Review: Citroen C3 (2017)
Comfortable seats and ride quality. Much improved interior quality. Standard built-in dash cam on Flair models.
Entry-level model misses out on some key equipment. Rear legroom tight with taller passengers up front. Manual gear change feels sloppy.
Citroen C3 (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £11,900, brokers can source from £13,053
- Contract hire deals from £106.79 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 10–20
- On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure
Inspired by the air-bump covered C4 Cactus, the Citroen C3 is cute and stylish – but it isn’t just a pretty face. It’s comfortable, easy-to-drive and comes with a great engine range plus there are some unique features too, like the option of a built-in dash camera.
Despite its compact size, the C3 has a spacious cabin along with a decent boot. Rear legroom is a bit tight with tall passengers up front, but there’s plenty of headroom and access is good thanks to the five-door body. The 300-litre boot is plenty for shopping trips and luggage, but buggies might be a squeeze.
On the road the C3 is very comfortable, with good ride quality and quiet engines, whether you choose petrol or diesel. It’s not the sharpest-handling small hatchback, but if you’re more interested in taking it easy than tearing down country lanes that’s no bad thing.
There's a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine with three power outputs, plus a BlueHDi diesel with either 75PS or 100PS. Emissions are low across the board and should make for affordable running costs. The most frugal diesel is officially capable of 80.7mpg, while the petrols all manage around 60mpg officially.
Plenty of technology comes as standard, including lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, cruise control, a speed limiter, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Moving up to mid-level Feel trim adds alloy wheels and a big, clear touchscreen system with MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
The unique gimmick of the Citroen C3 is ConnectedCam, a built-in, GPS-enabled screen camera. It's standard in top Flair models and has a button under the rear view mirror for taking instant snaps of events on the road ahead, plus 128Gb storage for saving video clips. It will even automatically save clips if it detects an accident, though footage isn’t as quite as clear as many aftermarket dash cameras. It needs to be linked to a smartphone to which an App has to be downloaded, then stores photos in the phone's picture library.
You can customise a C3 with various contrasting roof colours, air bumps and door mirror caps – but on most trim levels the air bumps are optional. They’re standard on top models but if you’re not keen on the way they look they can be deleted at no cost.
If you’re more interested in style, customisation and comfort than sporty driving, then the Citroen C3 is a great choice of small hatchback. It’s surprisingly practical, with a spacious, airy cabin, plus it’s reasonably priced and should prove affordable to run.
What does a Citroen C3 (2017) cost?
Citroen C3 (2017): What's It Like Inside?
The cabin of the C3 follows the same comfort-focus of the C4 Cactus. The seats are wide and soft and there’s a light, airy feel to the cabin. Plus there are lots of cute touches like an airbump-style motif on the doors and air vents. Material quality is sturdy and while there aren’t many posh soft-touch plastics to be found, the quirky design means it doesn’t feel cheap.
Front seat passengers will have no trouble getting comfortable, but with taller occupants up front there is very limited rear legroom. Children won’t have trouble getting comfortable though, plus the five-door layout means access is good. Boot space is decent too at 300 litres, but there is a high load lip, which gets in the way when unloading.
That’s no issue for the usual shopping trips and weekends away though – and there’s more than enough space for those. Folding the rear seats frees up 922 litres, but the seat backs don’t fold flat so big, bulky objects might be difficult to get in and out.
Standard equipment includes DAB radio and Bluetooth for audio and calls, but for alloy wheels and air conditioning you’ll need mid-spec Feel trim. Fortunately, if you do that you’ll also get a touchscreen system that’s responsive and easy-to-use, plus Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink capability.
The only downside to this system is the lack of physical controls for some functions, like changing temperature. That means navigating through the touchscreen menus to change settings, which is distracting on the move. There is voice control, but we found it to be a little clunky and inaccurate.
Touch is the basic trim level and comes with 15-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, DAB radio, Bluetooth, two rear Isofix mounts with top tether, Lane Departure Warning System, speed limit recognition, speed limiter, coffee break alert, cruise control and a speed limiter.
Feel adds 16-inch alloy wheels, contrasting roof colour, gloss door mirror caps, wheel arch extensions, LED running lights, improved audio system, 7-inch touchscreen, front and rear electric windows, electrically-adjustable door mirrors, MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay.
Flair adds black air bumps, roof-coloured door mirrors, leather steering wheel and gearknob, cornering fog lights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, ConnectedCAM dash camera, auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors plus a reversing camera.
Child seats that fit a Citroen C3 (2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Citroen C3 (2017) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.2 Puretech 68 to 1.6 BlueHDi 100
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 33–69 mpg
With the C3, Citroen has prioritised comfort over agile handling. Over lumpy roads it rides well, ironing out all but the harshest potholes without much fuss. The result is a little body roll when tackling bends, but there’s plenty of front-end grip to keep things pointed in the right direction. It feels very comfortable for a small hatchback.
There is a 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine that comes in three versions - 68PS, 82PS and 110PS. Plus there's a 1.6-litre HDi diesel that comes with either 75PS and 100PS. Of these the best bet for most buyers is likely the 82PS petrol, since it blends running costs, price and performance very well.
All the engines are pretty perky and responsive, but the higher output engines are more relaxed and capable on higher speed roads like motorways, where the C3 is surprisingly refined and quiet, plus it has cruise control as standard.
Running costs are low. Even the least frugal petrol versions have official economy of more than 60mpg, while the diesels are capable of between 76.3mpg and 80.7mpg, depending on the wheel size chosen. Emissions are from 92g/km to 109g/km.
There's a five-speed manual gearbox as standard across the range, with no six-speed versions on offer. Despite that, high speeds aren’t too frenetic - but if you want to really relax then the optional six-speed EAT6 auto is the best bet, though it is only available with the 110PS petrol engine.
Around town the C3 is easy to drive, with light controls that make stop and go traffic trouble free. It isn’t perfect though - gearchanges can be a little sloppy and the petrol-powered models have quite a sudden clutch, but after a few minutes of acclimatisation neither is a real problem.
Safety equipment is generous even on basic variants, with lane departure warning, a speed limiter, speed limit recognition and coffee break alert on all cars. There’s also a built-in dash camera as standard on top models, or as an option as part of a pack on mid-spec Feel versions.
|1.2 Puretech 110||50–63 mpg||9.3–13.0 s||103–107 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 110 Automatic||63 mpg||-||104 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 110 EAT6||49–58 mpg||9.8–10.0 s||104–118 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 68||58–60 mpg||14.0–14.2 s||108–109 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 82||51–61 mpg||13.0–14.2 s||99–110 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 82 ETG||66 mpg||14.4 s||99 g/km|
|1.5 BlueHDi 100||76 mpg||10.0 s||97 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 100||76–83 mpg||10.6–10.8 s||87–95 g/km|
|1.6 BlueHDi 75||79–81 mpg||11.3–13.8 s||90–93 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Citroen C3 (2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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