Citroën C3 car review – ‘How many times do you intend to crash this car?’
It was orange, the Citroën C3, zingy orange with its signature air bumps – bobbly side-panels, presumably in some part made of air – carved in black, so obviously I jumped straight in, and before I knew it I was on the M25 in the dark, rain driving towards my windscreen like pellets. It was the wrong time to find out that the wipers were a little lackadaisical, like twin teenagers who said they wanted to clean your car but really just wanted a fiver.
Let’s talk about the point of those air bumps, since they are unignorable, even more so on this than on the larger Cactus. They exist so that you can have a little ding and it won’t show. Then you can have another, and another, and when it starts to show, you can replace your panels at far less expense than bashing back the bodywork. So the obvious question is: how many times do you intend to crash this car? Because in my experience – and this is anecdata worthless to anyone but Michael Gove – it’s quite rare to go into the side of someone. And I can tell you from the one time I did it – in a Vauxhall Mokka, into a hairdresser who needs her car for work – that people don’t like it. Really, the only way to get the most out of a C3 and its USP is if everybody has one. If you’re going to design a car on the basis that everyone will have one, why not do something much cooler, like make it horizontally stackable or solar powered on a wireless multishare grid? Huh?
I suspect the air bumps are there to give you peace of mind for when you think you might crash: so we’re either talking about a driver who is gung-ho, or the fact that the handling is a little floaty, the body control is pretty loose, and the road conditions shoot through you, like reading the history of the tarmac in butt-braille. So often, you think, “I don’t have as much control over this vehicle as perhaps I would like. In fact I feel a bit like I’ve stumbled on to a motorway in what is really a toy devised for the child of an oligarch. But never mind! For anything untoward, I have my air bumps.”
The interior feels pricier than the drive. A lot of black leather, a seven-inch touchscreen, a superfluity of speakers, Bluetooth connectivity. I take a lot of these things as given, but I had a passenger who’d not been in a new car for a couple of years and she was astonished. I also went antiquing and got a curtain rod into it with no bother at all. So it’s not all bad; but nor would I say it was entirely good.
Citroën C3 in numbers
Acceleration 0 to 62mph in 10.6 seconds
Top speed 115mph
CO2 emissions 95g/km
Combined mileage 76mpg
Eco factor 9/10
Cool factor 6/10
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