Citroen C3 1.6 VTi Exclusive review

Stylish exterior

December 2009

picture of car from the front picture of car from the rear picture of car interior picture of car detail

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5 stars


  • Stylish exterior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Excellent visibility
  • Decent rear legroom


  • 1.6 VTi petrol engine feels flat
  • Tiny glovebox
  • Lifeless steering lacks feel
  • Fiddly entertainment controls spoil excellent control layout

The B-segment never stands still for very long and the current generation of superminis is the best yet. Citroen's new C3 joins the party aiming to bring increased refinement, quality, style and some unique styling touches to the segment.

With more than two million examples of the last generation Citroen C3 sold, the French manufacturer has placed greater emphasis on quality in the new model. Increased competition from dynamic new models in the competitive small hatchback or supermini B-segment means that perceived quality, equipment and refinement are more important than ever. With this in mind, Citroen has designed a sharply styled model that aims to deliver high levels of comfort and practicality alongside some distinctive touches.

The most obvious of these is the Zenith windscreen, available from mid-range models up. Offering 30 per cent more glass area, the huge windscreen sweeps up into the C3's roof, allowing in more light and making the interior feel more spacious. Naturally, it increases visibility but not only for driver and front seat passenger; rear occupants also get a better view as a result. A sliding headliner complete with sun visors reverts it back to a normal windscreen where required.

The C3 comes with a range of compact petrol and diesel variants from 60 to 118bhp. A four-speed automatic gearbox option is present for the most powerful petrol unit, the rest come equipped with a five-speed manual only, with the exception of most powerful diesel unit which boasts a six-speed gearbox. Trim levels adhere to Citroen norms, but an additional 99g/km CO2 producing model called Airdream+ is also available.

Outside, the new C3 mixes a compact, domed design with stylistic touches such as boomerang lights and a flush rounded nose. The five-door hatch format is traditional but the styling more charismatic than the outgoing model. Higher quality materials have been introduced to the stylised interior and additional metallic trim gives a more upmarket feel.

Our verdict on the Citroen C3 1.6 VTi Exclusive

The Citroen C3 is only let down by the lifeless performance of the 118bhp VTi petrol engine. In every other department the new model is an improvement on the old C3, offering a measured mix of practicality, refinement and style. The Zenith windscreen is a smart idea neatly executed and the C3's comfortable ride and ease of use combine well with its stylish exterior and interior design to offer an attractive package.