119bhp 1.6-litre engine also powers Mini Cooper
New C3 is lighter and more efficient than outgoing model
1.6 motor is zingy and free-revving
Engine has to work hard at motorwat speeds, making it noisy
Zetec S Ford would be more fun on a B-road
C3 is now among the most refined superminis
Unluttered dash is a major step forward
Cabin materials appear to be high quality
Fuss-free layout is excellent
Space is up with the class best
Cabin comfort is excellent
The 1.6 VTI is the most potent in the range
The Citroën C3 is a competent and interesting supermini, but it doesn’t hit any high notes
What is it?
This is the most powerful new Citroen C3 that you can buy. It's powered by a 119bhp 1.6-litre engine that also powers the Mini Cooper.
Like the rest of the range, the 1.6-litre Exclusive is an all-new car, promising huge leaps in quality, refinement and dynamic ability over the lacklustre model that it replaces.
It also has the rare distinction of being lighter and more efficient, spec for spec, than the outgoing model.
What’s it like?
The 1.6-litre motor is a zingy, free-revving device. It's at its best when you push it over 4000rpm, but even at less heady engine speeds it's decently tractable and refined.
The downside comes when you're cruisng at accepted motorway speeds, where you feel that the engine is having to work too hard and so too much noise filters into the cabin. A shame, then, that it doesn't have a six-speed gearbox as a longer-legged top gear would improve refinement and, probably, fuel economy.
The rest of the car, though, is as admirably quiet as other C3s we've driven. It's now amongst the most refined superminis and does an excellent job of smothering most road noises and mopping up road scars.
It's not quite as agile as a Fiesta, mind you, and a 1.6-litre Zetec S Ford would be a lot more fun on a B-road. But not every supermini buyer is after this, and if your priorities are comfort and a quiet ride then it's definitely worth considering.
The cabin, too, has plenty of showroom appeal, being better looking and seemingly better built than any small Citroen to date. Space is also up with the class best.
Should I buy one?
In truth, the most powerful petrol C3 is probably not the pick of the range. We'd probably direct you to a smaller petrol engine or one of the diesels. But in general the Citroen C3 is now a serious supermini contender and worthy of a place on your shopping list.
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