After a new hatchback? If so, the C3 from Citroen is certainly worth a look. It’s pretty pleasing on the eye, and with standard features that include a multi-function trip computer, body coloured bumpers, MP3 connectivity, and ABS – you’re given it all by this car. Call us today to arrange your Citroen C3 contract hire or car leasing option.
Small French cars used to ride beautifully, grip tenaciously and flow from corner to corner with relaxed, unflustered motion. It may come as news to some motoring journalists but most supermini drivers don’t routinely want to throw their cars about as if they were on stage from the RAC Rally. What most of them would prefer is a model that rolls the red carpet over the average appallingly surfaced British road. It’s all down to the way that the fairly conventional suspension set-up has been tuned, though the downside of that is inevitably extra body roll through the bends. Stay with it though and you’ll find that there’s actually more grip and traction on offer than you might think.
Beneath the bonnet, the third generation model carries over the engines used in the final versions of its predecessor, the bulk of the range built around an efficient PSA Group 1. 2-litre three cylinder petrol PureTech unit developing either 68 or 82bhp in normally aspirated form or 110bhp if it’s been fitted out with a turbocharger. This pokiest powerplant manages 61. 4mpg on the combined cycle and 103g/km, plus it’s the only unit in the range to be offered with an auto gearbox option. If you can justify the premium for diesel power, two 1. 6-litre BlueHDi units are offered, developing either 75 or 100bhp.
At last, Citroen models are starting to look unique and different once more. In 2014, the brand’s C4 Cactus model started that trend and this third generation C3 continues it with a look that according to its maker is ‘distinctively offbeat’. The styling’s certainly unusual, all fluid curves and muscular flanks, with a stance that’s almost SUV-like. Get a version that’s all colour-kitted out and you’ll really be making quite a supermarket statement.
Time to take a seat inside. We’ve mentioned the ‘ConnectedCAM’ camera that sits behind this rear view mirror, allowing owners of plushly-specified C3 models to share road trip photos and videos directly with friends and family. But there’s much more than that to set this cabin apart. The designer luggage-themed over-stitched door pulls for example, the retro-style instrument dial graphics, the intricately-fashioned chrome-trimmed vents, the door bins with their unusual contrast-coloured interiors, there’s even a ‘reverse Airbump’ theme happening on the doors and the speaker grilles. It all attempts to continue the cheery demeanour established before you got in.
Time to take a seat in the rear. Once you’re inside, it’s quickly evident that this isn’t one of the more spacious superminis in the segment. The room on offer will be fine for kids of course, but adults stuck behind reasonably tall compatriots up-front may well struggle a little when it comes to room for their legs and knees.
But then how often is it really necessary to transport burly adults for any real distance in a supermini? Almost never. For the role that a car like this will typically be asked to play in an average family, what’s provided here will, for most buyers, be probably quite sufficient.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the boot. Lift the tailgate and after the relative restrictions of the rear seat, it’s something of a surprise to find that the 300-litre space provided is one of the larger cargo bays in the supermini segment.
All of which leaves us…. well where? From an objective point of view, this C3 is one of the best cars in the class. Subjectively, though, you could easily argue that there’s nothing in this segment to touch it. It all depends on how you view the automotive world. We think this C3 makes it a brighter place.