Quiet and comfortable, but pick your engine carefully and take the corners gently
Panoramic windscreen in most models gives a fabulous view and lots of light; seats could be more supportive
Stability control isn't available on all models, hence a disappointing 4 stars in Euro NCAP crash tests
Citroen's reliability is pretty average, according to surveys, but we can't complain about the C3
Huge boot (for a supermini); rear passenger space can't compete with the best, however
Step up from the basic model to get that snazzy windscreen, alloy wheels and air-con
The 1.2 petrol engine is the one to go for, as it offers both decent pace and good fuel economy. The 1.1-litre engine is so slow you may as well be pedalling, while the 1.4 is so strong it makes the 1.6 petrol seem redundant. The diesel models are very efficient but only really make sense if you do loads of miles as they also cost more to buy. If you spend a lot of time on the motorway, you'll appreciate the Citroen's smooth ride and excellent refinement. However, the payoff is stodgy handling: the C3 sways through the corners and has decidedly vague steering.
The highlight of the C3 is its 'Zenith' windscreen (fitted to VTR+ models and above), which extends back above the driver's head, flooding the cabin with light. The dashboard is smart and clear, too, but the seats aren't all that supportive and the rest for your clutch foot is positioned too high. The C3 has a bigger boot than many of its rivals, including the Ford Fiesta and VW Polo, so you'll be able to squeeze in most buggies. It's just a pity the rear seats don't fold completely flat for those occasions when you need extra boot space. Most rival superminis have more space in the back, too. Adults will find the rear seats cramped, and you might find the limited rear kneeroom an issue when trying to fit some types of child seat.
Hopefully not. The C3 was rated 'above average' for mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. Safety isn't quite so impressive. Stability control isn't fitted to cheaper versions in the range, and the C3 didn't impress when crash-tested by Euro NCAP, either: it was awarded 83% for adult safety and 74% for child safety, scores which are easily beaten by the VW Polo and the Peugeot 208.
There are better superminis to choose from, but the Citroen C3 is still a decent buy and shouldn't bust your budget thanks to sensible pricing, good discounts and frugal engines. The Airdream+ model is particularly cheap to run because it emits just 99g/km of CO2, which means it's exempt from road tax and London's Congestion Charge. However, all versions of the C3 suffer from heavy depreciation.