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty for added peace of mind. This is pretty standard for a lot of brands, however it’s not as generous as the five-year warranty you get with the Hyundai i20 or the seven-year coverage of the Kia Rio.

Buy or lease the Citroen C3 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
Spring Sale
RRP £13,995 - £22,215 Avg. Carwow saving £2,341 off RRP
Carwow price from
Cash
£13,314
Monthly
£193*
Used
£9,151
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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