The same ‘son of Cactus’ vibe given off by the C3’s exterior is equally apparent as you settle into the flat but comfortable cloth-covered driver’s seat.

The car’s hip point is obviously lower than that of the C4 Cactus, but you sit in a similar bent-legged posture, with your thighs unexpectedly well supported by inclined cushions.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Seems odd that you can spend more than £17k on a C3 with a steering wheel in gold-coloured leather but still get a garden storage-quality plastic handbrake

There’s colour and visual interest in generous supply. The red fascia decoration of our Flair test car is an optional extra, but we like the contrast-coloured door bins, in which contents are easier to spot than they might otherwise be in a darker cubby. And we remain fans of the designer luggage-themed door pulls, which are better placed here than in the C4 Cactus, in that they don’t interfere with knee space.

The orientation of the controls isn’t exactly typical of a French supermini, but that’s no bad thing. The C3 has more steering column reach adjustment than even a 6ft 3in driver needs and well-placed pedals.

The analogue instruments are simple and clear, and while there’s a digital speedo in the centre of the monochrome drive display screen, it’s not included at the expense of a proper speedo dial.

Top 5 Superminis

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

The centre stack is dominated by a touchscreen infotainment system, which, while we have reservations about the way it works, does at least keep much of the rest of the fascia free from switchgear.

USB and aux-in jacks are at the foot of that stack, as is a 12V power outlet, but it’s a shame Citroën has done such an average job of providing storage space nearby. The cupholders, for example, are barely big enough for cups, let alone anything extra.

Further aft, the news isn’t quite so good. The C3 has a below-par amount of passenger space in the second row, with enough room for small adults and children only.

Boot space is more competitive in outright terms, but loading and unloading is made tricky by a deep load lip. Citroën offers both a boot mat and a waterproof boot tray as dealer-fit accessories but no variable-height boot floor.

The latter might have mitigated the effect of that load lip and made through-loading, past the car’s not-quite-flat-folding back seats, easier.

The C3 follows the lead set by other PSA Group cars in the past few years, whereby the air conditioning, stability control and other secondary systems are controlled via the touchscreen rather than console buttons.

Citroën says everything being in the same place makes life easier, but in practice that’s not always so. For example, adjusting the air-con — which ought to be possible almost without taking your eyes off the road — becomes unnecessarily complicated.

The C3’s major innovation is a GoPro-style dash cam hidden behind the rear-view mirror. It continuously records video of the road ahead in case you should need evidence of an accident or just want to tweet a photo from your drive. It’s standard on Flair trim and optional on lower-spec Feel.

Citroën’s 7.0in ConnectNav system looks better than previous PSA Group efforts, is slightly more responsive and is now compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. There are still some frustrations when using it, though, one being that you can’t input an address via postcode on the sat-nav.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week