Motoring journalists are often guilty of getting caught up with the sexier elements of testing a car. Handling prowess and 0-62mph sprints are far more entertaining than talking about what armrest a manufacturer has opted for. However, enthusiasts aside, who really stretches the legs of their Ford Fiesta? In reality, the true priorities are things like comfort and practicality. That’s where our latest long term test car comes into its own, because its aim isn’t to chase headlines, but earn that coveted spot on your driveway.
Meet the freshly facelifted Citroën C3, an often-overlooked B-segment choice that is deserving of a closer look. What’s new? Citroën has tweaked the car’s looks to keep it up to date with its latest offering, the newly revealed C4. Developments include standard LED lights and reworked Airbumps. There’s also now even more customisation options – 97 external combinations – that includes contrasting roof designs, coloured door mirrors, fog light surrounds and Airbump colours.
The black and red combination of our test car certainly makes it stand out in the supermarket car park. Being more distinctive is at the top of some people’s agenda, but if you’re after something more subtle, the broad range of options available on a C3 also means you’re catered for. There are some changes to the interior, too. All trim levels come well equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control, DAB radio and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity as standard. Citroën’s new ‘Advanced Comfort’ direction is also evident, with a new foam filling for the seats that serve to further absorb any bumps that make their way into the cabin. Credit to the French marque, these pews are as cosseting as your grandmother’s sofa.
Our C3 gets some rather interesting faux-wood trim for the dashboard, something that adds a layer of sophistication to the cabin. Combine this with touches such as the quirky luggage-strap door handles and you have a rather unique place to spend time. It’s also worth mentioning the reversing camera, although I do wish the resolution was better for a crisper image.
Space in the back is best described as adequate, with head and leg room being about average for the class. Commendable practicality is to be found in the boot, a space that offers a capacity of 300-litres.
Under the bonnet of our diesel C3 is a 1.5-litre turbocharged engine, a unit that should be familiar from many other PSA models. It possesses 101bhp and a healthy 184lb ft of torque. It’s no sports car, with a 0-60mph time of 11.3 seconds, but there’s plenty of grunt for strong overtaking. It certainly delivers in terms of economy. I’ve achieved 52.2mpg over a variety of journeys.
This C3’s real asset is ride comfort, even when wearing these larger 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels. Instead of prioritising an involving drive, cushioned suspension absorbs the worst of road imperfections. With a boot full of brand-new crockery onboard, I was confident of getting it home without a chip. The trade-off is notable body roll through sweeping bends, however, but then not many people will be driving their C3 on its door handles, will they? The same goes for its lack of steering feel, which isn’t ideal for keen drivers, but is perfectly light when manoeuvring within cramped car parks.
The Citroën C3 is all about where you place your priorities, and in the Venn diagram of real life, there’s a lot to like about this hatchback. Stay tuned as we discover more about life with the French firm’s revised B-segment contender.
Date arrived 25th November 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 55.6-67.0mpg
Economy (On test) 52.2mpg