Comfortable ride thanks to its forgiving suspension
Very high quality cabin considering the price
Nice quiet engines
Poor cabin insulation leads to a lot of noise at speed
Handling is dull with a lack of feedback
The seating could be more supportive
Citroen has a plethora of small cars with the C3 being the closest in the range to being a regular supermini. As such it is up against some very stiff competition from the likes of the Renault, Volkswagen and Ford. The first C3 was released in 2002 and sold well, its quirky bubble looks have influenced the entire market but is the latest incarnation as influential?
Second Generation (2009 - Present):
The good news is that the facelift on the first generation was a sign of things to come. The quirky looks remain but they are now tempered by Citroen's more futuristic aesthetic and everything is looking a lot more accomplished. The biggest change in terms of the daily driving experience is the new Zenith windscreen. Its concave design lets in a lot more light which makes the interior seem larger, driving visibility has also improved. Nice touch from Citroen.
The performance aspect of the supermini market is marked by a lack of contrast between the competing manufacturers. You're normally buying around 1.4 litres, and you're normally getting to 60mph in around 11 seconds. It's much the same with the C3; the entry level 1.1 litre is suitable for new drivers but everyone else finds it too slow and plump for the 1.4i model. The best thing about both of these petrol engines is they are so quiet, when performance across the market is so alike this does make the C3 stand out.
It's a shame that with the quiet engines comes a poorly insulated interior prone to wind noise. Yet so far as comfort and ergonomics go, the C3 is a class leader, its spacious cabin has an almost German quality to its finish. The comfortable upholstery is complimented by the soft approach to the suspension, an approach that renders the handling a little heavy, but that pays dividends passengers on long journeys.
The Ford Fiesta is still top of the supermini pile and the C3 comes nowhere near displacing it. Nor does it offer serious competition to the other top runners like the Mini Cooper or Renault Clio. The C3 is well made car, and it has some nice touches but it simply lacks any kind of driving excitement. A good safe first car perhaps but other than that the competition is simply too strong.