This pleases me. I like a car that, whilst competing deep within the supermini sector, offers a little bit of flair and individuality that sets it apart. Such is the case with the Citroen C3 you see here, loaned to me in the top-specification Flair trim (see below). Admittedly I’m biased, being a fan of the brand and indeed a Citroen owner but this car has real merit in my opinion.
The Look Of The Citroen C3
I love the look of this chunky car with its low-set headlights. Citroen have always styled (or nearly always as the Xantia springs to mind) their vehicles a little differently and that’s a good thing. It truly does stand out from the herd of similarly shaped hatchbacks. It looks especially fine in this Onyx black paint (at extra cost)with matching roof. On the Flair model the air-bumps carried over from the Cactus are standard. I much prefer the single line over the big pad. A bit more subtle.
If this colour is a bit too goth for you then there’s plenty of personalisation options in the form of different body, roof and mirror colours. I particularly like it in white with red highlights, for example.
Yes, I Know; It’s A Diesel Citroen C3
There’s the usual mix of engines on offer. The petrol line-up includes a 1.2L three-pot with either 67bhp or 81bhp and a turbocharged version of the same engine with 109bhp. This would be my personal choice as it’s both lively and efficient. The four-cylinder diesel engines, the more powerful of which is driven here, are of 1.6L capacity and offer either 74bhp or 99bhp.
Citroen reckon that in the C3 even the least economical engine should return over 60mpg, the diesels more. The 99bhp motor tested here has an official combined figure of 76.3mpg. You’d have to drive parsimoniously to see that I guess but we did achieve a high 60’s effort despite exercising the engine’s (187lb.ft) torquey potential. 62mph rushes up to you in just over 10 seconds so there’s a fair amount of spirit. At no time did the car feel laboured or out of its depth. there’s the inevitable diesel grumble but it settles down to a quiet hum once up to speed.
Diesel, despite being cleaner than ever, is still getting a really bad press just now and it is all a bit unfair. I wouldn’t believe everything you read. There’s still life in the oil-burners yet.
Riding In The Citroen C3
Cars like the Fiesta will certainly offer the keen driver a tauter ride but that’s not the be all and end all. It would be fair to call the ride ‘compliant’ and it may be too soft for some. Accepting however that this is not a hot hatch or sports car most users I suspect will like the comfort. We did many miles – which is why the C3 is not entirely pristine in my snaps – and found it not in the least tiring. Comfort is the name of the game here.
For preference in this version I would have liked a long sixth gear. The not especially crisp-shifting five speed manual (there’s an auto option I haven’t tried) would be fine for the lower powered versions perhaps but on this strong diesel I felt it could have been a bit longer-legged.
And speaking of long-legged, the Citroen C3 suffers the same lack of rear seat space as many of the competitors. It’s not the worst for leg room but it doesn’t win prizes either. On the plus side, with the back seats up, there’s a generous 300L of space in the boot.
Where the car does score though is on the technology front. The company have really packed the kit in. It’s itemised on the specification below so I won’t bang on about it here; suffice to say it’s all present and correct, although model dependent.
The surprise tech offering is an integrated dashcam called ConnectedCam – which allows drivers to either capture drive highlights to upload to the social sites, or use in the event of an accident to capture evidence. I go on about dashcams on DriveWrite all the time so this is a great feature; it is just a pity that it is standard only on the range-topper. The C3 as tested here costs £19,805, including options, which is getting a bit tasty for this sector.
Overall then the interior is airy and spacious thanks to the large sunroof and it all looks fresh and modern. The Citroen C3 is in my view an immensely likeable motor that would make a great small family car. Geoff Maxted