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Summary

Citroen has always excelled at doing things a bit differently, with bold and imaginative cars that stand out from the crowd. The brand’s C3 supermini continues to do just that, but what else can it offer other than style?

Pros

  • Fun styling 

  • Efficient engines

  • Comfy ride

Cons

  • Rivals may be more enjoyable to drive 

  • Doesn’t have the biggest boot 

  • Interior quality could be better in places

Introduction

French car manufacturers are known for their imaginative ideas, with both Peugeot and Renault proving particularly innovative at times. But it’s Citroen that stands out the most – from its funky looks to its focus on comfort (most brands prioritise ‘sportiness’ instead) and bold colour options.

And this funkiness is even shown in the brand’s smaller cars – not least the Citroen C3 which goes head-to-head with a Ford Fiesta. The third-generation C3 arrived in 2016 as a more youthful take on the supermini, bringing more in the way of connectivity and personalisation than ever before. 

Latest model

5 after its introduction, and with more than 750,000 C3s sold, Citroen gave its supermini a welcome update. Undoubtedly the biggest change here, though, is the enhanced personalisation – building on what the C3 did well before. Citroen says there are now 97 colour combinations on offer, thanks to a range of colours packs which help to bring extra flair. 

Elsewhere the C3 gains LED headlights as standard for the first time, along with additional driver assistance technology. This latest model also takes advantage of Citroen’s new ‘Comfort Seats’, which feel more cushioned and soft than normal chairs. 

Driving feel

Manufacturers are constantly striving to make their cars sportier, but often at the expense of comfort. That’s a path Citroen doesn’t follow with its C3, as this supermini was designed from the outset to be as soft as possible. Even without the ‘Comfort Seats’ fitted (they only come on top-spec models), the ride is very supple and ideal for the UK’s harsh roads. Some drivers might find the setup a bit too floaty for their liking, though. 

This focus on comfort does mean the Citroen C3 doesn’t handle quite so well as rivals like the Ford Fiesta, but if you’re looking for a comfortable hatchback that’s easy to drive, it’s hard to beat it in this respect.

Looks and image

Cars are often criticised these days for looking too similar to one another, but that’s not something you can say about the Citroen C3. From the eye-catching stacked headlights to the bold colour palette and Citroen’s ‘Airbumps’ – the padded strips on the doors that aim to protect against car parks – this is an imaginative-looking supermini that certainly stands out. You can also make the most of Citroen’s enhanced personalisation. 

That character also extends to the interior, with the French manufacturer offering new ‘Ambiences’ that bring wooden details and lighter-coloured interior trim – Citroen saying this is a nod to Scandinavian furniture. Cool details like fabric straps to open the doors are also an interesting touch, while all versions benefit from a 7-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring included. The quality does feel a bit underwhelming in places, though it’s easy to forget the C3 is one of the brand’s most affordable cars. 

Space

The C3 isn’t the most spacious car in its class, but it’s unlikely to disappoint if you’re looking for a small family car. 

Rear space isn’t overly generous but is fine for children or adults on shorter journeys, while the boot space measures 300 litres, which is average for the class. Folding the rear seats increases the room on offer to 922 litres. 

Engines and running costs

A good range of petrol and diesel engines are available on the Citroen C3, with an 82bhp 1.2-litre petrol kicking off the range. This is best-suited to town use, as a 0-60mph time of 15 seconds makes it a bit slow to recommend. 

Our vote would go towards the turbocharged 1.2-litre ‘Puretech’ petrol engine, which produces 108bhp, and is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic – it’s the only auto offered in the C3 range.

And if you fancy a diesel C3, Citroen offers a 99bhp 1.5-litre unit as well. 

Regardless of engine choice, the C3 should be affordable to run - with all petrol options return around 50mpg, with the diesel managing a pleasing 62.8mpg. Low CO2 emissions of between 117g/km and 134g/km are offered across the range. 

Powertrains

  • 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol (82bhp)

  • 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol (108bhp)

  • 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel (99bhp)

Rivals

Trim levels

Three trim levels are offered on the Citroen C3. Here are the highlights... 

Feel 

  • Cruise control

  • Lane departure warning

  • Traffic sign recognition

  • LED headlights

  • Front fog lights

  • Electric front windows

  • Trip computer

  • Electric heated and folding door mirrors 

  • Automatic air conditioning

  • 7-inch touchscreen

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

  • Bluetooth

  • DAB radio

Flair (in addition to Feel) - from £249 per month with Smart Lease

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • Black roof and door mirrors

  • Leather steering wheel

  • Automatic lights and wipers

  • Rear parking sensors

Flair Plus

  • Autonomous emergency braking

  • Driver attention alert

  • High beam assist

  • Electric rear windows

  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror

  • 17-inch alloy wheels

  • Reversing camera

  • Advanced Comfort seats

  • Satellite navigation

  • CItroen emergency assistance

The Citroen C3 is now available in the Smart Lease range for a limited time from £249 per month. Find out more about leasing a Citroen C3.

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