New Citroen C3: driven - What the C3 does well

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  • Style, quality and refinement
  • No stability control as standard
  • On sale January, from £10,800
Let's leave the engines to one side for a moment and talk about what the C3 does best. Citroën's style and quality have come on in leaps and bounds over recent years, reminding us how good the French now are at injecting flair into everyday cars and rivalling Germany's best for neat, tidy and well-made interiors. Even Citroën's dealers are improving, according to our latest JD Power survey.

You'll be the judge of whether the C3 is pretty or not, but it's undeniably smart, with not too much in the way of fancy lights or chrome to clutter the look. Then there's the C3's USP – the ‘Zenith' windscreen (see panel), although sadly it's not available on entry-level VT models.

Interior space is a mixed bag. The back seats are best avoided if you're tall-ish – the Zenith roof's sunblind eats into headroom, while legroom is tight, especially if the people up front are on the tall side, too. If you need to fit child seats, we'd recommend taking yours along for the test drive to make sure you can get it in the back and that you can load your kids in with ease – the rear door openings are not too generous.

Let there be light
The C3's Zenith windscreen is a full 1350mm long, extending above the driver's head and into the roof, increasing upward visibility by 80% – handy if you're a plane spotter! The very top section is tinted, but on the bright sunny days of our test drive, we pulled the sunblinds forward and left them there, rather than reaching back to pull them closed every few minutes.
Click the image for a larger view
The boot, on the other hand, is deep and wide, giving a class-leading 300 litres. It's a shame, then, that the rear seats don't fold flat if you need extra room, instead leaving an awkward step in the boot floor.

Up front, the driver and front passenger will be enjoying good visibility, a smart and nicely ordered dashboard and some plush cabin materials. Sure, some of the plastics around the glove compartment and base of the seats feel a little flimsy, but elsewhere it's squishy stuff and a tasteful combination of colours. Space up front is fine, too. The glovebox is generous, and there are the usual door bins, cup holders and useful cubbies.

The smart, flat-bottomed steering wheel adjusts up and down, and in and out, so you should find it easy to get a comfy driving position. The wheel is lovely to hold and the steering is light around town, but we'd prefer a little more feel when you get going – the steering reacts to your inputs well enough, but there's not much in the way of feel of what's happening on the road. The gearshift is a bit vague, too.

New Citroen C3: driven - On the road

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