Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Citroën C3 hatchback?
Ensure all of the electrics work as they should, as in the past these have been a Citroen weak point, and with older examples in particular look for signs of a full service history to ensure the car has been properly maintained. Similarly, check under the bonnet and boot carpet, and along the sills for signs of repaired crash damage, bearing in mind the C3’s price makes it a good option for young drivers.
Note that early entry-level C3s didn’t come with electronic stability control (a quirk that cost Citroen a fifth star in Euro NCAP’s crash tests), so it’s best to find a model that has it fitted.
The C3 was recalled numerous times, albeit mainly for issues that only applied to small batches of cars. The most significant fixes concerned potentially faulty battery earth cables that could cause the engine to cut out, and a possible ABS and stability control issue, so it will pay to check with the seller that the recall work has been carried out if necessary.
What are the most common problems with a used Citroën C3 hatchback?
While more reliable than the first generation C3, there are still some issues to watch out for.
Dom Nash of Wokingham-based Citroen and Peugeot specialists PTS Developments says the most common fault they see involves on the car’s heater not working even when the engine has warmed up. This only happens on petrol models and is caused by a faulty electronic thermostat.
He adds that diesel particulate filters can become clogged with insufficient mileage, which can cost anything from £500 to fix. And while major electrical faults are rare, it is still important to try every feature before you buy.
If you’re looking at a diesel automatic, be aware that they tend to suffer more clutch wear than a traditional manual.
Is a used Citroën C3 hatchback reliable?
On the whole the second generation C3 is proving to be a pretty reliable car, and the French car maker finished 13th out of 24 manufacturers in the 2016 JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study.
Be aware, however, that the car’s low prices might tempt in buyers who also want to skimp on running costs, so look for records of regular maintenance.