New levels of comfort and personality are the promises made by Citroën when it talks of the C3’s ‘renewal’.

This latest model receives a glut of signature features designed to lift it above the supermini morass.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
This C3 is too early to benefit from PSA’s new Common Module Platform, so you wonder how long a life it’ll have

The new nose, while recognisable, takes the C3 in a radically different direction from that of the old car. By joining the model at the hip with the smaller C1, Citroën has, in effect, announced a bolder design language for its small cars, one characterised by the Airbumps that were such a key feature of the C4 Cactus.

Considered alongside wheel arch extensions and a floating roof (or one alternatively coloured, at any rate), that language borrows liberally from a design lexicon normally associated with SUVs.

This ensures that the C3 has a notably different look from that of, say, a Fiesta or a Polo, no matter whether you think the result is a success or not.

It’s worth pointing out, too, that the look is very much dependent on trim level: the entry-level car, shorn of most of the features mentioned, is demonstratively more humble than the range-topper.

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Underneath the much-altered body is essentially the same chassis and platform as before. Citroën describes its PF1 platform as ‘proven’, which is a nice way of saying that it’s been around for nearly 15 years.

There has been some mild fettling here, notably the inclusion of a crossbar under the seats to improve safety in the event of a side impact, but it is not substantially different. Nor is the suspension, consisting of front MacPherson struts and a rear twist beam, although Citroën has reportedly revised the spring and damper rates with the intent of offering a more compliant ride than that of the previous model.

The engine line-up is studiously on-brand, too: a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol unit in a choice of three outputs and a 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel in two different guises.

Even in the C3’s lustiest format, the 1.2 Puretech 110 on test here, Citroën claims 61.4mpg combined fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 103g/km; for the lower-powered diesel, those figures are 80.7mpg and 92g/km.

That’s all very worthy, but the firm’s marketing noise is reserved for the debut of ConnectedCAM Citroën, a wide-angle video camera sited behind the rear-view mirror, from where it records the view ahead.

Ostensibly this is for automatically generated evidence in a collision, but it is the capacity to take pictures and record up to 20 seconds of video at will, and then instantly upload them to social media, that makes for the system’s true selling point. 

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