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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019
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The Citroen C3 has plenty of fun French style, but what about the substance?

We put the highly customisable small hatch to the test.

WITH ITS NEW C3, Citroen is going back to its roots and trying to create cars that build on one of its traditional core values of comfort in the cabin and on the road.

This emphasis on comfort can be seen and felt almost as soon as you sit it the cabin. The seats are wide and soft but supportive too. In the back, legroom and headroom are actually OK and the comfy rear bench seat can fit three adults… but this is still a small car, so those over six feet may feel cramped on longer journeys.

There is also lots of room in the boot, which can hold 300 litres with the rear seats up or 922 litres with the 60/40 seats tumbled.

Source: Shane O'Donoghue

The dash area is sleek and clean with lovely gloss black and red inserts and flashes of chrome. There is a leather steering wheel, gear knob and luggage strap door handles, which give the cabin a nice elegant feel. It has been given a lot of thought – even the font on the instrument display is eye-catching and makes the cabin feel very modern.

There are very few buttons too as everything is controlled from the neat seven-inch colour touchscreen, which again adds to the modern feel of the cabin. The touchscreen is a little bit laggy but the display and graphics are great.

Source: Newspress

Everything in the cabin seems to be designed around a rectangle motif, much like the ‘airbumps’ on the side of the car. I think it really works and ties the whole car together rather nicely.

Speaking of the airbumps, these have been borrowed from the C4 Cactus and made smaller. You can have them deleted from the car if you so wish, but why would you? They not only add visual interest to the car’s exterior, they are super practical and help prevent knocks from shopping trolleys and other car doors.

Source: Newspress

The C3 is highly customisable and comes with a choice or three roof colours, nine body colours, two airbump options, four wheel options and three interior choices.

The car pictured here has Ruby Red paint, an Onyx Black roof, Red “Urban” Ambience interior and lovely 17-inch diamond cut cross alloy wheels. My test car also had the €400 optional panoramic roof with sunblind, which flooded the car with light but it isn’t really necessary as the cabin is lovely enough without it and it just adds unnecessary weight.

Source: Shane O'Donoghue

The 82hp engine felt a lot quicker than its 0-100km/h time of 13 seconds, but the car does weigh a scant 980kg so there isn’t much weight to heave about. It’s quite economical too with an official combined economy figure of 4.7 litres/100km (60.1mpg).

The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox with awfully long throws, and I did reach for the non-existent sixth-gear once or twice out on the motorway. The steering set-up is progressive, intuitive and way too light for my liking – but this does make the car super easy to manoeuvre, especially in tight quarters.

Source: Shane O'Donoghue

But the thing Citroen have done really well is the overall comfort of the ride. The suspension consists of a Pseudo MacPherson strut setup in the front and sprung torsion bar in the rear, which is common across most of the PSA Group, and it is tuned very well for uneven Irish roads. It just seems to soak up everything with no fuss or drama. The trade off for this comfort is the fact that it isn’t the most exciting car to drive – but that’s OK, cause it is still full of character.

It is this ride quality, combined with the soft supportive seats and quiet cabin that really impressed me the most about the C3. And while the funky French styling might not be to everyone’s taste, underneath the highly customisable exterior there lies a decent small car. The entry price is competitive too at €15,490 as it comes very well specced.

Source: Shane O'Donoghue

READ: The new Audi Q2: Does the small SUV make a big impression? >

READ: What are the differences between PCP and hire purchase and which is best for me? >

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About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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