What we love
- Very affordable price.
- Trendy, rugged appearance.
- Spacious interior and boot.
What we don’t
- Cheap interior plastics.
- Engine noisy when pushed.
- Small touchscreen.
The Citroen C3 You! is the cheapest full-size model offered by the French company, replacing the smaller and more expensive C1 city car. Only available through the Citroen Store website, the C3 does not feature some of the personalisation options as the rest of the range but still looks trendy, particularly thanks to its matte-black wheel arches and bumper inserts.
Whilst some hard plastics make parts of the interior feel quite cheap, it still feels stylish and modern. The C3 is spacious and comfortable, with plenty of space for five.
The standard specifications list is not long, but the Citroen C3 features plenty of nice features, including a small black and white touchscreen, Lane Departure Warning and manual air conditioning.
Powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, the C3 feels quiet and refined in the city, but can be quite noisy when accelerating hard on motorways. Whilst the clutch pedal is long and takes getting used to, the gearbox and steering is pleasant.
The third-generation Citroen C3 has been on the market for a while, however the affordable You! model still feels fresh to look at and reasonably enjoyable to drive.
For decades the French have been excellent at making cars that are cheap and cheerful, think the Renault 4, Peugeot 205 and particularly the Citroen 2CV.
None of these cars were particularly well equipped and, in their basic form, fairly underpowered, but they served a purpose in making new cars affordable for all.
However, the days of incredibly cheap new cars are gone. Whilst you could easily buy a car for £7,500 ten years ago, the cheapest new cars today all start at around the £14,000 mark.
With the city car-sized Citroen C1 no longer in production, the cheapest model from the famous French brand is the C3 You!, which costs £13,995.
As such, it rivals similarly sized options from budget brands, such as the Dacia Sandero and MG3, and smaller models like the Kia Picanto.
Cutting the cost
It is easy to think that the basic version of the popular hatchback would have all the typical luxuries beaten out of it with a truncheon, but Citroen has found other ways to lower the price.
First, motorists are not able to buy a C3 You! from any dealership, cutting out the middleman by selling the trim level exclusively on the Citroen website.
Additionally, the cost is kept down by limiting the options list, restricting the available extras to a white roof and a spare wheel.
As with the rest of the C3 range, the styling is trendy, featuring a very bulbous front end with thick chrome bars and sleek LED-powered headlights.
The C3 You! does not look like a base model, however, particularly thanks to the rugged-looking matte-black wheel arches, sills and bumper inserts and white trim on the door mirrors.
Whilst buyers can order the C3 You! in six different colours, the only shade available for the basic price tag is Soft Sand, a metallic beige that suits the model well.
The interior of the Citroen C3 You! feels just as modern as the outside, with a clutter-free dashboard and black and grey seats.
However, whilst the design is classy, some of the plastics used on feel rather cheap and hard to the touch. However, they should be sturdy enough to live up to daily wear and tear.
The seats were incredibly comfortable, with the front pair hugging their occupants in place without making them feel too constricted.
A true five-seater, the current Citroen C3 feels considerably more spacious in the rear than the previous model, particularly in terms of headroom and shoulder space.
Whilst the C3 is probably not the best choice for a set of five fully-grown adults, it would suit a young family very nicely.
Additionally, at 300-litres, the boot is bigger than most of its rivals, however buyers will have to haul their luggage over a relatively high lip.
Whilst the Citroen C3 You! is undoubtedly a cheap car, it still features a five-inch touchscreen to control the radio and take phone calls via Bluetooth.
What’s more, although it only displays in black and white, I found the screen to be incredibly responsive and easy to use.
Alongside the touchscreen, the C3 You! also includes Lane Departure Warning, cruise control, stop-start technology and air-conditioning.
Other models in the C3 range feature a number of choices under the bonnet, but the You! is only offered with a 1.2-litre petrol unit.
Paired with a five-speed manual gearbox, the You! accelerates from 0-62mph in 12.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 105mph, whilst producing an average of 123g/km of carbon dioxide.
Fuel economy was also impressive. The You! typically returns between 48.5 and 54.3mpg according to the WLTP, however the turbocharged engines in the more expensive models are slightly more efficient.
Driving the C3 through the rush hour streets of Coventry, I was amazed at how much travel was on the pedals. The clutch features a high biting point that took a short while to get used to. However, the gear change was pleasant and thankfully rather forgiving when pulling away in too high a gear.
Similarly, the steering was exceptionally adaptable, helping the car feel light and agile when driving at low speeds in the city yet firm and sturdy on the A-roads and motorways.
The C3’s engine is also surprisingly quiet and refined at slow city speeds but can be a little on the noisy side when pushed.
Ride quality is typical for such a small car, with some characteristic body roll around fast-moving corners. Nevertheless, the soft seats help to keep occupants comfortable on long journeys.
Before getting behind the wheel of the Citroen C3 You!, I envisioned myself repeatedly writing the phrase ‘for such a cheap car’.
However, other than some slightly cheap feeling interior plastics and a somewhat undynamic clutch pedal the C3 You! does not feel like a particular compromise.
Whilst it is not quite the cheapest new car on the UK market, the most basic version of the C3 shows that the entry-level motoring can still be incredibly comfortable and stylish.
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