Expert Reviews

First Drive: Citroen C3

Monday 17 October 2016

First Drive: Citroen C3

The Citroen C3 coming as the French manufacturer’s best-selling car, so there’s a huge amount of pressure to deliver weighing on the shoulders of this latest incarnation. 

Citroen is aiming the new C3 at a much younger demographic than before. That’s why you’ll find a whole range of customisation options, as well as smartphone and social media connectivity. This is being delivered without losing the exceptional ride comfort that Citroen is known for. Three petrol engines are available: a PureTech 82 petrol, as well as two diesels.

Looks & Image

One of the key components of Citroen’s new strategy is being desirable to young people. That means that its new cars need to appear fresh and good-looking in the eyes of its potential customers. As such, the new C3 wears thin daytime running lights above its chunky main lights. This gives the car a modern look that helps its stand out from the crowd.

With 36 possible colour combinations and many more personalisation options, the C3 is a car which can really be changed to suit the driver. Citroen’s Advanced Comfort programme also ensures that anyone inside the C3 feels relaxed, thanks to good levels of interior space and ride comfort. 

Space & Practicality

Having plenty of storage space is critical in the B-segment, and thankfully it’s an area in which the C3 lives up to expectations. A large 300-litre boot provides enough room for two suitcases, as well as other items. Inside, large door bins mean there’s space for water bottles, while the 6.25-litre glovebox is larger than any of the C3’s competitors. There’s also a 22mm increase in leg room for front passengers, meaning it’s spacious up front. However, those in the back may feel a little cramped. 

Citroens of late have had a consistent problem with ergonomics. Although the C3’s driving position has been improved, it still isn’t quite where you want it to be. The infotainment system is partly obscured by the steering wheel, which means you sometimes have to lean over in order to see what is being displayed. Surprisingly, the C3 comes with lane departure alert as standard – something you’d expect to see on a car in a much higher price bracket.

Behind the Wheel

The C3 is best suited to city driving. Thanks to light steering, the car is easy to manoeuvre through tight spaces and is a doddle to park, too. Low overhangs mean that it’s easy to judge where the car starts and finishes, which is ideal for a small city car. The car’s gearbox isn’t particularly precise, but with thanks to a light clutch it’s easy to operate.

The C3’s light steering does become a bit of an issue at higher speeds, with the front tyres feeling like they could wash out at a moment’s notice. However it rides without too much body roll, which means that cornering isn’t too much of a chore.

Value for Money

The new C3 has been introduced with a promise of providing excellent value for money. It may no longer be the cheap option, but it offers much more than a standard city car. Even the most basic trim levels include driver alert systems and DAB digital radio. 

Mid-spec Feel cars get bigger 16-inch alloy wheels and three different roof colours to choose from. There’s also Apple CarPlay and a seven-inch touchscreen display.

Top-spec Flair models have fog light surrounds that match the colour of the wing mirrors, as well as reversing sensors. There’s also Citroen’s ConnectedCam, which uses a rear-facing camera to record the area surrounding the car. Buyers can choose from nine exterior colours, and three roof optins, as well as four interior styles.

Who would buy one ?

Citroen is hoping to attract new and younger buyers to the brand. The C3 certainly delivers on this, offering good levels of practicality in a package that is fresh and good-looking.


Facts at a Glance

Model: Citroen C3 PureTech 82 Flair
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol (80bhp)
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Performance: 0-62mph in 12.8 seconds, 107mph top speed
Economy: 60.1mpg
Emissions: 108g/km

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