The C3 we have is the 1.4 Hdi 16v Exclusive, with a sunroof. We wanted a small car, capable of munching the miles, as economically as possible. My partner liked the shape of the C3, and I liked all the gadgets, and the oomph of the little engine.
We have had no serious problems, but for a couple of minor niggles, the car is fault-free. What has gone wrong: 1) the left hand rear door bump strip fell off, 2) the black plastic wing mirrors are painted with black plastic looking paint, which peeled off.
I thought the car had more faults, with the trip meter – it said my average speed was 2mph, and average MPG was --:-- . It is unexplained in the user manual that these can be reset to 0 by holding in the button on the end of the RH stalk…
The C3 can be an extremely economical little car – I get around 60mpg regularly, and if I lived somewhere flat, I could conceivably get around 80mpg. The exclusive has cruise control, and if set to 68mph, on a flat motorway with no aircon, it does around 90mpg.
The best bit about the car though, is the engine. It is quiet (for a diesel), refined, and really punchy, considering this is only a 1.4. It is vastly superior to the 8v model available in lower spec C3’s, C2’s and some Fords. In my opinion, the 1.4 16v Hdi engine would do wonders in the C2, as a warm hatch model.
I don’t have any concerns over its ride or handling, if anything it is a little firm over the bumps, but it drives like a go-kart, with a very positive steering. The only problem with the steering is a poor turning circle.
The nose of the C3 is very low to the ground, and I have knocked the lower section of the bumper valance on a kerb. It also has front and rear mud flaps fitted, and with the car being so low at the front, they catch when you go over a tall speed bump, even at 1 mph!
Accommodation at the front is very good, the seats are firm, and the dash is pretty and practical. I’m not bothered that the dash is not soft to the touch, I don’t go tapping it. The dash is rattle free, and though not to everyone’s taste, I like the digital display. The radio is good quality, with 6 speakers, but I would have preferred Digital Audio. Rear room is dependant on the front seats…. If you are in the back, ask the front passenger to move his seat forwards, and you will be rewarded with a very comfortable rear bench, with headrest, and plenty of headroom. The sunroof is an electric slide/tilt type, with a rear section of roof also made of glass. There are a couple of roller blinds built into the ceiling, to keep the sun off front and rear occupants. The sunroof doesn’t seem to restrict the headroom either, with the sliding glass going up and over. The sunroof does rattle though,
Security is very good, with a factory fitted alarm. The door panels are very sparsely decked out, with only the door latch and grab handle on them. I suppose this is to remove some of the vulnerability to potential theft. The central locking button is in the centre of the dash, and the window controls are in front of the gearlever.
Running cost is really low, as mentioned with the economy, but the C3 exclusive is only a group 5 insurance, low tax band car. Servicing on the diesel is every 13000 miles (more than double the distance of other diesels I’ve owned). The down side is the car is fitted with expensive looking 15inch alloys and Michelin tyres. If steel wheels had been an option on the exclusive, I wouldn’t be so worried about kerbing them…
Things we like about the C3: 1)High seating position, 2)good headlights, 3)automatic wipers, 4)automatic headlights, 5)cruise control, 6)height adjustable seats, 7)‘moduboard’ system in the boot, 8)spare wheel is a full alloy, 9)good engine, 10)economy, 11)overall design.
Things we don’t like about the C3: 1)Badly distorted windscreen if you aren’t looking though the centre, 2)would have preferred steel wheels, 3)the 15inch spare wheel is almost impossible to remove from its location in the boot, 4)I’m praying that I don’t have to change a headlamp bulb, as there is not enough room to get a starved mouse between the components in the engine bay, let alone my hand behind the headlamp cluster. 5) the manual doesn’t go into enough detail, and I’m still finding out hidden functions of the car 5 months later – e.g. if you press the windscreen wiper stalk down when the key is out of the ignition, the wipers go to the upright position ready for a car-wash! 6)the bumper inserts and door bump strips are body coloured instead of black. I think the simple black ones make the C3 look better, and are cheaper to replace.