This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Citroën C3 review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

There’s a good choice of engines in the C3 range with the emphasis on economy and affordable running costs. The petrol line-up starts with a 1.1-litre with 61bhp (only available in VT trim) but it’s quite sluggish and the better choice is the 1.4-litre with 75bhp. This manages the 0-62mph sprint in a respectable 14.2 seconds while returning 46mpg. Equally popular is the 1.4-litre VTi engine with 95bhp which feels peppy and eager, especially when nipping in and out of traffic.

The top petrol is the 1.6 VTi with 120bhp and like the 1.4 VTi, this was co-developed with BMW. It’s used in the MINI Cooper as well as the Peugeot 207, but although it has extra power over the 1.4 VTi, it doesn’t feel that much quicker in everyday driving. That said, it’s nippy away from a standstill and accelerates from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds while returning 48mpg.

This is also the only engine to be available as an automatic, albeit a rather old-fashioned four-speed gearbox. The diesel range starts with the 1.4 HDi with 70bhp which is a little lacklustre but for more power there is the 1.6 HDi with 90bhp which covers the 0-62mph benchmark in 11.0 seconds and returns an impressive 66mpg. This engine is also used in the Airdream+ version, which thanks to gearbox and aerodynamic changes, emits just 99g/km of CO2, meaning road tax is free.

The top diesel is the 1.6 HDi with 110bhp. Like the 90bhp version this is fairly quiet and smooth, although it can get a little noisy at higher revs. It has strong in-gear pace which makes for easy overtaking, yet still averages 51mpg. It’s also the only model to come with the six-speed manual gearbox. While it’s still rather vague, it’s an improvement over the slack five-speed manual with its lifeless changes.

The C3 is designed to be comfortable and easy to drive, a feat which it achieves supremely well. The light steering makes tight manoeuvres, such as reverse parking, a doddle, helped by good all round visibility. There’s little wind or road noise on the move and the suspension does an excellent job of soaking up bumps and potholes in the road. In fact it offers a ride quality few other small cars can match.

Compared to the previous C3, this model is far superior on the road and this is most noticeable on motorways, where it feels reassuringly planted to the road. It’s not as good in corners though and despite reasonable grip, there’s too much in the way of body roll. The biggest criticism, however, is the steering. While Citroen has attempted to give it more weight, it is still very artificial and there’s little feel through it.

As a result, the C3 isn’t as enjoyable or as confidence-inspiring as cars like the Ford Fiesta or Mazda2.