The Citroën C3 has never really been a looker, its always been a bland A to B machine, more than capable of the school and pension run alike in all fairness, but as dull as dishwater – until now that is!
Citroën recently launched the all-new C3 and despite maybe not having the greatest of predecessors I feel this new model is absolutely fantastic looking – a sentiment that won’t be shared by all, as the styling is rather quite daring with roots of the Cactus coming through.
‘Funky and stylish’ is a phrase that would spring to mind, ‘youthful’ being a word that wouldn’t look out of place captioning a photograph of the Citroën C3 in a brochure and the colour of this review car is the best available and is called ‘Almond Green’.
Contrasting against the onyx black upper half, Airbump on the doors and durable black plastic lower bumper sections and wheel arch extensions this C3 screams ‘surfs up’ and as such I felt obliged to take it to the beach for a few images.
A daringly designed front end features LED daytime running lamps that flow off each side of the signature chrome chevron grill with the standalone main lighting clusters featuring below, sculpted deep into the bumper design.
Fitted to this test car is an optional 17” diamond cut alloy wheel at an incredibly reasonable cost of £200. Not only do these aid handling but also enhance the looks of the C3 perfectly. Another option fitted to this car is the convenient keyless entry and start at a cost of £250.
Featuring one of the largest boot spaces within the segment, Citroën’s C3 is as practical as a small car can be and with the rear seats folded flat, load volume trebles. Inside is every bit as quirky as the exterior and being a little utilitarian, its materials are sculpted to detract from the cost effective production.
Rounded rectangles as seen in the daytime running lamps and Airbump feature everywhere inside from the dial cluster to a stitched seat pattern and from the air vents to the switch housing on the multi-function steering wheel as well as the door cards.
Leather strap handles for closing the doors are a rather funky touch and the grey seat fabric continues onto the door card arm rests where more red stitching flows onto the dash which features a vast expanse of gloss red inserts spanning the width of the dash.
Incredibly comfortable seating on this test car is finished in black cloth and grey tweed fabric with red stitching and details, on a twisty road I felt they could have offered a little more bolster support but on a long run and around town they excelled.
Infotainment on this model was provided thanks to a 7” touch screen offering Bluetooth, AM/FMradio, DAB radio, USB & Aux connectivity as well as smart phone mirroring as well as Sat Nav and Citroën connect (£500 option). This wasn’t only an easy to use system, but also sounded fairly well too.
The C3 model range starts from £11,395.00 with the ‘TOUCH’ giving Lane Departure Warning, RD6 DAB radio with 4 speakers (Bluetooth, USB & Aux-in), cruise control with speed limiter and speed sign recognition.
Next up is the ‘FEEL’ from £13,735.00 adding 16” ‘Matrix’ alloy wheels, a bi-tone roof (Black standard, white or red as no cost option), automatic air-conditioning, a 7” touch screen infotainment hub with mirror screen as well as front & rear electric windows.
The range topping ‘FLAIR’ as tested, further adds ConnectedCAM (Citroën’s in-built dash cam with phone app connectivity), automatic lights and wipers, front fog lights, the marmite Airbump and rear parking sensors which starts from £15,485.00.
Engine wise, there are just two available – a 1.2L petrol and a 1.6 diesel both with varying engine output options on offer. The 1.2 petrol is available with a far from breathtaking 68PS or 82PS whilst a satisfactory 110PS version provides the C3’s only sub 10sec 0-60mph time.
All Citroën C3’s are equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard with one exception being the 110PS petrol Flair model which can be ordered with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Finally the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel engine is available with a lacklustre 75PS whilst the 100PS is more than adequate for most with its torque coming in at close to 190lb/ft and is the engine fitted to this test car from Citroën UK.
Driving wise, and despite its youthful looks, the C3 is very well mannered, offering a comfortable driving experience but with it, a little more body roll on twisty roads than others within the segment – all round though i found the Citroën C3 a car that i could live with easily every day.
Offering a three-year, 60,000 mile warranty and 20,000 mile service intervals the C3 BlueHDi as tested brings very affordable motoring whilst helping the environment with its 95g/km emissions rating.
If you have been in the market for a Hyundai i20, Peugeot 208 or Ford Fiesta – perhaps the C3 will appeal to you as something that provides a little more funk and style?
Words & Photos: Graham Curry
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