Citroen C3 Hatchback 2002-2010

Citroen C3 Hatchback 2002-2010

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Lots of space in the front two seats
  • A logical layout to the dashboard controls
  • Cheap to buy and run

Cons:

  • High positioning of the driver's seat may be uncomfortable for some
  • Small boot
  • Inadequate space for back seat passengers

Overview

The Citroen C3 comes as either a 5 door hatchback or 2 door convertible names the Pluriel. This makes it desirable to both young drivers as well as small families. The driver and front passenger have loads of space in the front, but backseat passengers will suffer for legroom if they are over the age of 12. The dashboard layout is logical and easy to use even if a few of the buttons and knobs are a bit fiddly. The ride is also surprisingly uncomfortable for a Citroen. However, in 2005 they did try to fix the problem and succeeded to some extent. The handling is a lot better in the 5 door hatchback compared to the Pluriel as the soft-top loses a lot of its rigidity when the roof is off.

Exterior and Interior

Both the 5 door and Pluriel C3's are stylish looking cars with a generous amount of kit coming as standard. Inside there is plenty of room up front for the driver and front passenger. The cabin has a nice big open feeling but there is not a lot of space in the back and fitting three people in will be a very tight squeeze. The boot is also exceptionally small and with a big lip and the boot cover doesn't leave much space room for bigger bags to fit easily. There are some drivers who will also find the high positioning of the drivers seat uncomfortable. The Pluriels removable roof is very poorly designed as the supports used to hold the roof in place when up have no where to go when it's down. This means you need to be sure of the weather if you set off from home with the roof down! It is also extremely fiddly to remove and put back with the hooks holding things in place being easily bent and damaged.

Performance and Economy

The C3's 1.1-litre engine is only good enough to be driven around town. As soon as it's let loose on the motorways it feels completely out of its depth. The 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre petrol's perform a lot better being both smooth and lively in town and on the motorway. If you're more interested in the diesels then you'll be pleased to know that they both drive very smoothly, and for diesels are very quiet. Fuel economy wise they manage an impressive 60mpg with the closest petrol, the 1.1-litre, only managing 47mpg followed by the 1.4-litre with 45mpg and the 1.6-litre with 40mpg. With regards to the sensodrive semi-automatic gearbox, it is bets to stay well clear of it at all costs, even if it means not having the 1.6-litre petrol in the Pluriel.

Like to Drive

The C3 is enjoyable to be in with comfortable seats and good all round views of the road. It is nice and nippy through town and handles the motorways fairly well as long as you don't have the 1.1-litre. The ride in early C3 was extremely uncomfortable with every bump being conveyed back to the cabin, but thanks to a redesign in 2005 the ride was improved to smooth out all but the biggest bumps. The handling is good with the C3 cornering competently however it could do with more grip and less body roll. The Pluriel though is terrible with the roof down with serious flex in the body and it feels very shifty over any bumps. With the roof up though the ride feels better and the soft-top does a good job of keeping out most of the wind noise.

Faults and Repairs

The sensodrive gearbox has proven to be nothing but problematic with it breaking no matter how well it is cared for. The only advice we can give on this gearbox is avoid it at all costs! As for the interiors they have proven to be cheap and will break easily if treated too roughly. Other areas of concern are the suspension and electrics, be sure to check everything thoroughly when buying second hand version. As for the Pluriel make sure to inspect the fold away roof carefully making sure it can be put up and down smoothly. Also makes sure that the roof supports are easy to unhook as they can be fiddly leading people to lose their patience with them and they eventually get broken. The repair costs are fairly cheap for most C3 parts so you are not likely to break the bank when you take your vehicle in for a regular service or repairs.


Overall Rating:
Review by TCJW
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Great family car, could do with a little more space"

Exterior and Interior

Possibly the most unpretentious car I've owned, the C3 is very understated. It has a friendly, curvy look and guaranteed to be popular with small families as a school-run car. My C3 is white, with body-coloured bumpers and looks good. You can tell that this car lies on the cheaper side of things, though. For example, the doors don't shut with that reassuring thud so well known with more upmarket cars. Internally, it's not bad. Finished to a good standard, it's a comfortable place to be and the seats don't make your back ache on long journeys. There's a distinct lack of any soft-touch high-quality surfaces, though. Everything is hard and plasticky and really shows why Citroen can sell these for so cheap. There's also a lot less room than the exterior suggests. You can easily fit 5 adults in the car, but the people in the back might be a little cramped. I guess this isn't really as much of a problem for the target market of school mums with a couple of kids, though. The boot is also a lot smaller than I expected. It's considerably smaller than my old Fiat Punto, which isn't great. Handily, though, it includes a hidden compartment under the boot's floor, and this is great for hiding laptops or any breakable objects so you can keep them from getting crushed by larger items or from getting stolen.

Performance and Economy

This car epitomizes 'middle-of-the-road Citroen', and as such, it's not got a whole lot in the way of performance. That's not to say it's slow, though, just not especially fast. Nice and nippy around town and easy to get up to speed, the C3's 1.6 litre engine does the job perfectly well. It's also nice and economical. Averaging around 35MPG around town, it wasn't disappointing and worked out being fairly cheap to run.

Like to Drive

It's not a rocket like some other hatchbacks, but I have had some fun driving the C3. The only issue with having such a high roofline, though, is the body-roll. Sometimes it felt like the car was going to topple when really pushing it. Nice and comfortable, though, I never found any faults. Just not very fun. <

Faults and Repairs

Never had any problems, which is always a good thing, especially for a citroen, who are known for their electronics breaking down.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value