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Citroen C3 Review

Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3
Citroen C3

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2017
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
00/10
heycar rating
Stylish and relaxing small car

Best bits

  • Fun-loving design inside and out
  • Decent standard kit 
  • Efficient engines

Not so great

  • Lots of body roll in corners
  • Cramped in the back  
  • Auto is jerky and expensive

Read by

Citroen C3 Front

Overall verdict

Citroen C3 Interior

On the inside

Citroen C3 Driving

Driving

Citroen C3 Door Panel

How much does it cost to run

Citroen C3 Back Seats

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Citroen C3

"Some buyers drawn in by its funky looks will really gel with the C3's relaxed way of doing things. It's a soft, steady car that is best enjoyed driven in a steady manner, where its refinement and perky engine can shine. Still, its cramped rear seats, so-so quality and disjointed driving experience mean there are better choices."

Citroen C3 Front


Citroen has zeroed in on comfort and style as its defining features in recent years, and the C3 aims to offer plenty of both to distinguish itself from its rivals. The current car takes inspiration from the C4 Cactus, with distinctive split headlights, bright colours, and rubber 'Airbumps' in the doors to protect against carpark dings.


If you're sold on the styling, and the wide range of personalisation opportunities it provides, the chances are you've already made up your mind, but under that chic design is a fairly ordinary, but very likeable small car.


The C3 goes its own way by having no sporty pretensions at all. Instead, it offers a soft, compliant low-speed ride, very light controls, and suspension that has a lot of give, but struggles to control the car's movements. It's cushy to drive in urban streets as a result, but faster, more challenging roads soon see it run out of ideas.


That's too bad, because its 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine is really impressive, especially in its most powerful 110PS guise. This version has a turbocharger, making it really responsive and surprisingly zingy, with decent acceleration and enough pulling power to keep up with motorway traffic without getting flustered or strained.


It comes with a six-speed manual gearbox that's less wooly than the vague five-speed in the lower-powered 83PS version of this engine, and since this model is a lot slower and less efficient, we'd avoid it if you can.


The quicker model comes with the option of a six-speed automatic transmission, but it's jerky and dim-witted. There is also a diesel model that's incredibly efficient but also quite expensive. You'd have to cover seriously high annual mileages before the parsimonious 67mpg economy recouped the higher initial purchase price.


Inside, the cabin layout is as quirky and original as the exterior, with a fun 'rounded rectangle' theme in the doors, air vents, even the steering wheel controls - it's supposed to echo the shape of the grille; we like it. The front seats continue the comfort mantra of the driving experience, with lots of pillowy foam padding, but the driving position is less than ideal - especially for taller drivers - and its ergonomic foibles are frustrating.


Speaking of which, space in the back is more restrictive than in close rivals such as the Skoda Fabia. Adults will find the sloping roof eats into the available headroom, and knee room is also tighter than is comfortable.


It's got a good-sized boot that should cope with a variety of luggage, and it's deep and wide, making it easy to load items in and out, but we wish it had better functionality to make greater use of the available space. You do get a decent level of equipment for a reasonable price though. After its 2020 facelift all models come with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights and cruise. It doesn't cover all the essentials though; rear electric windows, alloy wheels and a leather wheel are missing.


In the right specification, the C3 is a pleasant small car with lots of personality, an excellent engine, and lots of kit, but its flawed driving experience, some patchy plastics and practicality issues are major drawbacks.


