Product Type: CitroŽn cars
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See you C3!
Member Name: jo1976
Date: 22/01/09, updated on 08/10/13 (3852 review reads)
Advantages: Spacious, economical fuel consumption, looks good
Disadvantages: High repair and maintenance bills, unreliable, doesn't look so good on the back of a tow truck!
After owning my little Citroen C3 for just over 6 years, the time has come to move on to better things. So this week, I have finally part-exchanged my C3 and, hopefully, bid farewell to endless visits to the garage and constant repair bills!
Like most relationships, this started so well. It was love at first sight when I set eyes on the C3, which was a relatively new model when I bought mine back in November 2002. The design of the car is quite funky for a small, relatively cheap hatchback or what is known as a 'super-mini'. It has an attractive curved exterior and looks very modern and stylish. The interior is even more eye-catching with its digital mileometer display, smart curved dashboard and adjustable steering column. It certainly looks like a more expensive little car than the price tag suggests.
It has a very spacious interior for the size of the car and it has been well-designed. The boot is extremely generous and even managed to fit in our old monster of a travel system as well as several bags of shopping. If needed, the rear seats folded forward to make even more room in the back which was ideal for bringing home flat-pack furniture and the like. There was plenty of leg and head-room, even for my husband who is over 6 foot tall. As a small but accessible family car, this certainly looks impressive and is comfortable and easy to drive.
My C3 (the 1.1 L) was the bottom of the range model and cost me just under £7000 from a main dealer back in 2002, when it was sparkly and brand new. A quick google informs me that C3's are currently available for roughly the same sort of price but, in the current economic climate, there is probably scope for some haggling. To be honest though, I wouldn't bother. No matter how much of a bargain you manage to get, it wouldn't be worth the long-term costs, not to mention all the time and trouble of taking this car to be repaired every five minutes.
The appearance of this car is pretty much its only positive feature. I would say that it is economical to run but the repair bills far outweigh any savings in any other areas! To be fair to the C3, its fuel consumption is very good and it is cheap to insure and to tax. (My road tax cost £120 for the year but I understand that newer models fall under the £35 per year banner.) In spite of this, I can't bring myself to describe this car as being anything approaching 'good value for money.' Yes, it looks more expensive than the £7000 than I paid for my car from new six years ago. But sometimes things are 'cheap' for a reason. Citroens in general depreciate in value very quickly because they have a reputation for being poorly made and not very durable. I would certainly say that is a fair assessment based on ther performance of my C3. As for the actual depreciation, I ended up receiving just under £2000 for the car at six years old (although I wouldn't want to pay more than a tenner for a used C3!) so it lost £5000 in six years.
Now, I've already hinted at the unreliability of the car but do have to admit that it didn't perform too badly until after the warranty expired after three years. (Although you wouldn't expect anything less from a brand new car!) Certainly for the last 18 months, my C3 has had a catalogue of faults, repairs, breakdowns and performance issues. I probably can't even remember them all because I think I've tried to wipe them from my memory to avoid thinking about the cost of all these repairs! Here are some of the highlights, bearing in mind that my car was only five years old when most of the faults appeared and hardly an old car, by anybody's standards.
- Faulty suspension spring snapped.
- Exhaust and oil sump corroded. Both had to be replaced.
- Faulty temperature sensor indicating that the car was over-heating when it wasn't.
- Right-hand light constantly fusing and needing to be replaced.
- Loose link rod which constantly rattled sounding as though the car was going to fall apart at any moment. (This was replaced and the same thing started to happen again within a month.)
- Windscreen motor faulty and had to be replaced.
- Air bag warning symbol lighting up for no apparant reason.
- Engine Management warning symbol lighting up for no apparant reason.
- Battery warning symbol lighting up for no apparant reason. (Battery replaced about 6 months earlier.)
All of the last electrical faults were looked at by a Citroen garage a few months' back and they run a diagnostic check on the car (for which I had to pay another bill for) only for it to come back clear and the mechanic just said 'it could be anything or nothing.' He claimed to have cleaned some pipe or other which he felt should resolve the problem but within the space of a fortnight the same warning lights were flashing up left, right and centre again! Their only real recommendation was that I consider buying a new Citroen! I don't think so, somehow! I'd rather throw my money down the drain (actually, that is pretty much what I have been doing with my C3.)
So, at long last I have stopped throwing good money after bad and traded my C3 in for a lovely little Toyota Yaris. No doubt I shall review that in a few month's time, hopefully with a more positive conclusion. As for the C3, I certainly wouldn't recommend buying a used model and if you wanted to buy one from new, bear in mind the speed at which its resale value will depreciate and the likelihood of constant repairs and maintenance bills as it gets older.
Summary: C3 or not C3? Definitely not a C3!!