- High-class interior
- Efficient engines
- Comfortable, refined ride
- Not much fun to drive
- Poor NCAP results
- Entry-level models sparse
Refined supermini is a sensible, good-value option
The Citroen C3 is the French manufacturer’s entry into the crowded supermini market. First introduced in 2002, the initial C3 was widely criticised by reviewers. The new C3 is a big improvement. It’s still not up there with class-leaders, but it offers one of the most refined rides in its class, and represents excellent value for money. There’s also plenty of boot space, which will attract some buyers, and the impressive panoramic windscreen is both cool, and increases visibility.
The update in 2009 featured a complete redesign, with sleeker aesthetics, a much-improved interior, and more efficient engines.
High quality design and materials
One area in which the C3 impresses is in its interior. The design feels very contemporary, and the quality of materials used is up there with the best in class. It also features a spacious boot, but entry-level models are sparsely equipped.
The dashboard of the C3 is one of the most interesting in its class. Citroen’s use of brushed metals and colour inserts make the cabin vibrant and contemporary. The quality of materials is also pretty impressive. Soft-touch plastics feature in most areas, and whilst it might not be as classy as a VW Polo, it’s all well put together. The standout feature in the cabin is undoubtedly the zenith windscreen however, which is unique in the supermini class. It not only looks impressive, it also increases visibility.
Space wise the C3 also impresses, as it’s features a much bigger boot than a lot of its rivals. With 300 litres of capacity, it’s bigger than the VW Polo (280 litres), the Ford Fiesta (290 litres), and the Peugeot 208 (285 litres). That makes the C3 one of the most practical cars in its class. One issue that might affect some buyers is that the rear seats don’t fall completely flat, so if you’re going to be transporting big items about regularly it might be worth considering something like the Honda Jazz.
Equipment levels in the C3 are pretty reasonable, though entry-level models come sparsely equipped. The cheapest VT trim come with a CD player and a trip computer as standard, but very little else. An upgrade to the VTR+ trim is advisable for most buyers, as it adds essentials like air-con, electric windows, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and improved cabin trim.
All in all the interior of the C3 is a little bit hit and miss. The quality and design of the cabin are without doubt positives, and there’s plenty of room in the boot, but you’ll have to choose a more expensive trim to get a reasonable amount of equipment.
Comfortable, refined, but not much fun
The Citroen C3 is a car that is quite clearly built for comfort, rather than an engaging driving experience. When you compare the C3 to a Mazda 2, or a Ford Fiesta, it’s really not much fun at all. Steering offers very little feedback, particularly at higher speeds, and it leans into the corners too much for it ever to be engaging. Nevertheless, it’s decent around town, where the light steering comes in handy for weaving through traffic, and parking in tight spaces.
Ride refinement is an area in which the C3 excels. This is a car built for comfort, and it really shows. The suspension and chassis iron out rough surfaces and potholes with ease, which make the C3 impressive on even the worst of British roads. There’s also very little in the way of road and wind noise - the C3 is actually a pretty good motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the C3 come in three guises. There’s a five speed manual, a six speed manual, and an ETG automatic. The former two perform pretty well, but the automatic is pretty unrefined, so if you really need an automatic supermini it might be worth considering offerings from other brands.
Good range of solid, efficient engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your C3, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. Nearly all engines in the range are efficient and green, though there’s no hot-hatch version for petrolheads.
If it’s power that you want from your C3, you’re probably going to be disappointed with the engines on offer. The paciest in the range is the petrol-powered 1.2 litre PureTech 110 engine. It produces 110bhp, and boasts a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds. Those figures are far from impressive, but it still feels nippy around town, and has enough power to perform admirably on the motorway.
Eco friendly buyers will be pleased by the figures on offer in the C3 range. Nearly all engines are low in CO2, but the standout in undoubtedly the diesel-powered 1.6 litre BlueHDi. With just 87g/km of CO2 emissions, it’s one of the greenest cars in its class. It’s also nearly as fast as the most powerful petrol, and offers greater fuel economy. This is also the best model for money savers, as it offers up to 83.1mpg. With those figures, you can save yourself plenty of money at the fuel pumps.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your C3, you’re going to have an economical, green engine. The eco-friendly diesel is the pick of the bunch, as it offers great performance, and the best fuel economy.
4-star NCAP safety rating, decent standard safety kit
Unlike a lot of cars in its class, the Citroen C3 failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s a little disappointing to see, especially as in 2009, when the car was tested, it was much easier to achieve the maximum five stars than it is today. With scores of 83% in adult safety, 74% in child safety, and 33% in pedestrian safety, it falls way short of more modern rivals. You will however get four airbags on entry-level models, and six airbags on more expensive models.
Good value for money, as long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Citroen C3 represents excellent value for money for buyers. No matter which model you choose to go for, you’re going to get impressive fuel efficiency, and low road tax bands, with the majority of the range qualifying for free road tax. Diesel powered C3s offer the best value for money in the range, with exceptional fuel efficiency.
Insurance costs in the C3 are similarly impressive. This depends on which engine and trim choice you go for, but you won’t be paying any more than you would with an equivalent car from a competitor. The cheapest model in the C3 range is the 1.1i VT, which is group 5, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 1.6 e-HDi (115bhp) Airdream Exclusive, which is in group 21.
Depreciation is a factor with the C3, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Citroen C3 is a solid, if unspectacular option in the crowded supermini market. It’s not amongst the class-leaders, but it is one of the most comfortable, features a great interior, and is impressively efficient.
Buying a used Citroen C3 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Citroen C3 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used C3. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Citroen C3 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Citroen? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Citroen C3, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used C3, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Citroen to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.