Citroen C3 review

The supermini sector is a crowded and fierce one, boasting such big hitters as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Peugeot 207, Renault Clio, Fiat Punto, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Jazz, Toyota Yaris, Kia Cee’d, Hyundai i30, Suzuki Swift, Nissan Micra and Seat Ibiza. Phew.

[YouTube:uoooqRNIgeM:New Citroen C3 review]

There’s even the Mazda2 in the pack, a car that was named World Car of the Year a couple of years ago. So, the C3 has historically had its work cut out to find a niche in this growing sector. An all-new C3 for 2010 is set to restate Citroen’s credentials in this area, paired with the three-door ‘premium’ DS3 supermini.

Citroen C3 prices start at £10,790 for the entry-level 1.1-litre petrol model and hit £16,140 for the range-topping 1.6-litre HDi six-speed manual Exclusive. The three Citroen C3 diesel engines include a 70bhp 1.4, 90bhp 1.6 and 110bhp 1.6, emitting 115g/km of CO2 or less – seriously low CO2 figures. The four petrol engines are a 61bhp 1.1, 75bhp 1.4, 95bhp 1.4 and 120bhp 1.6, emitting between 134m-158g/km of CO2.

We drove the 90bhp 1.6-litre HDi five-speed manual Exclusive, a gutsy little engine with 215Nm (159lb-ft) of torque that still manages to return an official 65.7mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 110g/km. Top speed is 112mph while the 0-62mph takes 11.3 seconds – figures that can’t be ignored for drivers with one eye on performance and another on running costs.

Lower gears with this engine will pull strongly, but the fifth gear feels longer for improved economy – good for motorway driving. There’s a nice balance between driving dynamics and ride quality, and the C3 will suit most people’s driving habits and styles on the motorway and around town.

The Citroen supermini will be in its element in the urban sprawl. Steering is very light and the transmission easy to handle for lots of stop-start driving and manoeuvring. The C3 is also easy to park with good all-around visibility, with a huge panoramic Zenith windscreen on VTR+ and Exclusive versions reaching far back into the roof and giving a pleasant airy feeling to the stylish cabin.

It’s an extremely easy car to drive, and the Citroen C3 feels like a big leap forward over the previous model in terms of handling, as well as the interior and overall quality.

As well as the panoramic roof the C3’s interior is generally a huge rise in quality. The dashboard and fittings are not dissimilar to the premium DS3; there’s a reassuring solidity and pleasant tactility to everything in the cabin.

The Citroen C3 will seat four easily, and even five in relative comfort – the way the interior is packaged means there’s a lot of room for a supermini. C3 boot space is 300 litres – large for a car in the supermini class – with a large boot opening for easy access.Exclusive models include features such as digital air-conditioning, electric windows front and back, 16-inch alloys and tinted rear windows. A feature we particularly liked were the electrically-folding and heated door mirrors that tuck in when the engine is turned off – useful in these times of crowded street parking and careless car-park drivers, plus they’re standard on all models.

While the C3 carries over the general shape and proportions of the older model, there are styling updates that give the small car more attitude, including a large front grille and new headlight clusters.

That updates the Citroen C3 for 2010 nicely. It’s a modern car that has enough unique features to make it stand out from the crowd, but it’s not vulgar or overstated.

High specification levels, a modern new design, strong interior space and quality, a frugal engine line-up and some eye-catching highlights such as the panoramic roof combine to make the new C3 a strong entry into the supermini sector.