I think it would be fair to say that the previous-generation C3 was a little boring – practical, yes; comfortable, absolutely – but not exactly exciting.

Globally it was the firm’s biggest seller, but in the UK the C3 struggled to match up to the popularity of the ambiguous Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Could the French firm’s luck be about to change with this all-new car?

Borrowing many styling characteristics from its larger sibling, the C4 Cactus, including those trademark airbumps, this new C3 is arguably the most eye-catching of all its rivals and a big departure from the reserved nature of the previous model.

Award-winning engine

But there’s more to this supermini than those eye-catching looks. Citroen has made huge strides over recent years in its engine technology and under the bonnet of our test car is the firm’s 100hp 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel.

We’ve tested this engine in a number of Citroen cars over the past couple of years, and although we prefer the 1.2-litre Puretech petrol in the line-up, in the C3 this diesel proved refined and nippy out on the road. Headline figures of 95g/km of CO2 and a combined fuel economy of 76.3mpg will help keep running costs low too.

It’s not as quick as the cheaper Puretech 110, completing the 0-62mph benchmark sprint in 10.6 seconds versus 9.3 seconds, but engine noise is kept to a minimum and there’s enough pull, thanks to the 254Nm of torque, to make decent progress away from the lights.


Bodyroll is kept nicely in check too, and the steering, although lacking feel, is precise enough. The car’s neat handling is not quite up to Fiesta or Mazda 2 standards – however, where the C3 lacks in driver excitement, it makes up for tenfold in comfort. The suspension does a great job of swallowing up the majority of potholes and bumps in the road, and the seats are large and supportive too.

When it comes to practicality, the C3 stacks up very well indeed with a 300-litre boot, which is bigger than most of its rivals. Measuring just under 4m long, the C3 is clearly a car made for the city, but interior space is impressively plentiful, especially rear legroom, which has increased by 22mm over the previous model.

Brimming with tech

Here we’re testing the C3 in the range-topping Flair trim. It comes equipped with rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, front fog lights, automatic lights and wipers, and a leather gearknob over mid-spec Feel, which is around £1,700 cheaper. Those aforementioned airbumps also come as standard in this spec, although it’s possible to opt out from having them if they’re not to the driver’s taste.

An interesting new feature for the C3 is ConnectedCam. Standard on our test car, it is an integrated dashcam that takes photos and videos on the move that can then be shared online via an app.

It’s a quirky feature that younger drivers will probably find fun; however, it’s a little clunky to operate and the picture quality isn’t great. For fleets, though, the greatest appeal will be that it can also be used as a conventional dashcam that will automatically record and keep footage in the event of a collision, which could prove invaluable in helping to reduce insurance costs.


In the whole-life costs battle, the C3 stands up well overall with a 29.2% residual value and a pence-per-mile figure of 41.6p. It’s cheaper than the comparable Vauxhall Corsa at 44.5p and only marginally more expensive to run than the Fiesta at 39.8p.

The new C3 manages to achieve what its predecessor didn’t: it is now memorable and its quirky styling is going to be a big part of the new car’s appeal.

The fact that it has competitive whole-life costs, offers reasonable value for money and drives pretty well too means the C3 is a great all-round choice and finally something for the Fiesta to be worried about.

Citroen C3 BlueHDi 100 Flair

P11D price: £17,040
On sale: January 2017
Residual value: 29.2%
Depreciation: £12,065
Fuel: £4,276
Service, maintenance & repair: £1,700
Cost-per-mile: 41.6p
Fuel consumption: 76.3mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 95g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £54/£108
Boot space: 300 litres
Engine size/power: 1,560cc/100hp