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What Car? says

1 out of 5 stars

For If you want a low-cost way into a funky four-seater convertible, the C3 Pluriel is it

Against The flimsy cabin plastics and worries about the car's reliability spoil the fun

Verdict It's a good idea let down by too many niggling flaws

Go for… 1.4i

Avoid… 1.6i Sensodrive

Citroën C3 Pluriel Open
  • 1. Make sure the canvas hood retracts and returns freely. Forget the car if it doesn't
  • 2. Avoid the Sensodrive gearbox - it can be trouble, even if it's properly looked after
  • 3. Space in the front is good, but the rear seat is only big enough for children
  • 4. Check the interior for fragile plastic trim and scuffed fabrics, especially in the rear
  • 5. Quality's not a strong point - the dash looks good but is finished in hard, cheap-looking plastics
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Citroën C3 Pluriel Open full review with expert trade views

A low-cost, four-seat convertible for family outings sounds great, and in theory that’s what the Citroen C3 Pluriel should be. The reality, however, is somewhat different.

It takes too long and too much muscle power to remove the roof’s side rails, and there’s nowhere to store them in the car. Yet, without them you can't close the roof at your destination.

This lack of thought shows in other areas of the Pluriel such as the dull drive. Without the roof rails in place, there’s too much flex in the body and car squirms over bumps.

At least with the roof in place, the Pluriel’s cabin is reasonably quiet and its engines give decent performance.

The dash is lifted directly from the C3 hatchback, so it looks good but is finished in hard, cheap-looking plastics. Space in the front is good, but the rear seat is only big enough for children.

Trade view

John Owen

You'll get wet - very wet

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

If the idea of a C3 Pluriel still grabs you, go for the 1.4i, as it’s the cheapest to buy and also has the least power to tax the chassis. The engine pulls happily right up to motorway speeds and the five-speed manual gearbox has well spaced ratios, but don’t expect too much in the way of performance.

The 1.6-litre petrol engine should offer a bit more excitement, but it’s hamstrung by being attached to Citroen’s Sensodrive sequential manual gearbox that does away with the clutch pedal. It sounds fine, but in practice it’s tricky to use and, even with experience, it’s nowhere near as easy to use as a conventional manual or automatic gearbox.

Avoid the 1.4-litre turbodiesel engine, though. It's very frugal, but almost unbearably slow.

Whichever engine you choose, equipment isn't an issue. All Pluriels are well equipped and the only option you may want to look out for is air con.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Seasonal demand and basic 1.4 petrol is the best value buy

James Ruppert
Used car guru

None of the cars in the Citroen C3 Pluriel range will give your wallet much cause for concern when it comes to fuel economy. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is the least impressive and yet it still turns in more than 40mpg, with the 1.6-litre petrol marginally better. If you really don’t like filling stations, the 1.4 turbodiesel is the one for you with its 62.8mpg combined consumption.

Insurance won’t be a problem, as the highest rating is group 6 for the 1.6-litre model. This makes the Pluriel a sensible choice for younger drivers looking for some open air fun.

Service items for a Pluriel will not cost very much, but Warranty Direct points out that Citroen dealers’ service departments charge more than many other mainstream manufacturers. Finding a good local Citroen specialist in you area could cut the costs here significantly.

Trade view

John Owen

You'll get wet - very wet

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Let’s start with the roof. First, make sure the canvas hood retracts and returns freely as this has been known to cause a great deal of trouble. After that, make sure the side rails unhook and replace easily. This is a fiddly operation at the best of times and frustrated owners can inadvertently bend the securing lugs.

If the hood looks fine, check out the interior for flimsy plastic trim and scuffed fabrics, especially in the rear where kids love to stand on the seats and jump out of the Pluriel when it comes to a halt.

The engines are reliable but the Sensodrive gearbox can be a source of much trouble, even when it’s been properly looked after.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Seasonal demand and basic 1.4 petrol is the best value buy

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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