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Citroën C3 ELLE review : the chic and accessible city car

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Introduced some time ago, the ELLE special series returns to the C3 range after its first appearance in 2018. If the first version was all about femininity, this second version of the C3 ELLE is all about chic, with leather and Alcantara upholstery and personalisation to the max. The recipe is working, as this C3 ELLE represents 15% of C3 orders in France, showing that the clientele is there for high-end versions, far from low-cost. What is the value of this C3 ELLE with the 1.2 Puretech 110 engine? The verdict.

A high-end presentation

There is no need to introduce the C3 here, it is quite well known, but in this ELLE version the C3 shows all its seductive talent and this allows us to understand its still vibrant success as it enters its final year on the market. Its soft lines, its two-tone white roof that contrasts well with the black Perla Nera bodywork, all enhanced by touches of matt Silver Blue, a deep glacier blue with metallic reflections that gives it a fresh look. The exterior style is completed by a series of stickers, notably on the roof capsule or the rear quarter panel. In this way, the C3 is adorned with its best assets in this ELLE series, giving it a very noticeable extra charm and a welcome upmarket atmosphere.

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The interior of the C3 ELLE is particularly striking, as Citroën has gone all out here too. In particular, the seats are upholstered in a leather-like fabric called Light Prussian Grey, which enhances the brightness of the interior and gives it an undeniably upmarket feel. Citroën has also used Alcantara, a soft-touch material, on the dashboard and on the upper part of the seat backrests, which adds to the upmarket feel of the C3. The plastics are all hard to the touch, but there is nothing to criticise about the workmanship, which is very solid, high quality and durable. The dashboard gets a touch of silver matte blue on the edge of the headrest, which enhances the interior and adds a little pizzazz. For the rest, the C3 ELLE retains its 8-inch screen, which is too low and with an outdated multimedia system that betrays the age of the car, but the possibility of connecting the screen to Android Auto or Apple Car Play brings a bit of modernity. It is a shame that the connection is still via cable.

In short, it's good to live in this C3 with a delicious top-class atmosphere where you can curl up with pleasure, always ready for a ride at the wheel which, in this configuration, is still quite in the blow, especially with a very appreciable clear but warm interior. Certainly the materials are basic or the screen is too low, but this C3 is far from being surpassed both in terms of equipment and livability with, in particular, a boot volume of 300 litres which is very practical.

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Still fun to drive

Only available with the 1.2 Puretech 110 hp engine, the C3 ELLE can be combined with a manual or automatic gearbox, both 6-speed. On the test drive the C3 was fitted with the EAT6 gearbox, a now outdated gearbox that nevertheless shows some fine remnants by being smart and smooth in the gear changes, except on the first three gears where it retains its tendency to increase the engine revs, generating noise and slight jolts when changing gear, only when climbing and never when downshifting.

This 110 bhp engine is powerful for a car that is all in all very light (1,090 kg), which allows this C3 ELLE to show quite appreciable performance to be driven in all circumstances on all roads without showing any difficulty. Thanks to the EAT6 gearbox, the C3 ELLE is a pleasure to drive on a daily basis and, like all good Citroëns, it is extremely comfortable and smooth, which adds to the pleasure of driving. Admittedly, it is not a sports car and it does not show sensational recoveries, but its smoothness and its comfort contribute to making even the shortest journey appreciable, which is the essential thing.

Compact, the C3 is also very manoeuvrable, with a small turning circle which makes parking easy, helped by the rear view camera which gives good visibility to the rear and makes manoeuvring easier.

The only downside is the fuel consumption, which is very reasonable on the motorway, but very greedy in town, which is the ideal playground for this C3. It's a pity, because the EAT6 gearbox is very smooth and responsive, but in city traffic it increases consumption too much compared to the 6-speed manual gearbox (1 to 2 litres more), which makes it lose its advantage since the C3 is first and foremost a city car par excellence.

But the C3 can also take to the road and cover long distances, thanks to its high level of comfort and its well-controlled aerodynamic noise, which is only really audible at 120km/h. Despite its light weight, the C3 has perfect road-holding, is impervious to the elements and ensures total composure at the wheel. Admittedly, with its flexible suspension, it tends to bounce a little on its legs in tight corners, but this is no sports car and in any case it seems to be glued to the ground.

Finally, this C3 is very pleasant to live in, both for the driver and the passengers, who all benefit from space and comfort. The engine, powerful without being a thunderbolt, responds in all circumstances, loaded or not, in town as on the motorway, while being quiet except in the first three gears. Comfortable and pleasant to drive, the C3 makes driving easy, even around town, where its smoothness, comfort and upmarket ambience eliminate external dangers. It is a pity that its urban consumption is far too high.

In conclusion, this C3 ELLE is an extremely interesting and relevant proposition that allows access to a rather high-end car within a reasonable budget. Indeed, with a price tag of €25,450 for this 110 EAT6 version, the C3 ELLE is accessible and allows you to have fun while keeping your budget under control. It undoubtedly brings a more chic side to the C3, which is somehow reminiscent of the 205 Roland Garros that sold for 84,000 francs in 1989, or 22,000 euros today, minus the technologies. At €25,000, the C3 is indeed well equipped, even if it lacks a few technologies due to its age, but at this price we can forgive that. This is why it is so interesting, because with the addition of leather-effect fabric, Alcantara and top-of-the-range customisation, the C3 ELLE makes a much more upmarket impression, while remaining above all basic. in terms of materials, but that is nothing, as the interior is well put together and exudes quality and durability.

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