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Car review: New Citroën C3

The refreshed Citroën C3 is perfectly proportioned for city driving and also offers a spacious and practical interior, writes car reviewer Tim Barnes-Clay.

Citroen C3 exterior

The Citroën C3 has been around for 12 years, but it now has different features to strengthen and enhance its appeal.

This latest model, launched in the UK last summer, reasserts its unique qualities with a panoramic windscreen, improved efficiency and environmental credentials.

It also offers more personality with assertive styling and even greater comfort.

Stylish exterior

The exterior of the five-door hatchback blends soft curves with dynamic taut lines.

A restyled front end creates a fresh face with updated chevrons and bumper-mounted LED daytime running lights.

There are vivid tail-light clusters combined with new reflectors set underneath the rear bumper.

This latest C3 is perfectly proportioned for city driving - it is one of the most pocket-sized vehicles in its segment at 3.94m long and 1.71m wide, and with a 10.8m turning circle.

But it also offers an airy and practical interior.

Boot big enough for weekly food shop

The cabin is finely crafted in typical French style, with quality materials, including chrome detailing and a soft-touch dashboard.

This is underlined with console strips which coordinate with the upholstery.

The instrument cluster is also backlit in white for a modern-day look and easier-to-read driving information.

The 300-litre boot is among the biggest in its class. It's easily big enough for your weekly supermarket shop.

Unique windscreen offers panoramic view

Citroen C3 cabin interior

There's a glut of storage compartments as well, including in the central console, glove box and centre armrest.

The high-set seats make for easy access and give you a commanding view of the surroundings too.

As mentioned, the Citroën C3 has a unique windscreen which provides awesome visibility and is a true technological feat for a whole new driving experience.

It increases the upward field of vision for you and your front-seat passenger by 80 degrees and combines with ultra-slim pillars to give a panoramic view of the road ahead.

The screen also provides solar protection at the top, which gradually merges into clear glass for an optimum field of vision.

Citroën C3 engine responsive & frugal

Obviously engineered for comfort on the road, with a cabin that is well insulated against external noise and vibration, the C3 has a reversing camera and parking sensors.

For added convenience, equipment such as an MP3 audio system, Connecting Box (Bluetooth hands-free kit, jack plug and USB socket) and eMyWay navigation is part of the mix.

The car even comes with an integrated air freshener that gives everyone on board a real sense of well-being.

At ease in town or out on the open road, the new C3 offers well-balanced road manners and, certainly in my test vehicle, the 1.6 e-HDI 115 Airdream, the engine is responsive and frugal.

It does 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 118mph is possible.

Efficient Stop and Start system

The powerplant also boasts one of the most efficient stop and start systems on the market and low CO2 emissions of 99g/km.

Almost 3 million Citroën C3 models have been sold worldwide since 2002.

This might explain why the French company is so keen to keep the momentum going.

Giving the car a shot in the arm to keep it modern and, more importantly, as green as possible is sure to keep sales buoyant.

It's just a shame the brand isn't perceived by some car badge snobs as the quality product it undoubtedly is.

Citroën C3: Pros & Cons

  • Efficiency √
  • Visibility √
  • Comfort √
  • Practical √
  • Image X

Citroën C3: Fast facts

  • Max speed: 118 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 9.7 secs
  • Combined mpg: 74.4
  • Engine: 1560cc 4 cylinder 16 valve diesel
  • Max. power (bhp): 115 at 3600 rpm
  • Max. torque (lb/ft): 199 at 1750 rpm
  • CO2: 99 g/km
  • Price: £16,670

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Tim Barnes-Clay

Leon Poultney

Tim is an experienced motoring writer with a background in radio and TV journalism. He puts his pedal to the metal each week with his must-read car reviews.

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