Citroen C3 vs Hyundai i20 vs Volkswagen Polo
We see if the new Citroen C3 shakes up the supermini market as it meets the Hyundai i20 and VW Polo
A glut of new superminis is set to arrive on the market over the next 12 months, and the first to hit the UK is the new Citroen C3. The hatch has been lagging behind the competition for years, but this all-new model aims to address that.
The brand has applied much of the same styling and engineering that made the C4 Cactus such a success, so in this sector full of talented rivals, the C3 certainly has individuality on its side.
It will need it to beat our class favourite, the Volkswagen Polo. The VW was crowned Best Supermini at the Auto Express New Car Awards in July for its refinement, decent practicality, smooth engines and smart styling. It’s the complete package, and while the Citroen takes a different approach to tackle the same brief, it will have to deliver the same appealing mix of qualities to oust the Volkswagen.
There’s also an outside bet providing practicality for a similar price. The Hyundai i20 offers competitive levels of kit, while the new 1.0-litre turbo petrol model we test here has enough tech under the bonnet to match both rivals. Which comes out on top?
|Model:||Citroen C3 Flair PureTech 110|
|Engine:||1.2-litre 3cyl turbo, 108bhp|
|Annual road tax:||£20|
It’s clear to see the design of Citroen’s quirky C4 Cactus crossover has influenced the look of the new C3 supermini. The brand has toned down some of the styling elements, but it’s still not short of character, which is an important factor in a crowded class. Here we test the £15,995 C3 Flair 1.2 PureTech 110 to see if it can claim class honours for Citroen.
Car group tests
Used car tests
Testers’ notes: While the design has evolved, interior quality still isn’t the best. However, the quirky but functional design backs up the exterior. It’s also comfortable and spacious.
|Model:||Hyundai i20 Premium 1.0 T-GDi 120|
|Engine:||1.0-litre 3cyl turbo, 118bhp|
|Annual road tax:||£30|
Hyundai’s i20 isn’t the biggest seller in the supermini class, but with the 1.0-litre turbo in £15,525 Premium trim, it offers decent tech under the bonnet and in the cabin at a competitive price, not to mention practicality and space. So can this alternative pull off road test victory?
Testers’ notes: Our car’s £550 Iced Coffee metallic paint only comes with Black Grey cloth inside. Go for Sleek Silver, and the Blue Grey upholstery inside is brighter and much more vibrant.
|Model:||Volkswagen Polo beats 1.2 TSI 90|
|Engine:||1.2-litre 4cyl turbo, 89bhp|
|Annual road tax:||£20|
The Volkswagen Polo is the class benchmark. As our favourite supermini, this is what the new C3 has to beat, so here we test the £15,795 1.2 TSI 90 Polo beats edition to see if the blend of refinement, quality, practicality and precision is still enough to take the Volkswagen to victory.
Testers’ notes: This Polo’s white interior and red detailing won’t be to everyone’s taste, but in teaming up with beats audio there is at least a decent sound system with a 300W amplifier.
First place: Volkswagen Polo
The Polo is still our favourite supermini, as it offers the best blend of performance, practicality, price and efficiency. It’s head and shoulders above the C3 when it comes to ride and handling, too. The boot is smaller, although there’s still enough space for most occasions. The big benefit is that it’ll be cheaper to buy and run than the competition, plus it has a higher-quality feel.
Second place: Citroen C3
Low emissions mean the C3 will be affordable for business users, but the price and steep depreciation will see private buyers spend and lose more money. It’s not the best car to drive, either; the inconsistent ride stands out. However, the individual sense of style, roomy interior and decent practicality establish the Citroen as a contender in the supermini sector.
Third place: Hyundai i20
It’s powerful and practical, but the i20 is no faster or more versatile than its rivals. It’s blander, though, and in a sector where neat touches can make the difference, the dull Hyundai blends into the background. Factor in its higher CO2 emissions and it’ll be the most expensive car to run for company drivers, which could be a deal breaker for many people.
Is it worth waiting for this model?
Nissan Micra Acenta IG-T 90
Due: Early 2017 Price: £14,995Engine: 900cc 3cyl, 89bhp
Like the C3, Nissan’s imminent new Micra is bigger, roomier and more refined than the car it replaces. It also features some clever tech that’ll see it rival the Citroen and VW. An equivalent-spec Acenta will cost £14,995. Deliveries start early 2017.
|Volkswagen Polo beats 1.2 TSI 90||Citroen C3 Flair PureTech 110||Hyundai i20 Premium 1.0 T-GDi 120|
|On the road price/total as tested||£15,795/£18,410||£15,995/£17,825||£15,525/£16,075|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£6,950/44.0%||£5,226/32.7%||£6,750/43.5%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£567/£1,133||£542/£1,084||£588/£1,176|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,428/£2,381||£1,538/£2,563||£1,497/£2,495|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||15/£706/B/£20||16/£690/B/£20||11/£583/C/£30|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£288 (2 services)||£400 or £11pm (3yrs)||£349 (3yrs)|
|Engine||4cyl in-line/1,197cc||3cyl in-line/1,199cc||3cyl in-line/998cc|
|Peak power/revs||89/4,800 bhp/rpm||108/5,500 bhp/rpm||118/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||160/1,400 Nm/rpm||205/1,500 Nm/rpm||171/1,500 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/fwd||6-spd man/fwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||45 litres/repair kit||45 litres/space saver||50 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||280/952 litres||300/922 litres||301/1,017 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||10.6 metres/N/A||10.9 metres/N/A||10.2 metres/0.33Cd|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||3yrs (60,000)/1yr||5yrs (unlimited)/1yr|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||10,000 miles (1yr)/223||20,000 miles (1yr)/196||10,000 miles (1yr)/173|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||24th/28th||26th/18th||30th/23rd|
|NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars||90/86/41/71/5 (2009)||N/A||85/73/79/64/4 (2015)|
|0-60/30-70mph||10.0/11.0 secs||9.7/10.5 secs||10.0/9.8 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||5.4/7.6 secs||4.6/7.7 secs||4.9/6.6 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th/6th||10.8 secs/N/A||11.0 secs/N/A||9.9/13.2 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||114mph/2,000rpm||117mph/2,500rpm||118mph/2,500rpm|
|Auto Express economy/range||68/52/66/72dB||74/51/62/70dB||68/47/61/70dB|
|Noise outside/idle/30/70mph||43.6/9.6/432 miles||40.5/8.9/401 miles||41.6/9.2/458 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||150/109g/km/18%||161/103g/km/17%||157/112g/km/19%|
|Auto box/stability/cruise ctrl/AEB*||£1,375/yes/yes/£395||No/yes/yes/no||No/yes/yes/no|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||£380/no/£360||Yes/no/no||Yes/no/no|
|Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go||£550/£900/no||£495/no/£250||£550/no/no|