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Citroen C3 Test Drive Review

By Motor Match • 16/06/2023

The Citroen C3 is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable, fuel-efficient hatchback that is packed full of features, let's take a look at what makes it stand out.

What is it?

Citroen has a rich history when it comes to making small, budget-friendly hatchbacks. In more recent times, it has continued this theme, with the modern-day C3 being another example of this French firm’s ability to create cars which really dial down into being as cost-effective yet good-to-drive as possible.

The C3 has remained largely unchanged for a few years but, despite this, it still remains a popular choice among drivers. We’re testing it out here in a new - and very budget-focused - version, called ‘You’.

Citroen C3 details

What’s new?

Citroen’s latest generation of C3 hit the road in 2017, with a very slight refresh coming into play during 2020. It means that this new ‘You’ specification is arguably one of the most notable things to happen to Citroen’s hatchback in the last few years.

It’s a model which aims to fill in where the C1 city car - a model that struck a chord with younger drivers and inner city motorists - since it was discontinued. As a result, it’s pretty stripped-back in terms of equipment and gets its own entry-level engine, too - but more on that very shortly.

What’s under the bonnet?

While the standard C3 can be equipped with a number of petrol or diesel engine options, the You comes instead with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder. It’s naturally aspirated, too, so lacks the turbocharger that you’ll find on most C3 models.

With a five-speed gearbox, the C3 isn’t the speediest thanks to a zero to 60mph time of 12.3 seconds and a top speed of 103mph. However, Citroen does claim a top speed of up to 54.3mpg, while CO2 emissions stand at 123g/km. Be aware that the C3 You does sit in quite a high insurance group of 14, however.

Citroen C3 Side
Citroen C3 side

What’s it like to drive?

The C3 does a perfectly good job of getting you from A to B in comfort. Of course, that little engine is never going to provide the last word in outright performance, but it’s more than happy to sit at motorways speeds. It’s just as easy to drive around town, too, thanks to light controls and weights.

Plus, it still has a great focus on comfort, just as the rest of the Citroen range does. The seats are nicely cushioned, while the You model’s small alloy wheels and relatively large tyres mean it does very well with the UK’s potholed roads.

How does it look?

With its lack of any real styling features or alloy wheels, the C3 You has a distinctly subtle appearance to it - you could argue it looks a little bit like a car you’d hire out on holiday. However, that’s not to say that it’s a bad-looking car - the steel wheels get some nice trims to them while the overall car looks a bit cleaner for the lack of plastic ‘Airbumps’ that you find on the rest of the C3 range.

You still get front and rear LED lights, however, while a standard paint finish - called Soft Sand - is a pleasant break from the regular white colour.

Citroen C3 front
Citroen C3 seats

What’s it like inside?

Inside, the C3 is relatively basic but it’s not completely devoid of features. The seats, as we’ve mentioned, are nice and comfortable and while the steering wheel might not be leather, it’s nicely finished. The dials behind it are really clear and easy to read, too.

Space is adequate for a hatchback of this type, while the robust materials used throughout give the impression that the C3 You will stand up to daily life well.

What’s the spec like?

Given its £13,995 starting price, the C3 You delivers incredible value for money. You still get plenty of equipment, too, including air conditioning, electric mirrors and a compact central touchscreen which includes Bluetooth connectivity so you can pair your smartphone easily.

There are also electric door mirrors to make adjustment that bit easier. But, in truth, isn’t a car you opt for if you’re after all of the bells and whistles. It is, however, still very usefully equipped with all of the bits and pieces you really need.

Citroen C3 interior


The C3 You feels like a car that is very in tune with the time we’re in. As the cost-of-living crisis continues to make daily expenditures high, this is a car which really focuses on making sure that you can get around as cheaply - but as comfortably - as possible.

It’s also very frugal and should prove cheap to run over the years. It might not incorporate the latest technology, but it’s still a car with a very worthy place on the motoring landscape.

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