Comfortable, stylish and versatile. Offers something different to competitors
Not overly quick, touchscreen climate controls, options can quickly add up
What is it?
Since the launch of the third-generation model in 2016, the C3 has gone on to become something of a success story for Citroen. The brand’s best-seller, in fact, with more than 780,000 sales globally. This mid-life update, unsurprisingly, focuses on refinement rather than revolution, with subtle style changes, an updated interior, and the latest petrol and diesel engines.
“No other cars in the segment offer so much scope for personalisation,” says Citroen, with a whopping 97 different exterior colour combinations, up from 36 on the previous car. That includes seven exterior body colours, four bi-tone roof colours (and matching mirrors and rear quarter panel trim), plus four colour packs that determine such essentials as the fog light surround and Airbump panel insert colour. Good luck speccing one.
The front end has also been reprofiled, with new LED headlights and a revised look giving it a family resemblance to the new C4 and e-C4. The model is also available with new 17-inch alloy wheels and a refreshed Airbump design – not to everyone’s taste, but they’re certainly helpful in protecting against frustrating car park dings and scrapes.
Inside, the C3 is all about comfort – take the optional squidgy armchair-like front seats, standard on all top-spec Flair Plus models. Part of Citroen’s 'Advanced Comfort' programme, the cabin has been designed to insulate passengers, with yet more choice available with three different dashboard finishes and matching seat detailing. Yep, this one isn't about sportiness.
There are three trim levels: cheapest is Feel at £16,280, you’ll pay at least £17,730 for a Flair, and £1,000 more than that for the range-topping Flair Plus. Standard equipment across all three trims is generous enough to include a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (which works well), automatic air con and cruise control.
Powertrain options include two PureTech petrol engines, available with 83 or 110bhp, or a BlueHDi diesel with 100bhp. In terms of gearboxes, the lesser powered petrol and diesel come with five-speed manual gearboxes, while the 110bhp petrol is available with a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed auto. For company car drivers, all engines are exempt from the 4% surcharge in Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rates, just possibly not the questionable glances from your colleagues depending on your chosen colour combinations.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
We were fans of the C3 pre-facelift, so it’s a relief that this one has come out with minor tweaks rather than a major overhaul, because as a small hatchback the C3 makes a strong case for itself.
Ordinary is boring, and the C3 is anything but that. With its 97 different exterior colour combinations, you’re unlikely to ever see one the same, or lose yours in a crowded carpark. Win-win.
As an everyday car you’ll appreciate its comfort more than the performance and handling of a competitor, we'd wager. It offers something a little different to the majority of its rivals out there, and that’s no bad thing. It’s a likeable car to live with, and has a good dose of character too.