There's no doubt Citroen's pretty C3 was a breath of fresh air when it arrived in 2002. Inspired by the 2CV, the five-door super-mini was well equipped and, thanks to the firm's heavy cash incentives, affordable, too.
As a result, used examples represent great value - but with so many engine and equipment combinations to choose between, which hatch is the best?
Low running costs add to the appeal, yet some C3s aren't as good to drive as rivals. Patchy build and flimsy trim are other common complaints, so while the C3 is a lot of car for your money, it's vital you take your time to find a good one.
You can bag a low-mileage one-owner 1.4-litre petrol C3 on an 03-plate for £4,000. An equiv-alent HDi will cost an additional £500, while a 54-reg petrol or diesel will set you back about £7,000.
The first Pluriels are now less than £6,000, and SensoDrive automatic cars don't fetch a big premium as there are lots about. If you want a 1.4 HDi, you'll have to pay for it; rock-bottom is currently £7,200 from a main dealer.
Auto fans should try the SensoDrive before they buy. Its clutchless shift gives a sporty edge, yet changes can be slow. The quirky Pluriel provides a full-length sunroof/drop-top arrangement, but make sure the fiddly set-up is undamaged. Pick of the range is the standard C3 1.4 HDi, with its torquey, frugal diesel. While the Stop & Start works well, cutting power when you come to a standstill in traffic, then firing as you release the brake, it's not as economical as the oil-burner.
With cheap insurance, economical engines and low purchase prices, the C3 makes a huge amount of sense for second-hand buyers on a tight budget. A generous equipment tally can also make the Citroen's class rivals appear miserly - you get six airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard. There's plentiful supply on the used market, and the big dealer network means finding a suitable car shouldn't pose too many problems. We like the low running costs, spacious and airy cabin, curvy retro looks, equipment and dealer support. We don't like the shoddy interior, small boot, poor reliability record in Driver Power surveys and average petrol engine range