Citroën C3 hatchback driving position
Let’s start off with the C3’s good bits: the excellent amount of adjustment the driver gets, which includes seat-height adjustment and a steering wheel that moves extensively up and down, as well as in and out.
Yet to back this up there’s no adjustable lumbar support, even as an option, and the seats themselves offer precious little side support. This means you end up gripping onto the steering wheel to avoid falling into your passenger’s lap during cornering. You can option a driver’s armrest to give you something to lean on, but on the top-spec Flair model only.
Another issue is the clutch footrest. On right-hand drive models this fits beneath the narrow gap between the clutch pedal and central tunnel, which if you have anything larger than a size-nine shoe traps your foot.
The dashboard isn’t awash with buttons to befuddle you, and what’s there are all within easy reach. On the mid-spec Feel trim and above you get a 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system. Annoyingly, this means you don’t get separate heater controls, and you have to delve into the touchscreen menus every time you want to change the temperature.
Citroën C3 hatchback visibility
Reasonably thin windscreen pillars mean your view forwards is quite unobstructed. It’s mainly the rear view that’s a problem. This is because the tapering roof and swept-up side windows leave you with a shallow rear screen and thick rear pillars.
Salvation on our favourite mid-level Feel trim comes in the form of the relatively inexpensive option of rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. You can’t get these on the basic model, while they come as standard on the top-spec Flair model.
Another option is blind spot monitoring. This flashes a warning light if there happens to be a car lurking at your side, where you can’t see it. In general the door mirrors, which are electrically adjustable from mid-trim Feel onwards, do offer a decent view of what’s approaching from the side.
Citroën C3 hatchback infotainment
Every version of the C3 gets useful techno-gubbins such as a DAB radio and Bluetooth, but you need to upgrade to our favourite Feel trim before you benefit from a 7.0in touchscreen and handy smartphone link. This allows you to connect your mobile phone and use its apps, including the sat-nav, through the screen. With in-built sat-nav optional even on the top-spec C3s, that’s a handy gadget to have.
This is a much better infotainment system than the one you’d find in a Fiesta, but a Fabia's is better still. The C3's menus aren’t particularly well laid out and can be sluggish responding to inputs. We also dislike that the heater is controlled via the touchscreen, instead of separate dash-mounted buttons that would make changing the temperature less of a faff.
Citroën C3 hatchback build quality
Sit inside the C3 and hard plastics abound, but that’s not the issue it might first seem. It isn’t unique in the small-car class either, and in fact our favourite small car, the Skoda Fabia, has similarly unwavering materials inside.
We’ve marked the C3 down because it doesn’t feel as robust as the Fabia – the switches aren’t as well damped and the surfaces somewhat shinier-looking – but it’s a thoroughly nice place to reside. It’s basic-looking but very chic, and neat touches such as the faux-leather door pulls lift the ambience.
All models come with a cloth facing across the dashboard, which on mid and upper trims can be upgraded to a leather-look material with different-coloured surrounds. The top Flair trim comes with a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, for an extra dash of luxury.