In 2022, Citroën discontinued its popular C1 city car, which had increased in price to $16,961.42. This departure was bittersweet for many of us, as it highlighted the challenges faced by the European car industry in producing affordable new cars. However, considering that the C1 had originally been priced at less than $9692.24 in 2014, some may wonder if Citroën had overlooked the affordability aspect of the car’s market positioning as it aged.
Citroën’s solution to replace the discontinued C1 is the Citroën C3 You, offering the best value for money in the modern compact hatchback category. Essentially, it is a five-door C3 available at a lower price point than the C1. While it may not be considered a “full-size” supermini, it does provide five doors and seating for five passengers with more interior space than a city car like the Dacia Sandero, MG 3, or Kia Rio. Additionally, the C3 You offers a useful 300-liter boot space, making it a practical option.
Despite not having as generous standard equipment as some competitors, the C3 You was priced at an attractive $15,740 upon launch, representing a 20% reduction from the entry-level C3. Citroën achieved this by reducing discounting and focusing on essential features, while still offering stylish body-coloured bumpers and door handles, white door-mirror caps, and contrasting C-pillar styling. Despite being a budget option, the C3 You certainly doesn’t look like one.
The C3 You’s interior may disappoint those who expect the same flair and style as the exterior. Citroën has opted for dark mouldings and a simple plastic steering wheel, likely due to cost considerations. The car’s infotainment system is also basic, with a small monochrome display and limited connectivity options beyond Bluetooth media streaming.
The seat upholstery features some brighter touches, but the seats themselves only provide average passenger space for a small car, especially in the second row. Although the front seats are soft and quite spacious, they lack the necessary shape and back support for comfortable long-distance travel.
The Citroën C3 You is equipped solely with a naturally aspirated 1.2-liter three-cylinder petrol engine, which produces 82 horsepower and is paired exclusively with a five-speed manual gearbox. When driving, the car displays Citroën’s characteristic light steering, flexible body control, and a primary ride with a relatively long suspension travel.
Although the clutch action and gearshift lack a distinct feel, the engine is responsive and capable of accelerating swiftly when required. Additionally, it can be quite refined and fuel-efficient.
Although it lacks the low-end power and high-end fuel efficiency of a turbocharged supermini such as the Dacia Sandero, the Citroën C3 You still offers respectable performance as long as you’re willing to put in some effort with the engine and gearbox. The engine is a willing revver and runs smoothly when it’s spinning.
The Citroën C3 You may not be the most practical budget car available, but it’s definitely charming to drive and has an attractive appearance (except for the steel wheels). While the Dacia Sandero and MG 3 offer more space and better equipment for the money, the C3 You has intangible qualities that make it stand out.