What are they like inside?
Citroën has never been famed for the quality of its interiors. Climb inside the C3, though, and you may wonder why. The stylish dashboard is finished with colourful panels, and the steering wheel is trimmed in leather. The cheap-looking glovebox lid lets the side down a little, but the C3 feels properly posh.
The Volkswagen Polo’s interior is more sombre, but lacks nothing in swankiness. The squishy dashboard materials and slick switches give a really classy feel, and the quality is high wherever you look. You can’t say the same for the Ford Fiesta’s cabin, in which the plastics in your eyeline look good, but the ones nearer your feet aren’t as impressive.
At least the Ford Fiesta’s interior design is funky. The centre console looks good, even if it is laden with buttons and it takes time to scroll through some of the on-screen menus. Fiddly stereo buttons are our only gripe with the Citroën’s dash layout, and the Polo’s is so simple that you could use it with your eyes shut.
As with the other cars here, the Polo has two-way steering adjustment and a seat that can be cranked up and down. However much you fine-tune your set-up, though, the VW’s offset pedals make you feel ever so slightly awkward.
The C3 has pedal problems, too – the footrest is too high and too close to the clutch, so it gets in the way when you change gear. What’s more, neither car has particularly supportive seats.
You’ll have no such gripes in the Fiesta. Its brilliant seats cradle every part of your back and it’s easy to get a spot-on driving position.
Rear passengers should be happy enough in the Ford and the VW – each has enough head and leg room for two average-sized adults. The Citroën is tighter in both areas, so unless your passengers are dinky, they won’t want to sit there for too long.
All three are closely matched for boot space, with enough room for a few bags of shopping. The Polo performs best if you need to drop the back seats. Its rear backrests fold down flat (although the load area is still stepped); the backrests are heavily sloped in the others.
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