Citroën C3 review

Category: Small car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:diesel, petrol
Available colours:
Citroën C3 2021 infotainment
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RRP £14,180What Car? Target Price from£13,316
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

Most small cars are bought on PCP finance, so there's good news here: Citroën will do some decent deals on the C3 to keep your monthly payments low. If you happen to be buying outright then dealers are happy to discount as well. 

The 1.5-litre diesel (badged BlueHDi 100) is the most frugal engine, but not by a great deal, and it costs significantly more to buy than our favoured 1.2 petrol (badged PureTech 110) so it simply isn't worth the extra. As we mentioned in the driving section, we’d steer clear of the entry-level PureTech 83 1.2 petrol as it feels underpowered.

But whether you choose petrol or diesel, all Citroën C3s offer official fuel consumption and CO2 figures that rival the very best in the class. It’s just a shame that servicing and insurance aren’t the cheapest and that it’s predicted to suffer from depreciation at a greater rate than more ‘premium’ rivals such as the Seat Ibiza and VW Polo.

Equipment, options and extras

Entry-level C-Series trim on the Citroën C3 comes surprisingly well equipped. Aside from what’s already been ticked off, you get automatic air conditioning, cruise control, lane departure warning, speed sign recognition and the 7-inch touchscreen we mentioned earlier. 

Upgrading to mid-level Shine trim brings other goodies such as 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, automatic headlights, automatic windscreen wipers and map reader lights.

At the top of the range is Shine Plus trim. This pushes the price up by a reasonable chunk, but for that you get larger 17in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, the advanced comfort seats we discussed in the driving position section, a driver’s centre armrest, faux-wood trim and a safety pack that brings automatic high-beam headlights and a driver attention alert system. It's also worth noting that Citroën regularly offers limited edition trim levels that bundle lots of extra kit together.

Citroën C3 2021 infotainment

Reliability

The Citroën C3 didn’t feature in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey but the brand itself finished in a middling 16th place out of 31 manufacturers. That puts it above Ford, Renault, Seat and Volkswagen, but below Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and Mini.

Every C3 comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, although you can get a longer five-years or 100,000 miles policy (which is the same in time and distance as Toyota provides) if you purchase your Citroën online. You get one year’s breakdown cover no matter which way you buy your C3.

Safety and security

The Citroën C3 received only four stars out of five in its safety appraisal by Euro NCAP. That might sound like a good score, but it isn't when you consider that the vast majority of rivals scored five stars.

Looking at the specific category scores shows that child protection in a crash wasn't a strong point and pedestrian safety was a particular area of weakness. Disappointingly you have to pay extra for automatic emergency braking (AEB) as part of the Safety pack on Shine trim – it only comes as standard with Shine Plus. All versions of the Citroën C3 at least get speed sign recognition and lane departure warning.

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Overview

With its funky looks inside and out, the Citroën C3 does a great job of turning heads. It’s also surprisingly well equipped. However, it's poor to drive and not very practical, so any number of rivals are more recommendable on an objective level.

  • Decently equipped
  • Stylish interior
  • Efficient petrol and diesel engines
  • Poor to drive
  • AEB is not standard on lower trims
  • Cramped rear seats

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