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The jostling to fill the supermini void left by the Ford Fiesta continues with a model that's all about comfort

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The Ford Fiesta may be dead, yet its rivals have taken the initiative by trying to make a new supermini that becomes the default choice in the class.

New Renault Clio, Suzuki Swift and MG 3 models have all been launched in recent months to try to take the Fiesta's crown, and now the new Citroën C3 is making its bid.

The C3 is a visually identical petrol-powered sibling to the new Citroën ë-C3 that is being launched at the same time, the two also sharing a new architecture called ‘Smart Car’ that’s designed to keep costs down.

And it does just that: the new C3 is generously equipped and a newer model still manages to undercut the entry-level Renault Clio.



citroen c3 review 2024 02 side panning

The C3 is a very different car to the model it replaces; even the badge has a new design. Whereas the previous model was quite rounded, the new car is boxy and more upright, and designed to resemble an SUV.

Despite the clear visual differences, the old and new C3 actually share the same footprint and only the height has increased, up 10cm on the previous model. The new C3 is a touch over four metres long and 1.75m wide, dimensions you would expect in the supermini segment.

Styling-wise, there are a few tricks to give a stronger SUV flavour such as a horizontal bonnet, roof rails and skid plates. The result is something that’s quite plain, without the charm and daring you would expect from a Citroën and all very inoffensive. It’s not bad looking by any stretch – we just wish it had a bit more character.

The new C3 is built on a clever architecture, using 30% fewer parts than the old car’s, in order to simplify it and therefore make it cheaper to produce. The Smart Car platform is also going to be used by the new Citroën C3 Aircross and Vauxhall Frontera, as well as other Citroën and Fiat models in time.


citroen c3 review 2024 07 steering wheel

Like the exterior, the interior of the new C3 is identical to its electric ë-C3 counterpart. This means there are some very welcome physical switches and buttons for the heating and ventilation and a 10.25in touchscreen left simply for the navigation, music and wireless smartphone mirroring for either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

The new C3 also gets a clever head-up display that’s projected onto a strip running across the top of the dashboard. It’s neat and tidy and more cost-effective than traditional displays, while also high enough to not ever be obscured by the steering wheel, unlike in Peugeot’s i-Cockpit. The steering wheel itself is small and actually quite rectangular, yet it doesn’t feel odd to use and gets some shortcut buttons of its own.

The boot is 310 litres and is a good shape, although access to it is over a very high loading lip. The rear seats fold in a 60/40 split and there is enough space in the back for rear passengers to be comfortable. 

The seats are all part of Citroën’s Advanced Comfort package, and get extra support in the shoulders and extra foam to be as comfortable as possible – and they are just that. We’re fans.


citroen c3 review 2024 17 performance

My abiding recent memories of petrol-powered Citroën superminis is of them being rather squishy and imprecise with their controls masquerading behind a comfort brief.

The new C3 is a big step forward from that. Take the clutch and the gearlever. I'll always remember a former colleague referring to the gearbox in his Citroën C3 Picasso long-term test car as a random number generator, yet in the new C3 there's a lovely weight to the clutch and a real tactility to the gear shifter. It's a delight to use and interact with.

The 99bhp 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine mirrors its electric counterpart in being nippy off the line but running out of puff higher up the rev range when the turbo has done its work.

To that end, the petrol C3 is also at its best darting around town yet it is marginally more long-legged than its electric counterpart on the motorway.

The standard petrol version of the new C3 will be joined in 2025 by a mild-hybrid version, which uses the same engine but adopts a dual-clutch automatic gearbox with an electric motor mounted within it. 


citroen c3 review 2024 18 front cornering

The main dynamic focus of the C3’s engineers was to make the car as comfortable as possible, through tuning the likes of its Advanced Comfort hydraulic bump-stops in the suspension.

The result is a successful one, with the ride plush and the C3 easily challenging for class honours in the ride quality stakes. The one caveat here is that our test roads in Austria were generally smooth, but we found enough bumps along the way to show that this is a car that should remain comfortable in Britain.

While the controls are nicer to interact with than in the electric model, that's the limit to any extra dynamic involvement. It still rides just as comfortably and the reduction in mass is just about detectable in corners, although the steering's lack of precision and feel prevent it from being meaningfully translated to the driver.

A Clio remains a better car to drive overall, riding as well but being more involving too. The new C3 is now firmly in the conversation, though, and there will be many who will appreciate its easy-going nature and focus on comfort.


citroen c3 review 2024 01 front tracking

The new C3 is excellent value, undercutting the most basic Clio and offering more spec for the money including the head-up display, large touchscreen, comfort seats and suspension included on the electric C3 as standard.

The trims mirror that of the ë-C3: Plus and Max levels are offered but Plus is the one to go for as all the key features of the new car are included as standard. 

The C3 starts from just under £18,000 and will go on sale in July, with deliveries from November. The mild-hybrid version, with a target price of under £20,000, will be available to order later in the year ahead of deliveries in 2025

Economy-wise, we saw an average of just over 40mpg on our short test drive that had a good mix of roads, which is about par for a car of its size and type. 


citroen c3 review 2024 21 rear pan

If you were after a new Fiesta, make sure the new C3 is on your shortlist. Its focus on comfort has been well executed but not obviously at the expense of other areas. A Clio remains sharper to drive overall but many will be drawn to the Citroën’s way of doing things.

The new C3 is superb value, too, and well equipped for the money. It makes for an interesting addition to the supermini class and is the latest evidence that the death of the Fiesta doesn't mean the supermini concept is doomed too. 

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.