Citroen’s take on the supermini genre is practical and roomy but doesn’t rely on expanded dimensions to achieve this.
An upright seating position and clever use of interior space allows a big boot and decent rear passenger accommodation.
The car handles neatly and the ride is comfortable but there are more engaging superminis from a driver’s point of view. Minimal increase in weight over the original C3 helps the car deliver strong economy.
Citroen turned 90 in 2009 but although it may have passed pensionable age and then some, it’s desperate to be seen as an innovator, an embracer of technology and a brand in tune with the fickle finger of fashion. It’s not alone in that by any means but more than most manufacturers, Citroen has been responsible for some moments of shining innovation, design bravery and unadulterated quirkiness down the years.
The original C3 supermini sold two million units, so Citroen is well within its rights to brand the car a success. To complement the smaller, sportier C2, the first C3 adopted a family friendly approach to ensure all possible bases were covered by Citroen’s small car range. The current C3 is working in partnership with the DS3, a three-door Citroen supermini targeted overtly at the supermini sector’s trendier buyers, so once again, it falls on the five-door C3 to come at things from a more practical angle.
Citroen’s aim was to achieve this with a little extra style and elegance than the previous generation car managed.
It’s in urban areas where the C3 gives the best account itself from a driving perspective. At low speeds, the suspension masks the assorted humps, cracks and potholes with finesse and the engines remain unobtrusive. Citroen’s efforts to reduce noise levels in the car with more insulating material in the engine bay and improved joints around the doors pay off. The light steering and 10.2m turning circle will help owners out of many a tight spot, as will a good field of vision around the car.
As superminis go, the C3 isn’t an orthodox one. In time honoured Citroen fashion, it’s just a little bit different.
The C3 never feels particularly sporty but Citroen has other models to fulfil that role. It handles neatly and achieves a comfortable ride in most situations, proving well suited to urban driving. The Zenith panoramic windscreen won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but overall, the C3 is a strong contender in the supermini marketplace and a car that’s distinctively Citroen.