Citroen C3 review

French flair

₹ 8,05,500

1.2P Turbo Feel Dual-Tone Vibe Pack (ex-showroom)

Is the new Citroen C3 a hatchback, a crossover or a subcompact SUV? Ask Citroen, and they confuse you further with their answer, calling it a ‘hatchback with a twist’. But does a car really need to fit into a prescribed category to catch your attention? The French clearly don’t think so. 
It’s safe to say that this new compact car blurs the line between a hatchback and SUV, which in turn helps it stand out in a crowded market. That, and the eccentric French design – but more on that later. We spent a hot day out in Goa putting this car to test, and here’s our Citroen C3 review.


From its very French design language to the choice of bold colourways, the Citroen C3 will catch the eye when zipping past you. The C3’s face, with its split headlamps and DRLs, and the chevron pattern adds an upmarket feel to the car. Despite Citroen claiming otherwise, there’s a lot of SUV bits to the C3 from its stance, 180mm ground clearance to the generous wheel arches, and the 15in alloys. 
If the distinctive design wasn’t enough, Citroen is also offering over 50 customisation options and 70 accessories for buyers to pick and choose. Those who don’t prefer to get into these customisation bits, can choose from three preset packs – Vibe, Energy and Elegance. It’s all very RPG game-like where you create a character from scratch, and give it features that you like. It’s clearly a play to stand out from its rivals.

There’s an equal dose of flair inside the cabin, especially if you’re to choose the zesty orange variant. It starts with the textured surface on the passenger side that is hard to miss, and feels good to touch. The AC vents have a funky geometric design, and the chunky AC rotary knobs have a satisfying old school feel to them as they click into place. Citroen has also been generous with spaces and pockets to store your phone and other knick knacks. There’s also a handy wire guide built into the dash, which is essentially a recess to tuck in your charging cable.

While there’s a lot of plastic in use, the overall quality is surprisingly not too bad – at least the bits that are easily visible. Having said that, Citroen has taken a fair few cost cutting measures, and not all of them are subtle. 
For instance, on the outside, the clamshell door handles and the exposed keyhole take you back in time. On the inside, manual ORVM levers, rear window buttons near the handbrake, and the absence of rear AC vents, door lock/unlock button and rear wiper or defogger all scream “a penny saved is a penny earned”.

Tech features

There are car brands that believe in throwing the kitchen sink when it comes to offering tech features. Citroen is clearly not one of them. The highlight of the C3’s not-so-long feature list is a 10in infotainment system that sits on top of the dash, and is easily visible to all passengers.

It’s not the fanciest system around, but it does come with decent resolution, clean and simple interface, and good touch response. You get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a rarity in this segment, and they work as expected. 
Despite the large screen, a surprising omission is a rear parking camera, which is largely considered as a basic feature in cars these days. So you’re left to reverse into tight spaces with the help of some loud beeps, and your instincts.

When it comes to the driver’s side of things, Citroen hasn’t opted for either analogue or digital clusters, but somewhat of a middle ground. There’s a MID that shows basic driving information in black-and-white font that reminds you of old computers running DOS. Another surprising omission here is the tachometer. 
For audio there are four speakers onboard, which surprised us by how good they sound. There’s a nice balance and depth to the sound whether you’re listening to vocal-heavy Bollywood numbers or bass-heavy hip hop. There’s a bit of distortion, but only at max volume, which is not always in use. You can further choose from different presets or use the custom equaliser to tune the audio to your liking.


Citroen has brought in two powertrain options – 1.2L NA petrol with five-speed manual gearbox, and 1.2L turbo-petrol with six-speed manual. There’s no automatic option at launch, which could go against the C3. Needless to say, the turbo is the better option if you want to have some fun while driving. At 110hp power and 190Nm of torque, it packs a punch (no pun intended), and it leaps off the line. The NA engine, on the other hand, lacks that fun factor, but it is nonetheless a capable performer. 
But what really stood out, especially on the twisty roads of South Goa, is just how well the Citroen C3 rides and handles. It may not have the air suspension of the more expensive Citroen C5, but its suspension is tuned to handle bad roads with grace. You know the suspension is hard at work when your spine is not screaming in pain every time you hit a small pothole.

The steering is well weighted and offers a decent amount of feedback, which gives you the confidence to drive fast on windy roads. The SUV-like height does add a bit of roll when cornering, but the wide stance keeps things in control. The ride height coupled with the punchy turbo engine and driving dynamics make the Citroen C3 an ideal choice for family weekend getaways.


There’s a lot going for the Citroen C3, from its stand out design, SUV-like stance, the 10in infotainment system on the inside to the way it drives. Having said that, we really wish Citroen was a bit more subtle in its cost cutting measures. 
If there was a verdict that hinged on the soon-to-be-announced pricing, this is it. In a segment where you find choices like the Tata Punch, Maruti Suzuki Ignis and the Renault Kiger, a lot of the buying decisions will eventually be influenced by how aggressively the Citroen C3 is priced at.

Stuff Says

A good looking compact French car that wows us with strong performance and its few tech bits.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Stand out French styling

  1. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

  1. Strong performance and handling

  1. No reverse camera

  1. No automatic gearbox

  1. Visible cost cutting measures

Engine: 1.2L Turbo petrol
Power: 110hp / 190Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Acceleration: 0-100kmph in 10 secs
Boot space: 315 litres
Efficiency: 19.4 km/l (claimed)