Citroen isn’t having a good time in Australia, sales are almost non-existent as the French brand struggles to find room to move in a crowded market. We test its newest C3 small hatch to see if it deserves more attention.

The Citroen C3 stands out from the crowd, thanks to its stylish looks and funky design details. It takes a leaf out of the Mini book by offering configurable packs that add dashes of colour on the fog light surrounds, side mirror caps and front doors. You can also choose between four different coloured roofs if you really want to make a statement. A white car with a red roof and side mirrors looks surprisingly good, but the pick is the teal blue exterior with black roof and highlights. Citroen has persisted with its quirky “air bumps” — three plastic bubbles on the driver and passenger doors that protect the car against doors opened carelessly in carparks. In a nod to the popularity of SUVs, the designers have given the C3 a tough, off-roader-style front end.

Too often small-car interiors are a sea of grey fabrics and greyer plastics. Not so the Citroen. The two tone fabric on the seats incorporates a strip of colour near the headrests, while the dash also gets a splash of colour break up the grey plastics. The luggage strap-style door handles are a nice touch as well. The touchscreen is smallish but the display is clear and the menus are reasonably easy to navigate. Leg, head and shoulder room is tight in the back and there are no air vents or USB ports for rear passengers. First-world problem: the cupholders are comically small. They’ll fit an old-fashioned can of soft drink or a cappuccino, but you can forget about your reusable water bottle for the gym. There’s no centre console to store stuff out of sight, either.

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