From £10,540
The most powerful new Citroen C3 you can buy is impressive

Our Verdict

Citroën C3

The Citroën C3 is a competent and interesting supermini, but it doesn’t hit any high notes

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12 October 2009

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.

Chas Hallett

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Join the debate


14 October 2009

[quote Autocar]The downside comes when you're cruisng at accepted motorway speeds[/quote]

Are you trying to say about 80-85 without it sounding illegal?

15 October 2009

[quote Autocar]Price as tested £13,200[/quote]

This does seem to suggest that the £15,200 price tag shown on the 1.6 HDi 90 article from earlier in the week is actually correct.

I can't believe I'm alone in finding all the C3 prices a bit bloody expensive? I don't see buyers being so keen to part with a noticeably thicker wedge of cash when the current model averages £1,000 cheaper: the outgoing VTR is £11K vs £13K and the outgoing Exclusive £14K vs £15K.

[quote Autocar]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.[/quote]

I'd wager that most supermini buyers are after comfort and a quiet ride, it's just they haven't had a lot of choice of late. The other downside of the toy Ford is that it's already looking dated. Any car with such try-hard looks is going to look tired very quickly.


15 October 2009

On the subject of prices - they are quite expensive but then so are many other superminis now thanks to the Euro exchange rates. Diesels are especially expensive too of course as the engines are more expensive to make. When Euro 6 arrives you'd wager that nothing in the supermini or hatchback class will even have a diesel engine. Which is where small capacity turbo petrols come into their own.

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