Used Citroen C3
A history lesson...
The Citroen C3 first appeared in the UK in 2002 and was a welcome alternative to the sporty superminis which were dominating the market at the time. The used Citroen C3 was concentrated much more on affordability, practicality and economy rather than being a GTi pocket rocket.
Originally there were three models, the entry-level 1.1 litre, a 1.4 litre HDi version and the Desire. In 2003 the curious Pluriel was launched featuring a configurable roof which offered various modes of topless motoring. Because its rear seats could be folded and boot lid dropped it was even marketed (fairly ambitiously) as a light-duty pick up!
In late 2003 ABS became standard with all models and several extra features were added. 2005 saw the launch of the Stop & Start model, this model automatically switches the engine off when the car is stationary and starts it when it's time to go.
A major revamp occurred in 2005, improving the look of the car, the suspension and steering as well as interior quality. The SensoDrive gear box was also significantly altered.
The second generation Citroen C3 was released in 2009 and was better in every way. The Mk2 is much better looking on the exterior and interior and boasts major improvements in security and safety. This pushed the price up at the time but second hand Citroen C3s are available at bargain prices.
Bang for your buck
The Mk1 used Citroen C3 is a non-threatening, functional family car with an attractive interior and digital instruments. Its family-centred nature can be seen in the extensive storage space and child seat fixing points.
The Mk2 is much the same in many regards but appears sleeker despite being slightly larger than its predecessor. It has one of the largest boots in its class and the Mk2 Citroen C3 can easily hold 4 adults. The interior and console controls are much improved over its predecessor.
What you'll pay
A used Mk1 Citroen C3 for sale will set you back around £2675 for a 2002 1.4 litre LX. The more popular diesel versions are around £2875. At the top end, £3750 should land you the plush 1.6 Exclusive.
Second hand Mk2 C3s start at around £7600 for a 1.4 petrol version and a 2010 1.4 diesel VTR+ will require £8400.
What to check
Used Citroen C3 engines are known to be reliable and no known issues have emerged. Being a family car it is well worth scrutinising the interior for toddler-damage.
Mk1 parts are reasonably priced; £110 for a clutch, £325 for an exhaust system. Mk2 parts are considerably more; a replacement alternator being £170 and a mighty £13 required for a headlamp bulb.
How it drives
The Mk1 Citroen C3 version drives well, think safe, soft and sedate. Diesels are much punchier than petrols in general and all models are surprisingly economical.
The Mk2 features improved suspension and drives better than the Mk1 in urban areas. Noise levels have also been much reduced. Its only really drawback is its slightly inferior handling compared to other superminis.
The 1.4 litre diesel engine is probably your best option when choosing a used C3 for sale and more and more are entering the second hand market.