Citroen C3 Hatchback review (2002-2009)
Citroen's established five-door supermini is not a supermini front-runner, but is hard to beat in terms of value.
Citroen's established five-door supermini is not a supermini front-runner, but is hard to beat in terms of value. Particularly since it's been facelifted, which brought much-needed improvements to interior quality. The easy-walk-in, upright-feeling cabin features better door panels and dashboard which no longer feel quite as 'packing crate' quality, while metallic dash trims and redesigned instruments attract. The driving position is good, with a fully-adjustable wheel and comfortable seats. Facelifted models can be detected by a bolder front end design, different rear lights and the availability of a sporty-look VTR model. This variant also offers a 1.6-litre HDi diesel, with 110bhp and a particulate filter for cleaner emissions. Other powerplants include 1.1-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol units, plus a 1.4-litre HDi diesel. All perform well apart from the 1.1-litre, which is willing but slow. Economy of all can't be faulted, but use of space can; the boot isn't huge and the rear compartment is very tight on kneeroom.
The C3 shares its platform with the Peugeot 207, and the facelifted version perhaps benefited from some of the thinking behind that car. It's an appreciable improvement on the first generation model, with more natural steering (albeit still too light at low speeds) and a 'better-planted' feel. Ride quality is comfortable but it's less susceptible to wallow when speeds rise. Structural improvements boost both safety and refinement, but prices remain ultra-competitive. Citroen's bewildering cashback deals mean the 'transaction' price changes almost monthly, but as a rule, expect the C3 to offer sparkling value compared to rivals. It's a better drive, but it's still economics that makes it appeal most.