Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, has already tested the 2017 Citroen C3 in Barcelona, but now he’s managed to get a UK test drive, ahead of the new model’s January 3 on sale date.
I tried the petrol version of the new C3 at its initial media launch in Spain a couple of months ago. Now, it’s time to see what the car is like with diesel power – and, more importantly, how it copes with our pothole peppered roads. But first, let me remind you about the latest Citroen C3 – it has character and is a real looker. The French brand is always good at giving cars a quirky personality – and this model is no different. There are innumerable bright colour combinations to choose from inside and out – and you can have Airbumps stuck on the doors – just like the Citroen Cactus – or not, depending on your mood at the time of ordering.
Speaking of ordering, you can reserve your new C3 now – if you fancy giving yourself and the family a New Year’s treat. And, yes, despite it really being a city focused car, the 2017 C3 will serve as a decent little family-of-four car, too. That’s especially the case with the 100PS 1.6-litre diesel engine, as tested here in the top of the range ‘Flair’ trim.
The five-door car has a pleasing amount of low down shove, meaning you can press on well on dual carriageways, or on smaller urban roads. The Citroen has enough pull for overtakes and it doesn’t feel vulnerable in the fast lane of motorways, either. It’s by no means a sporty drive, though, as the 2017 Citroen C3 is set-up for a relaxing driving experience. The five-speed manual gearbox is long-legged and the car does lean in corners, but not worryingly so. It’s also quite noisy, at around 3,000rpm upwards, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Zero to 62mph arrives in 10.6 seconds and the maximum speed is 115mph. Indeed, the new C3 with this diesel engine is actually a bit of a gem – especially when you see the average fuel consumption hovering at a steady 70+mpg. CO2 emissions are low, too, at only 95g/km.
The 2017 Citroen C3 rides well on our British roads. Let’s face it, they’re not the best in Europe, often with inadequately patched over potholes, or streaked with tar-banding. The C3’s smooth suspension seems to take these challenges on the chin, turning what could be teeth rattling moments into cushioned bumps instead. Thanks to the laid-back suspension set-up, and direct steering, it’s all very civilized – and the car never loses its ability to grip well.
Leg and headroom are good for what is essentially a supermini. Sure, six-footers and above will feel cramped in the rear, but I’ve seen worse. Kids are the passengers most likely to benefit from being there. In the front, there are cupholders and a smallish glovebox, and, back at the rear end, the boot is a good size at 300-litres. It will take a pushchair and some shopping without a problem. Cabin tech is awesome on this new C3, too. It includes a touchscreen that is as responsive as an iPad and there are Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. This means you can mirror your sat-nav from your smartphone onto the C3’s touchscreen. Also, as standard on the top of the range Flair model, there’s a camera fitted near the rear-view mirror that can snap stills or take video. It’s pretty cool to take pics of your journey when you want and upload them to your smartphone, but there’s a serious side: the camera will record footage before, and after, any crash. This is bound to help with accident investigations, insurance issues and all the legalities that go with it.
With the characterful appearance of this car, the laid-back driving experience; efficiency; tech; boot space and overall ride, I feel Citroen’s on to a winner with the new C3. Why not contact one of Perrys Citroën dealerships to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Looks √
- Ride √
- Boot Space √
- Tech √
- Diesel Din X
- Max speed: 115 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10.6 secs
- Combined mpg: 76.3
- Engine layout: 1560cc 4-cylinder turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 100
- CO2: 95 g/km
- Price: £17,095