The Citroën C3 is a competent and interesting supermini, but it doesn’t hit any high notes
In Citroen lingo, a VTR badge gets you hot hatch looks but only moderate go. And with no C3 VTS planned, this VTR is the hottest C3.
It shares its 1.6-litre 108bhp petrol engine with the luxurious Exclusive model, but swaps that car’s frustrating Sensodrive clutchless manual gearbox for a normal manual ’box. Performance improves, although the VTR still takes a middling 9.7sec to reach 60mph.
Sporting styling includes front fog lights with gloss black surrounds, sport bumpers and tasteful 16-inch alloy wheels, but they fail to transform the C3’s cutesy looks.
Inside, Citroën has added leather to the steering wheel and gearlever, On the wheel it works well but the gearlever trim looks cheap. The sports seats are also mounted too high and the thigh-gripping base is uncomfortable.
Given the VTR’s sporting aspirations it’s not an inspiration to drive. The engine is characterless, the gearchange sloppy and the steering uncommunicative. At least the strong brakes offer reasonable feel.
With cashback offers currently taking the £12,545 price down to £10,545, the VTR is good value for money, especially as it comes with four airbags and emergency brake assist as standard.
The VTR is a missed opportunity for Citroën: it’s neither engaging enough to drive nor sexy enough to look at. More lukewarm than hot, it leaves us cold.