Why we ran it: To find out how the C3 plays its trump cards – charm, usability and simplicity
Life with a Citroen C3: Month 5
Final report - 14th March 2018
We had high hopes for our Citroën C3. Following the arrival of the first- generation C4 Cactus in 2014, the third-generation C3 was the next car to shape a new Citroën era, one focused on comfort and unconventional design.
The supermini segment is a tricky one to compete in, with the latest Seat Ibiza setting the standard, the Ford Fiesta the clear leader in terms of sales and other safe bets such as the VW Polo to consider. We’ve spent the past seven months seeing if the C3 deserves a place at the table.
It’s been a bumpy ride. My first impressions weren’t great: the gear changes between first and second seemed awkward, especially in a car meant to suit urban landscapes, and the rear axle wasn’t a fan of the sizeable speed bumps on my road, no matter how carefully I drove.
Some colleagues weren’t big fans either. The most damning comments: “It’s great until you start to drive it” and “It’s just okay, isn’t it?”. But since this shaky start, my impressions have only improved over time. Although the C3 isn’t the best in its class, there are two stand-out features that make it worthy of note.
The first one is comfort. Citroën goes to great lengths to highlight the comfort of its cars, and it’s true. Despite the C3 being mostly used for short journeys, I did plenty of long ones in it and it was superbly comfortable. I never became fidgety and it was unexpectedly adept at cruising. That was helped by decent enough power for motorway speeds from the 1.2-litre turbo engine.
The second stand-out aspect is the way this car looks. I’ve seen more new C3s on the road in the past year than I can recall seeing old C3s in its entire lifetime. Some of the colour combinations look great – ours is fairly conservative compared with others – so you can understand that many car buyers could be attracted to this car based on its appearance.