Small but perfectly formed

Along comes another supermini, this one with a windscreen that reaches back to the end of the front doors. The car is cute, highly styled and with lots of chrome to make it look more premium, reflecting Citroen&rsquo;s attempt at a smarter image. The windscreen is designed to promote the feeling of space and light, particularly for the rear passengers. There&rsquo;s a grab handle at the front to move the roof screen forward or back manually and the glass has progressive tinting to keep things cool. <br /><br />Attached to the screen are visors for blocking sun, but since they don&rsquo;t move, they seem a bit pointless. As for the seats, they look nice and are done up in good fabrics, but are a tad hard and lacking in lumbar support for my taste.<br /><br />I found the 1.6 litre petrol (120bhp) engine a little underwhelming. It was perfectly fine on the autostrada in the torrential rain but when we came to the bendy bits, it lit no fires. However, the 1.6 HDi diesel was much more eager to move. There&rsquo;s a fair bit of noise due in part to the low-profile tyres, but the same corners were a whole different ball game and really quite fun. <br /><br />Steering felt so much more connected and better weighted too &ndash; we just need more supportive and cushioned seats. It&rsquo;s worth noting that the wiper blades were very squeaky when the rain wasn&rsquo;t torrential &ndash; you don&rsquo;t expect this on a new car.<br /><br />The C3 feels very French, as it should really, with a five-speed manual gearbox which works smoothly. An automatic box will also be available. <br /><br />Door pockets and a decent bin within the centre console provide more storage and the C3 scores another hit by offering the largest boot in its class &ndash; 300 litres to be precise. Split-folding rear seats help out on the long or wide cargo front too.<br /><br />The C3 looks and feels nicely made and finished. I don&rsquo;t foresee a lot of male interest, it&rsquo;s a tiny bit too pretty for that. Nevertheless, much thought and creativity, not to mention budget, has been injected into a car with great appeal.<br /><strong>THE FACTS: </strong><br />CITROEN C3<br /><strong>PRICE:</strong> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &pound;15,200<br /><strong>0-60MPH:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong>8.8SECS<br /><strong>TOP SPEED:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong>101MPH<br /><strong>CO2 G/KM:&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong>110G/KM<br /><strong>MPG COMBINED:</strong> &nbsp; 67.3<br /><br />THE VERDICT<br />DESIGN&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; HHHH<br />PERFORMANCE&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; HHHH<br />PRACTICALITY&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; HHHH<br />VALUE FOR MONEY&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; HHHH<br />