Supermini buyers have never had it so good. The new Ford Fiesta is brilliant, while the latest Seat Ibiza is hard to criticise. Even the 2017 Nissan Micra is a gazillion times better than its predecessor. If you’re a car manufacturer wanting to stand out in this sector, you have to do something different.
Fortunately, Citroen is good at different. It’s proven that with its C4 Cactus. Despite its flaws (and there’s no shortage of them), the C4 Cactus is widely loved by the motoring press and buyers alike. So, when it was time to introduce a new C3 supermini, it made perfect sense to give it a dose of individuality by following the same approach as the Cactus.
Looking beyond the Airbumps on the side of the car, the Cactus approach means a trendy interior, no fewer than 36 exterior colour combinations and suspension set up for comfort rather than outright driving dynamics. We’re going to be running a new Citroen C3 for the next six months to find out whether it’s as flawed as the Cactus, or whether it’s good enough to take on popular competitors such as the Fiesta.
First impressions are positive. While the Soft Sand colour of our test car wouldn’t be the first choice of many buyers (especially paired with a white roof), it won’t take long on Citroen’s online configurator to find a scheme that works for you. And while we’re fans of the Airbumps (standard on our car, the top-spec Flair), if you’re not you’ll be pleased to read the entry-level Touch does without them. They’re an option on the mid-spec C3 Feel.
Where the C3 really impresses in the first instance is its interior. Our car has the ‘Colorado Hype ambiance’ trim, which consists of contrasting black and orange fabrics with ‘chevron’ detailing. It looks good – much more characterful and modern than most supermini interiors. It’ll be interesting to find out whether we still like it a few months down the line, or whether it starts to irritate.
Supermini showdown in the MR car park. Citroen dealer would get my monthly payment. pic.twitter.com/jcWjE3FLHI
— Andrew Brady (@MR_AndrewBrady) July 19, 2017
While the C3 stands out in terms of its appearance and interior, there are other areas where it’s less impressive. The engine, a three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol producing 110hp, is a vocal unit. While it’s the most powerful engine available in the C3, it’s not as lively as its noise suggests. The handling, meanwhile, falls short of the new Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza.
We’ll be spending more time with the Citroen C3 to see if it really is competitive in this tough sector. But for now, first impressions are positive.
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