The bright blue CitroÎn has been with me for six months now and has, thus far, cost me nothing more than a small fortune in diesel, although that says more about UK fuel prices than it does about the carís frugality.
The C3 has grown on me so much that Iím genuinely considering getting one as a second car, so it was important to crunch some numbers and see just how much it would really cost to keep hold of it. Fuel has cost me £558 since the car first arrived at the House of Huff, but thatís got me 6,025 miles so far at an average of 58.8mpg. For those that need to know, that works out at a price of just over £1.26 a litre (blame the occasional motorway service station fill-up!) and just under 10p per mile. Insurance would cost me £230 a year, one of the benefits of being sufficiently old that Iím not considered an unusual risk, and sufficiently young that Iím not considered an unusual risk. However, my C3 has a built in dashcam and, whilst it doesnít make a great deal of difference, the premium drops by another £11 for having the ConnectedCam in place. Iíll just need the annual service for this car, which my local CitroÎn dealer will sort out for £125, assuming thereís no extra work involved, while tyres have so much life left in them that Iím sure I wonít need to worry about them for another 18 months. Theyíll eventually set me back around £360 for a set, while car tax is the usual £140 a year.
Is that worth it? Itís undoubtedly cheap to run, but itís not that cheap to buy, currently coming in at almost £18,000 for this top-spec model. And thatís before options. It costs £2,000 more than the rather premium feeling Mazda2, albeit one powered by a 90bhp petrol engine, but significantly cheaper than my own current best-in-class choice, the SEAT Ibiza. What the C3 lacks for in soft-touch materials and high-quality touch points, it makes up for in practicality, space and frugality. Itís a far more usable alternative to the Mazda, and sips at fuel more parsimoniously than the Japanese supermini can manage. Likewise, the CitroÎn gives away a lot in terms of entertaining handling to the SEAT Ibiza, but the softly-sprung C3 claws that back by being comfortable and relaxed. Forget thoughts of cross-country blasts, and just accept that the French car is the motoring equivalent of a pair of slippers.
Accept its shortcomings (and even see them as strengths) and the C3 makes a great small car. Good enough to own? I might baulk a little at £18,000, but thereís a 74bhp option Iíve not yet driven. Dropping down a power band also means dropping down a trim level, losing some standard equipment, but saving £1,750. That might just make sense.
Date arrived 17th July 2017
Fuel economy 76.3mpg (combined) 58.8mpg (on test)
Built-in dashcam saves money on insurance. Not a lot, but it could save a fortune in the unfortunate event of a claim.
Shutting up the navigation woman is near impossible. The option is hidden away in unintuitive touch-screen menus.