Used Citroen C3 Pluriel
Based on the C3 hatchback, the Pluriel is a convertible with a roll back roof in the style of its ancestor the 2CV. The C3 Pluriel was launched in 2003, a year later than the hatch. It's available with 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrol engines as well as a 1.4 HDi diesel option. The 1.6 is only available with a SensoDrive semi-automatic with gear change paddles behind the steering wheel. A facelift in 2008 saw a subtle facelift along with revised interior trim and changed equipment levels. The car was dropped from the range in 2010.
Bang for your buck
There are only two trim levels with the Pluriel, Standard and Exclusive, the latter adding air con, aluminium trim and leather upholstery. There have also been a number of limited editions with various permutations. The 1.4 petrol engine is okay around town, the diesel whilst a bit slow off the mark is a good cruiser and will happily hold its own on the motorway. The 1.6 SensoDrive is the fastest with 0-60 in 12.2 seconds and a top speed of 117mph.
The main feature of the Pluriel is its soft top roof which has various permutations. You can slide it part way back as a sunroof or all the way to become a full convertible. You can also remove the side rails for fully open motoring though there's nowhere to store them in the car so you'll need to check the weather forecast before you set out. Add folding rear seats into the mix and the Pluriel can prove to be a versatile load carrier too.
What you'll pay
A 2004 (53 plate) 1.4 car with Standard trim will cost about £1,800. For a 1.6 SensoDrive from 2010 on a 60 plate expect to pay around £5,500. Diesels are popular and a 2010 (60) Cote d'Azur limited edition can command up to £7,000.
What to check
Engines are pretty reliable so you shouldn't encounter major mechanical faults. Trim quality isn't the best so check for wear and tear to the upholstery and interior fittings. Check that the roof rails aren't damaged as the shiny finish scuffs easily if roughly handled. Also check that the hood is working and free from nicks and tears.
Citroen spares won't break the bank. A clutch assembly is about £110 and an exhaust system around £325 including the cat. Brake pads front and rear will be in the region of £40 to £50 a set. A radiator is £170 or so, an alternator should be £250 and a starter motor about £230.
How it drives
The Pluriel may be a convertible but don't expect it to behave like a sports car. If you do you'll be disappointed, the steering feels over light and there's a fair bit of body flex when the roof is off. Like all second hand Citroen C3 cars for sale the Pluriel rides well on smooth surfaces though it can feel a bit harsh on rougher ones. It doesn't feel sure-footed on twisty roads but it is easy to drive around town thanks to its compact size and light steering. Adopt a more relaxed style rather than try to press on and the C3 is an acceptable companion on a long run. Diesels have a punchier feel than the petrol models and plenty of torque so they're great for motorway cruising and will manage over 60mpg if you're careful. The SensoDrive delivers smooth, well-timed gear changes using the paddle shift though it can feel jerky when driven in full auto mode.
There are comfortable seats in the front but the rear is only really suited to kids thanks to limited legroom – especially behind a tall driver – and the broad-shouldered will feel wedged in. Folding the roof is easy and it's not too noisy with the top down if you keep the side rails in place. There's plenty of interior storage for odds and ends and the folding seats make the Pluriel a surprisingly practical package for a convertible.
With its unusual roof configuration a used Citroen C3 Pluriel will get you noticed. It's not sporty but if you accept its dynamic limitations it's a fun car to drive and easy to live with. Diesels are the pick of the bunch and their higher prices reflect that.