Used Citroën C3 2002 - 2010 review

Category: Small car

The C3 is economical to buy and to run, but bettered in most areas by most rivals

Citroën C3 (02 - 10)
  • Citroën C3 (02 - 10)
  • Citroën C3 (02 - 10)
Used Citroën C3 2002 - 2010 review
Star rating

What's the used Citroën C3 hatchback like?

The C3 has a hint of MPV about it, especially with its high driving position (although it won't suit all drivers).

The cabin has an airy feel and some thoughtful touches, but the rear seats are tight and the boot is only just adequate. There's a high sill to lug stuff over, too.


The C3 is economical to buy and to run, but bettered in most areas by most rivals

  • It's cheap to buy and run, comfortable and refined
  • and has individual looks
  • The rear seats are cramped, and the boot isn't as big as some of its rivals'

Front passengers have stacks of space and the driver enjoys a logical control layout, although the digital instruments are fussy.

The engines - 1.1 apart - are willing and strong enough to cope with out-of-town work. On a cruise, they're quiet and only some wind noise disturbs the otherwise refined calm.

Citroens normally give a soft, comfortable ride, but the C3 is an exception. Revisions at the end of 2005 made it more absorbent, but you'll notice bumps too often on earlier cars.

Still, it goes round corners competently, although keen drivers will prefer a car with more grip, more steering feel and less body roll.

Ownership cost

What used Citroën C3 hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Citroën C3 hatchback?

Affordable costs are one of the C3's biggest draws. For a start, it's cheap to buy used, but don't pay over the odds for a young one - and don't use the list price of a new one as your guide.

Citroen dealers always give huge discounts on new ones, so check our valuations for used C3s on this site before you go shopping.

Fuel costs are low. Even the thirstiest - the 1.6 petrol auto - gives just over 40mpg in normal driving. Our preferred 1.4 petrol ups that to mid-40s, only 1mpg or so behind the 1.1 petrol. As for the diesels, they return more than 60mpg.

Servicing is cheap, so long as you avoid the 110bhp 1.6 diesel. And, insurance is cheap, too - the 1.4 sits in group 3, one higher than the 1.1 petrol. Group 6 is as bad as it gets - and that's for the top-trim petrol and diesel 1.6s.

Our recommendations

Which used Citroën C3 hatchback should I buy?

The 1.4 and 1.6 diesels are strong, smooth, quiet and exceptionally frugal, but are dearer to buy than the petrols. So stick to the petrols, which all return over 40mpg.

In town, the 1.1 petrol is fine, but can feel stretched on a longer high-speed run. The 1.6 petrol performs strongly, but we prefer the cheaper 1.4, which is smooth and lively.

The 1.4 is also available with a stop-start system - it switches the engine off when the car's stationary to cut emissions - but it's still rare on the used market. The Sensodrive paddle-shift gearbox is more common, but avoid it because it gives a jerky drive.

Basic trim is just that, so track down an SX, which is the best value, with air-con and CD. You may also find the plushest Exclusive trim, or the sporty VTR trim. C3s are easy to find. Citroen dealers, supersites, independent dealers, and the classifieds all have them.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Citroën C3 hatchback?