2005 Citroen C3 Sensodrive Stop Start 1.4 16V petrol from UK and Ireland


Enjoyable drive, pity about the short lifespan and poor reliability


"Stop start faulty"

"Gearbox fault"


It started with "Stop start faulty" soon after I bought the car, so I drove with it switched off from then on.

After 14 months in April 2014, I'd used the car to go to a client's, and parked normally. When I returned to the car, I started it up and had the dreaded "snowflake" symbol on the dash with all the lights flashing.

The first call to my breakdown organisation. After an aborted attempt with a Citroen dealer who proved that they knew nothing about this type of car, I had it collected by another garage.

Result, new clutch and reflash the ECU software. The first 1,000 cost.

17 months later in November 2015, I was off to a client, stopped at traffic lights on level ground, handbrake on, in neutral. The lights changed, I selected "A" or "Drive" and "Gearbox fault". Didn't select any gear.

Had it collected by the garage that fixed it the first time.

Result, new clutch and actuator. The next 1,000 cost.

Just recently I had the "Gearbox fault" and "Stop start faulty".

Is it time to write off the car?

General Comments:

I've really enjoyed driving this car.

I've followed the instructions, always use the handbrake, even on small inclines.

Yes the all or nothing clutch takes a bit of getting used to. Yes there's a gap between gear changes, and the gear change can be counter intuitive to the road and driving conditions.

Roundabouts can be fun too as it tries to pull away in 2nd gear. This requires a manual shift down to 1st with the paddle.

The paddles are well situated, unlike the Smart where they're on the steering wheel on some models.

It's comfortable for long journeys.

The boot is excellent, big enough for the stuff I have to carry.

It's economical, turning in 44 MPG on long journeys and about 35 in town traffic.

Visibility is good, road holding OK.

The trouble is that it's unreliable.

I have the full service history from new from previous owners and it didn't give many problems in the first seven years.

The only conclusion I'm left with is the life of this type of car is about 7 years (assuming it survives the first year of ownership).

I made a mistake buying an 8 year low mileage automatic car.

I'm currently looking for a more conventional automatic to replace this one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 5th October, 2016

2005 Citroen C3 Stop Start 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Nice car, shame about the software


The engine management system (software) has failed 3 times in a year.

The first time it happened, a software reset was all that was required to fix it and the roadside engineer was able to do that.

The second time it happened, the engineer wasn't qualified to carry out a fix so the car was towed homes, and two days later was sent to the dealer, the software was rebooted again, and the car was 'fixed'.

The third time it happened, the roadside engineer didn't have a laptop and the car has had to be fixed as per the second occasion above.

General Comments:

The car is generally fantastic in every way with the exception of the system management fault.

The Stop start engine is very fuel efficient and the the car has returned over 30 mpg for driving in a large city. The car is equally good on longer journeys, with a swift turn of foot when required, and eats motorway miles with ease.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th November, 2006

19th Feb 2008, 12:23

I'm lucky to say I've never had problems with my 2005 C3 1.6i 16v Exclusive Sensodrive. However my brother has with his 2006 C3 Exclusive Sensodrive

2005 Citroen C3 Desire 1.1 from UK and Ireland


I feel I've bought a lemon


I took delivery of a Citroen C3 Desire on 2 Sept 2005. On 26 Sept 2005 the engine management system failed after having covered 263 miles. I had the car recovered to the dealer I purchased it from, he had the car for four days and couldn't find the defect. nevertheless he said he reset the management system and everything should now be OK. The following three month the car performed well, it was comfortable and pleasing to drive even on a long journey to Scotland over the Xmas holiday period. However on 6 Jan 2006 the engine management system failed again with a serious loss of power and an engine misfire, the car having done at this time 1570 miles since new. The car is now back with the dealer and am pursuing the claim for the ca to be replaced.

General Comments:

Comfortable car to drive.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2006

11th Jan 2006, 14:44

I am a driving instructor teaching in the Citroen C3. I have also had tremendous trouble with the engine management system, as described by the other writer. I have returned the car on numerous occasions to try and sort this out. The problem still remains and the car is now 18 months old. I am unfortunately tied into a 2 year contract hire agreement.