Ready to get your top quality Citroen C3?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Citroen C3

1.2 PureTech 82 Flair 5dr

  • 2017
  • 11,000 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Wilmoths Citroen Crayford
  • Kent, DA14BH
Price:£9,500
PCP: £179.03/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £179.03, Customer Deposit: £1,425.00, Total Deposit: £1,425.00, Optional Final Payment: £3,667.88, Total Charge For Credit: £1,858.93, Total Amount Payable: £11,358.93, Representative APR: 10.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 10.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 2.16ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Citroen C3

1.2 PureTech 82 Origins 5dr

  • 2019
  • 7,279 miles
  • John Grose Group Citroen Ipswich
  • Suffolk, IP39BE
Price:£11,295
PCP: £191.49/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 34 Monthly Payments: £191.49, Customer Deposit: £1,694.00, Total Deposit: £1,694.25, Optional Final Payment: £5,670.00, Total Charge For Credit: £2,816.40, Total Amount Payable: £14,111.40, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 12.65%, Excess Mileage Charge: 12.5ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Citroen C3 right for you?

With so many small cars to choose from, why should you pick the C3? Citroen hopes that its styling will win you over, and if you're the sort of person that likes to accessorise then you'll love the level of personalisation.


There are seven exterior colours, four different contrasting roof shades, colour packs for exterior trim in the bumpers and funky 'airbump' rubber panels - that's before starting on the interior fabric and dash options. So if you want a small car that says something about you the C3 is one of the best. Apart from its looks, this is a fairly practical small car, with a decent boot, although taller people will find the rear seats a little tight.


It has very light controls and soft suspension, so if you value comfort and drive in a steady manner, it'll match up perfectly with your needs. However for keener drivers, there are several better options out there. Pick the right trim and it's decent value for money, something that's helped by the low running costs, and decent kit.


What’s the best C3 model/engine to choose?

The entry-level C3 is only available with one engine; the sluggish 1.2-litre non-turbo petrol. We would avoid both this engine and trim, unless you're on a budget. It'll be cheap to insure, but has little else to recommend. Go for the PureTech 110 petrol instead and you'll have a much more capable car that will be easier to drive, cost you less to run, and be more refined on the motorway when you do need to take it on longer journeys.


Jumping up to the top-spec Flair Plus will cost you £1400 but we think you're better off sticking to the Flair and just adding a few choice options like the Safety Pack and fancy soft seats to save yourself some cash.


While the BlueHDi diesel is exceptionally economical, it's also more expensive then the excellent petrol and feels less refined around town, so unless you do a lot of motorway miles then it's not worth paying extra for.


What other cars are similar to the Citroen C3?

There's no shortage of rivals for the C3. The supermini segment it belongs to is one of the biggest and most popular in the entire new car market, with the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Volkswagen Polo topping sales charts.


Of that trio, the Fiesta is the best for keen drivers, with better body control and finely-weighted controls that make it easier to drive smoothly than the C3, while the Polo leads the pack for cabin quality and technology. If you need plenty of passenger space and a flexible boot then none do it better than the boxy Honda Jazz, which has clever flip-up rear seats and an efficient hybrid powertrain that gives it very low CO2 emissions.


To take it one step (and several thousand pounds) further you can order the new Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa as pure-electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions, and around a 200-mile range on a full charge.


Learn more

Citroen C3 Interior

On the inside

Citroen C3 Driving

Driving

Citroen C3 Door Panel

How much does it cost to run

Citroen C3 Back Seats

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Citroën C3 a reliable car?

The C3 uses engines that have been tried and tested in other Peugeot and DS cars, but it also has similar electronics to the C4 Cactus, which doesn’t have the best reliability record.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Where is the Citroën C3 made?

Citroën is part of PSA, a conglomerate with Peugeot, DS, Opel and Vauxhall, so the C3 is built in two different places, the Poissy plant in France, and a shared facility in Slovakia.

David Ross

Answered by

David Ross

What type of car is the Citroën C3?

This current generation of C3 is a small hatch, so it sits below family cars and compact SUVs in terms of size and price. It only comes in one body style, but previous models were offered as a convertible (the C3 Pluriel), while the C3 Aircross is an SUV version of the current car.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

What colours are available on the Citroën C3?

There are nine body colours and three roof colours to choose from, giving a total of 33 possible combinations. Almond Green and Power Orange Metallic are the most striking.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady