Citroen C3 Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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BBC TopGear
Car Review

Citroen C3

£ 16,020 - £ 20,285
Published: 03 Nov 2020


What is it like to drive?

Equipped with the more powerful 110bhp petrol engine, the C3 goes well. With 151lb ft of torque it pulls healthily up to 70mph, if not overly quickly (0-62 takes 10.5 seconds in the manual, and 11.2 seconds in the auto), meaning it occasionally struggles on steep hills and when overtaking. Top speed is 120mph.

Given its, er, less-than-inspiring speed, we’d be hesitant to spec the lesser powered model, which offers barely half the torque (87lb ft) and takes an entire phase of the moon – 15.2 seconds – to reach 62mph, on to a top speed of 105mph. Comfort is very much priority here. 

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But you know what? It’s all the better for it. Citroen knows the C3 isn’t going to challenge on the handling front, and nor does it try to. The elevated driving position, those squishy Seats (including new driver’s side armrest, although we’re not sure why the front passenger couldn’t have got one, too), the all-round view of your surroundings... it’s a pleasant place to be. 

Ride quality is smooth enough, but over bigger bumps it does feel a little bouncy. That’s also reflected when cornering – take one at speed and there is a fair amount of body roll, meaning your natural reaction is to lift off. The steering doesn’t have much (if anything) in the way of weight or feel, but it's agile enough that once you’re used to the body roll, you quite enjoy it.

Wind and tyre noise is minimal, while the engine is quiet when cruising at higher speeds. The six-speed automatic gearbox is fine at lower speeds and driving around town, but when putting your foot down it’s hesitant, meaning acceleration can be a little jerky at times. For that reason, we’d choose the manual. Never going to put your foot down? Have the auto.

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Highlights from the range

the fastest

Citroen C3 1.2 PureTech 110 Shine 5dr
  • 0-629.4s
  • CO2
  • BHP110
  • MPG
  • Price£ 17,400

the cheapest

Citroen C3 1.2 PureTech C-Series 5dr
  • 0-6212.5s
  • CO2
  • BHP83
  • MPG
  • Price£ 13,945

the greenest

Citroen C3 1.5 BlueHDi Flair 5dr
  • 0-6211.3s
  • CO286.0g/km
  • BHP101
  • MPG
  • Price£ 19,500
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