$18,990 – $22,990
Good: The C3 features modern styling, quality interior, spacious boot, and an optional panoramic sunroof which creates an amazingly airy cabin.
Not so Good: The rear legroom is only average, entry level 1.4L petrol engine lacks oomph and handling and steering feel behind the class best.
Design and Engineering
Good : The 2nd generation C3 arrived in Australia in November 2010. It’s bigger than the previous model, slightly longer, wider and (very slightly) sportier. The less whacky styling is expected to equate to more buyers, yet it still remains a stylish looking supermini, design highlights include attractive L-shaped headlights and an optional panoramic windscreen that goes well back into the roofline to create a truly airy cabin.
Not so good : Calling it sporty may be stretching it a bit, as its overall shape is more Homer Simpson than Lance Armstrong, and if you live in central Australia you probably won’t lust after the optional panoramic windscreen when the temperature is 40 degrees.
Interior and Styling
Good : A shift in use of materials makes this car far nicer than the previous model. The fit, finish and interior design feels premium and we like the use of brushed aluminium (optional) and chrome finishing. This C3 does without the digital driver’s instrument cluster of the previous model and the return to an analogue design helps to create a more premium feel. The driving position is good as the steering wheel adjusts for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out).
Visibility is impressive and cabin space feels better than before even though the wheelbase is shared with the previous model. The C3 ticks the storage box with a good sized glove box and boot space for a supermini- a roomy 300L with the rear seats in the up position.
Not so good : The driver’s seat is quite firm and the 2nd row legroom is by no means generous so big teens beware, and smaller folk may bemoan lifting shopping bags in as the base of the rear cargo zone is quite high.
Good : There are three engines on offer – a 1.4L petrol (58kW and 118NM) available with a five speed manual gearbox, a 1.6-litre petrol (88kW and 160Nm) with a four speed automatic transmission and a 1.6-litre turbo diesel (66kW and 250Nm) with a manual transmission. The 1.6L petrol is a smooth little engine, which stays quiet even when revved and has a respectable fuel figure of 7.0 litres per 100kms (official combined figure), though the performance on offer is more than adequate for its intended use. The turbo diesel is also impressively low on fuel consumption, an official combined figure of only 4.3 litres per 100kms.
Not so good : The entry level 1.4-litre petrol engine will not blow you away, producing only 58kW of power and only 118Nm of torque. If you can stretch to the 1.6-litre petrol or the turbo diesel we think it’d be well worth the extra outlay of $$.
Ride and Handling
Good : A much nicer drive than the previous C3, ride quality is noticeably better and it’s more fun to drive when the road turns twisty. For most owners the steering will get the thumbs up as it’s nice and light.
Not so good : Let’s not get too carried away with the handling as the C3 is still firmly in the comfort rather than sporty camp. Push on over b-grade quality back roads and it is no match for the class leading Ford Fiesta or Mazda 2.
The steering is also rather vague however as the C3 isn’t trying to be a hot hatch, we shouldn’t be too critical.
Buying and Owning
Good : The C3 is much better value for money than the previous model, as the entry level VT grade comes standard with dual front and front side airbags with the VTR+ and Exclusive grades adding front curtain airbags to take the count to six. All grades also come standard with ABS brakes, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Emergency Brake Assistance and Electronic Stability Control. Standard features across all the range include steering wheel mounted audio controls, an MP3 compatible sound system, a multi-function trip computer and air-conditioning.
The VTR+ grade adds a leather steering wheel, cruise control, a cooled glove box and front fog lights. The top of the range Exclusive grade sees the addition of Bluetooth and USB connectivity, climate control air-conditioning, a front centre armrest, interior mood lighting and a size bigger 16-inch alloy wheels amongst other goodies.
Not so good : Lined up against the competition the C3 is more expensive than most of its direct competitors (i.e. Volkwagen Polo, Honda Jazz) and a tyre mobility kit replaces the traditional spare wheel and tyre which country buyers might not be so keen on.