Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Interesting looking dash but hard plastics used
  • Option to have it in a different colour
  • Multimedia touchscreen improved, but not the best

Sitting behind the wheel of the C3 is a slightly different experience to other hatchbacks of this size. Those who like to sit a little higher up will appreciate the raised seating position, but thankfully, you don’t feel like you’re perched as high up as you would do in the C4 Cactus stablemate. 

For 2020, Citroen's upgraded the seats to what it calls its 'Advanced Comfort' system. There's nothing too groundbreaking here - they're essentially very wide and forgiving seats made with varying densities of foam, but they're extremely comfortable to sit in even on long journeys.

It’s easy to get a comfortable driving position, although taller drivers may find the steering wheel won't reach out towards them enough. We also found the front passenger seat set to be incredibly high and you can't adjust it, which might be ideal for children, but a little clumsy for taller adults.

Some will find the thickly-padded seats to be much more supportive than most, with the driver feeling like they’re sitting in a C3 rather than on it, but we have found this can depend on the person's stature - so take a longer test drive if you can just to make sure.

There aren’t too many soft-touch plastics to speak of, but the dash design is appealing with a choice of different trims and colourful touches that add a bit of visual interest. The good news is you can choose to have a different colour-coded cabin in any model – you don’t have to specify top-spec Flair Plus trim for a bit of personalisation.

The top of the dash is quite low and the view out is better than some rivals, thanks to large windows and a relatively low window line - although the raised seating does help here. That said, the thick windscreen pillars can obsure your view when navigating junctions and roundabouts.

Simple layout with few buttons

The steering wheel isn't too large to hold and the buttons are relatively big and easy to use, although the chosen layout for functions will take a while to get used to.

The touchscreen infotainment system is an improvement on other Citroen systems, too, although the touch-sensitive icons around the outside still need a good prod and it’s annoying to have to change screens to access simple functions, such as the climate control.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both present however, which can make using certain functions easier - even if the latter was only made available in early 2017.

The driver's instrument dials are clear and the big lettering makes it easy to read at a glance, but the central display for the trip computer is already looking dated; with the font best described as 'retro'.

Comfort

  • Citroen’s focused on its comfort-biased heritage
  • Lessons learned from the C4 Cactus
  • Panoramic roof option makes the cabin airier, but reduces headroom

The C3 plays its trump card when it comes to comfort. Citroen knows its customers want and expect comfort over anything else in their cars, and the C3 delivers with wide, spongey seats that are still supportive, along with a forgiving ride quality, even over the harshest of speed bumps. Given it's a city car, its smoother ride will go down well much more so than a Fiesta, Polo or Corsa, especially with anyone who spends all of their time dodging potholes.

As mentioned above, the soft and thickly-padded seats help here as well.

The C3 can be a serene place to spend time if you don't spend too much of it on the motorway as wind and road noise is only an issue at high speeds, even if it’s never overly intrusive. The diesel engine is fairly hushed inside as well, with a little rumble and clatter when cold, before settling down once the engine has warmed up.

The tops of the front seats are contoured so more light is fed through from the front to the back, unlike in the C4 Cactus where the seat backs are almost completely squared-off.

Going for the optional panoramic sunroof may bring even more light into the whole interior, but it does restrict headroom for taller passengers. Legroom for those sat on the rear seats is limited as well, especially with taller passengers up front with their seats slid back. You do get some space for feet underneath at least.

>>Read how we got on with the C3's comfort in our long-term report