We’re on the cusp of a massive year for the supermini.

But while expectations will be high for the all-new Nissan Micra and Ford Fiesta, it’s not unreasonable to say the C3 exists in a rather less pressured environment – because, while there have been great Citroën superminis over the years, there has never been a great C3.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
Dynamically challenged, but cheery design makes the C3 interesting

And there still isn’t. But this new C3 improves on the underachievement of those before it by looking (and appealing) like a true Citroën.

It sports abundant alternative design charm that is evident both inside and out, while feeling equally alternative – and not a little charming and authentic to the brand’s heritage – to drive.

The C3’s substance remains somewhat disappointing in the key areas of passenger space, the quality of the cabin materials, infotainment usability and ride and handling sophistication. Which is why it won’t trouble our top five superminis – in case you are interested consists of the Renault Clio, Volkswagen Polo, Mazda 2, Mini Cooper and our class leader the Ford Fiesta.

But the car feels at last like it has been set on the right path, and while it’s no longer quite the bargain it once was, we wouldn’t necessarily advise anyone against buying one if they have fallen for its particular and peculiar charms.

Top 5 Superminis

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Top 5 Superminis

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Driven this week