- Low cost to buy
- Great boot space compared with rivals
- It looks good, particularly the latest generation
- Styling a bit bland on earlier models
- Comfortable in town but not for longer journeys
- Reliability is an issue
The C3 is an affordable option, both to buy and to run. Like most Citroens, it also stands out on the road. Citroens have always been a bit different, slightly quirky and really rather innovative.
The latest generation of the C3 was introduced in 2016 with its AirBump side panels and unique looks. The AirBump panels are rubber inserts in the doors and bumpers which are aimed at avoiding everyday scrapes.
The previous generation looks stylish and has a great interior design with some cool colour trim combinations. It also drives nicely.
The engines are economical and provide reasonable power, but if you're seeking more space, you could look at the C3 Picasso.
The C3's interior feels fresh and modern with colour coded trim inserts and a number of personalisation options which were available to the new buyer.
The materials used are reasonable with some stiff plastic surfaces which, although they lack a soft feeling, are well made and hard-wearing.
The instrumentation is clear with three main dials and there’s an infotainment screen with navigation on some models.
Space up front is good and some C3s featured Citroen’s Zenith windscreen which floods the interior with light and gives you an unrivalled view out. With 300 litres of boot space, it's big enough to hold several small suitcases for a weekend away. The boot is also bigger than its rivals, the Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 207.
The latest generation has far more dark plastic, which is offset nicely with coloured trim inserts and pieces of chrome. Like the exterior, it’s quirky and will appeal to you if you're looking for something a little different.
The C3 is all about being comfortable. It's compact and easily manoeuvred in towns and villages, helped by its light steering and well-placed controls. It breezes along A-roads well enough and, even if you opt for the 1.1-litre version, it'll be able to cope with any type of road. The 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines offer more performance, while the HDi diesels provide good levels of power and great economy.
It’s pretty much the same with the most recent generation, with comfort being the main focus, making it a good option for those who want a great ride with unique style in the small car class.
It’s impossible to fault the C3 on running costs. Both generations are affordable to buy when compared with rivals. All offer excellent fuel economy with the 1.6 HDi delivering up to a claimed 83 mpg and 78 mpg in the latest generation, although most will be in the upper 50s.
Servicing costs are good with Citroen dealers offering special rates on cars over three years old. Parts aren't going to cost the earth either, while most insurance and tax costs are low even compared with similar rivals. It’s definitely one of the best cars for the money and is perfect if you're prioritising costs.
Citroen is typically below average in reliability surveys, but the C3 has actually fared slightly better than the brand overall.
Recalls for electrical and suspension issues will probably have been dealt with by previous owners during regular servicing.
The 2010-2017 model only scored four stars for safety in the Euro NCAP crash test because of a lack of electronic stability control on some models, but the latest generation received the full five star award.
Best for economy - 1.6 BlueHDI
Best for family - 1.6 BlueHDI (100 hp) Platinum
Best for fun - Latest generation 1.2 Flair Puretech
If you’re looking at the previous generation then opt for any 1.6 BlueHDI model for its great economy and superior power. Go for as high a trim level as you can find, such as Platinum, as you could still get a bargain.
If you’re going for the latest generation, the Flair version is the most stylish and has the best equipment but don’t rule out all of its lower trim levels, especially if the original owner has added options that could be useful to you.