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Citroen C3 interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

Space in the front of the Citroen C3 is more than sufficient, but that’s true for every model in this segment. What helps the Citroen here is its tall side windows with extra front quarter lights ahead of them, bringing plenty of light into the front of the cabin and affording excellent visibility for front passengers.

That said, access to the front seats through the door openings isn’t quite as easy as the best in class. We found the front seats were positioned a little too far back, while the steering wheel intruded somewhat prominently, making it harder than necessary to sit down.

Your view out the front might be good but the C3’s over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t quite as impressive thanks to chunky rear pillars. Again, however, that’s true for every single rival in the C3’s segment because they all want to score highly for rollover safety. Thankfully, all but entry-level C3 models come with rear parking sensors, while a reversing camera is fitted to higher-end trims.

Standard equipment

C3 trim levels have chopped and changed several times through the model’s lifespan. Prior to 2020, entry-level models came in Touch trim with cruise control, lane-departure warning, DAB radio and Bluetooth. This trim was re-introduced in 2023 as You! Entry-level C3s aren’t very common, however, and most were specced to at least Feel trim with 16-inch alloy wheels, a contrast-colour roof, climate control, and a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Flair trim is common for pre-2020 C3 models. This gets black rubberised 'airbumps' on the bodywork, leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob, automatic lights and wipers, and rear parking sensors. Flair Nav, later Flair Plus, adds 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic high beams, a reversing camera, automatic emergency braking, and a built-in sat nav for the infotainment system.

From late 2020 to 2023, Sense was the new C3 entry-level trim. You get climate control, lane-departure warning and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Mid-level trims were renamed to C-Series, with 16-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, and a contrast-colour roof. Shine and Shine Plus now top the C3 range with their spec mirroring the equipment offered on older Flair and Flair Nav cars.

Savvy shoppers should note that Citroen has offered several special-edition trims through the C3’s lifespan. Popular trims available on the nearly new market include Saint James and Origins versions, which usually get generous standard equipment along with unique paint or upholstery options to stand out.

Infotainment and audio

You get a seven-inch touchscreen in all Citroen C3 models except older cars in Touch trim. The screen handles many of the cabin functions including most of the major climate controls. That’s a bit of a shame because it’s far from the best system on the market, with slightly laggy responses and unattractive low-resolution graphics.

It does, at least, include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you’ll be able to use your favourite mapping and entertainment apps directly without messing with Citroen’s interface. There’s an enormous bezel around the touchscreen, revealing how old this setup actually is, but Citroen has at least outfitted it with touch-sensitive hotkeys to jump between common infotainment functions.

Aside from the basic radio setup in older Touch-trimmed C3s, most versions use a standard six-speaker stereo. This is the only audio option on this car and most casual music enjoyers will have no complaints about the sound quality. Audiophiles will be disappointed, however, that there’s no option to add an upgraded stereo, even to range-topping models.

Rear seat space

The C3 is a small car, so it’d be unreasonable to expect lots of rear passenger space. Sadly, even compared to cars in the same class, the C3’s back seats are a bit of a disappointment. Adults will fit but their knees will be pressed against the front seatbacks if anyone over six-foot tall is sat up front. Rear headroom is also a little worse than most rivals, partly because rear passengers are sat quite upright, bringing their heads closer to the roof.

Unlike the pleasingly squidgy front seats, the rear bench is quite hard, so passengers might complain of backache if you’re trying to travel long distances in your C3. There is a very slight silver lining, however, because the flat bench means using all five seats is fractionally easier than some rivals because the centre-rear passenger isn’t as squashed between the bolsters of the outer two seats.

There are Isofix points in the two outer rear seats but the C3 isn’t the best choice for carrying children. As we’ve established, space is already very limited, but access is made more challenging by the rear door openings which are a slightly awkward shape. That means you’ll have to bend over and contort yourself uncomfortably to secure a wriggling toddler in their car seat.

Boot space

There’s a nice even 300 litres of space in the C3’s boot. That means it’ll easily handle the weekly shop or a single large suitcase plus some smaller soft bags. The opening is wide enough, but there’s an annoyingly tall lip you’ll need to lift your cargo over before you load it. Drop the rear seats and you get a much more spacious setup, but you’re left with a pronounced ridge where the boot meets the folded seats. Some rivals offer an adjustable boot floor that creates a flat load bay when the rear seats are down.

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