There’s something really pleasing about walking up to our Cobalt Blue C3. When the sun is on it, it seems to shine brighter than any surrounding cars, bringing a hint of summer holiday azure seas to the salubrious surroundings of Huntingdon. Even when itís grey and miserable outside, our C3 is a perky reminder of more halcyon days. Thereís an almost Tonka-toy honesty about this car, its combination of blunt nose, airbump endowed side and chunky rear end treatment looking an awful lot like a Lego-based creation.
Itís not quite so lively inside, as this car has been specced up with fairly plain black cloth seats with black trim around the cabin. Thereís a really nice option that adds some funky red highlights around the interior, but Iím not sure that would go with a bright blue paint job ñ especially as there is plenty of painted metal visible from inside the car.
The panoramic sunroof lets in, rather obviously, lots of light, but it comes at a cost. One is to my shoulder, that canít quite twist round enough to pull the blind forward when the sunís a touch too powerful, but the main problem is that it breaks up the lines of the car. That white roof, contrasting so well with the bold blue body, disappears into a square of deep black thanks to the tinted glass. Iím tempted to sacrifice some light and get a thin white wrap to cover the sunroof and restore the C3ís original design.
After finally getting to put some serious miles on the car, the purity of the chassis is appealing, too. Itís a proper old-fashioned CitroÎn setup, with surprisingly tall suspension combined with pleasingly soft springs. The result is a smooth, if uninvolving, ride that copes with the worst that UKís urban roads can throw at you. At higher speeds, it stays every bit as composed, masking those irritating vibrations on the motorway nicely. With cruise control fitted as standard, itís a relaxing car to cruise in. You forget that itís actually a small supermini car, such is the grown-up quality to proceedings.
While that suspension is pretty cosseting, thereís an unusual quirk from the rear. Just occasionally, and with no rhyme nor reason, it can crash abruptly over a bump, leaving the back end of the car shuddering. If that happens in a turn, it makes it feel unstable, although itís never got close to losing grip. In fact, thatís only happened on a corner over the crest of a hill, the floaty suspension failing to push the wheels back down quite quickly enough once the car got light at the peak. Itís a sharp reminder that this is no sports car, and certainly shouldnít be treated as such.
I generally donít, which is why economy is improving, now standing at 58.2mpg, despite a lot of short urban journeys and the occasional enthusiastic cross-country blast. It regularly returns more than 70mpg on individual journeys, sipping at fuel in nearly all circumstances. Comfortable, economical, practical and stylish. Iím beginning to really like this little car.
Date arrived 17th May 2017
Fuel economy 76.3mpg (combined) 58.2mpg (on test)
Big car feel, even at high speeds. It might be small and light, but it doesn’t feel it.
Bare painted metal is a constant reminder that costs have been cut, even on this top-of-the-range model.