Citroen C3

Citroen C3 lr

 
By Tim Saunders

Many motorists crave looks and economy but they don’t necessarily have the budgets for both.
So the Citroen C3 with its 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engine is sure to win many hearts and minds. It’s the most efficient car I have driven for a very long time.
With its blue bodywork and white roof the five-door hatchback looks sporty and stylish. It should also not suffer supermarket trolleys gladly… thanks to Citroen’s patented Bump technology. Ram a trolley into the door and should rebound and likely do the assailant a bit of damage. It reminds me of when my Dad bought a car and on parking in a supermarket car park a nasty dent appeared in the door from a trolley. It remained there forever more. Although Citroen’s Bump technology will tackle many trolley problems on doors it cannot cover all eventualities and does not deal with oafs in 4x4s who get out and slam their doors uncaringly into the poor little car next to them. I think Citroen would do well to cover most of the bodywork of their cars in this Bump technology. Dent removal companies would suddenly experience a drop in trade.
Inside the C3 there’s daring orange leather on the dashboard and on the edges of the black fabric seats as well as around the steering wheel. It’s also practical.
The petrol engine is responsive and I like the five-speed manual gearbox and traditional handbrake. There’s engine stop/start and on a full 45 litre tank it will easily cover over 500 miles. Pretty impressive.
Head on it looks quite chunky with its large grille and bumper and inside there’s a reasonable amount of space with an adequate boot for a car of this size. Of course with all the Saunders’ luggage it is often necessary to remove the parcel shelf and this occasion is no different. If only our daughters could travel light but even on a sleepover at their grandparents it seems they need to take the kitchen sink.
The sat nav is easy to use but try as I might I cannot get it to allow me to search by postcode, which is a pain. That said, it is a trustworthy system and I am impressed how it introduces me to some of Devon’s scenic country roads that I have not come across before and I am all the better for this experience.
The C3 can be driven with urgency and it will not disappoint. Driving in Britain during the day has become an utter waste of time due to endless traffic jams and so it is a joy to drive early in the morning or late at night when the roads are quiet. It actually takes us just two hours to travel from Hampshire to Devon at 6am. The same journey during the day can take up to six hours. On a decent long stretch of road the C3 overtakes six cars in a row, all crawling along at under 50mph. It is a very safe manoeuvre, I reassure my wife as she moans at my needless risk taking. No risk whatsoever and the Citroen conducts itself splendidly without even breaking into a sweat. My wife on the other hand… It’s by no means a super fast car but it is quick and does feel like a sports car when the revs are high and the road is clear. The engine bears the distinctive sound of other small three-cylinder Citroens and Peugeots; it’s a sound that has grown on me – and I love the fact that this is turbocharged.
This family sized hatchback comes equipped with all round electric windows and wing mirrors and the central touchscreen operates the heating, sat nav and radio. It is also home to a helpful reversing camera. Here is a car for all mums and dads who are not too old for a bit of fun.

Facts at a glance
Citroen C3 Flair S&S PureTech 110 Manual in Cobalt Blue with Opal White roof
Price: £18,610
Top speed: 117mph
0-60mph: 9.3secs
Power: 110bhp
Economy: 60mpg approx

Tim Saunders on Facebook
Tim Saunders on Twitter
Tim Saunders on LinkedIn