Citroen C3 2020 facelift: New style, new seats, same tech

  • Cosmetic refresh for the popular Citroen C3
  • Advanced comfort seats are the biggest change
  • 97 colour combinations possible with new designs

Citroen has been ahead of the curve for many of the biggest influences on European car sales recently ¨C particularly the ever-tricky balance of emissions, cost and performance. In order to stay fresh, it's just facelifted the popular C3 hatchback.

The sales performance of the compact, practical C3 hatch ¨C more than 750,000 sales since the end of 2016, and a 12.6% increase in business and commercial user sales in 2019 ¨C has been very impressive. Keeping the three-year old design appealing, it's been packed with more kit and and a freshened front end.

New features for the 2020 C3

Meeting the latest emissions requirements ahead of time, Citroen can now turn its attention to a different environment ¨C the one inside the car. The updated Citroen C3, available to order from April for delivery in June, adopts the same comfort-focused ethos as the C4 Cactus and C5 Aircross.

'Advanced Comfort' seats with generous padding and an almost armchair-like feel provide much of the improvement, but the suspension is also optimised for a smooth ride, minimal noise and shock from unexpected bumps, helped by predictable cornering without the twitchiness of rivals.

2020 Citroen C3 exterior, blue

Technology is largely unchanged, as the C3 is already quite comprehensively equipped - including the option of on-board dashcam recording. The only addition for 2020 is front parking sensors. Driver assistance remains slightly behind the pack, limited primarily to warnings rather than semi-autonomous features.

A new look for the C3 in 2020

Externally, the C3¡¯s bumpers, airbumps (the protective plastic panels on the doors) and lighting have all been refreshed. LED signatures that blend into the bold grille depend on specification, but all models gain LED headlights.

Making good use of the two-tone body and bold, high bonnet line shape there are seven main exterior colours (Elixir Red and Spring Blue are new) and four roof shades augmented by a fresh set of exterior graphics for the roof and pillars. Emerald joins red, black and red for the roof, foglight accents and airbump trim; as a result, there are now 97 combinations possible rather than 36 on the previous generation.

2020 Citroen C3 interior

Interior design has been refreshed as well. A new ¡®Techwood¡¯ theme extends inside and out, with light accents and lightwood finish, stitching and fabrics designed to evoke a Scandinavian feel for the cabin, complemented by exterior graphics on the roof.

Finished off with optional 17-inch Vector wheels, the facelifted C3 effectively keeps one of Citroen¡¯s best-selling models appealing in a very competitive market.

What stays the same?

2020 Citroen C3 under a tree, beige

Engines and gearbox options remain relatively limited, to the three-cylinder petrol in five-speed 83hp and six-speed 110hp variants, and the 100hp diesel with either five-speed manual or six-speed automatic (EAT6) transmission. There¡¯s still a 300-litre boot, generous seating for five given the size of the car, and great visibility from the high-stance hatchback shape.

On-board technology, including the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment and suite of connected apps, also continues without modification.

What this means for you

Citroen¡¯s cars are often the most competitively-priced in the real world, and the timing of this facelift means you can either look forward to more refinement and fresh styling later in the year, or strike a really good deal on a 2019 C3 on a 19-plate or 20-plate when the registration changes.

You¡¯re not losing out on anything big by choosing the current model; but the advanced comfort seats are a welcome upgrade, further differentiating the C3 from other small hatchbacks that have been designed around a marketing assumption that everyone wants a hot-hatchback like experience, even on the most basic models. Pre- or post-facelift, the C3¡¯s going to remain good value in 2020.

>> Read more: Best small cars to buy in 2020

>> Read more: Fancy the SUV version? Read the C3 Aircross review

2020 Citroen C3 LED headlights and new signature lighting