BY tradition, Citroens have been somewhat non-conventional in design and nature.
The French firm helped pioneer front drive cars and was among the front-runners in using air suspension.
From the days of the DS and ID luxury saloons more than 50 years ago, Citroen managed to look different and even to feel different to the driver.
With the current C3 range of superminis, the marque is doing what it does best...producing a compact family car that's immediately recognisable, economical and fizzing with innovative design features.
The cheeky looking five-door is stylish and cute on the outside and well-proportioned, airy and fun on the inside with bags of character.
Petrol and diesel versions are offered but it's the small petrol models that probably hold most interest for their blend of economy and performance.
The new 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder is available in either 67bhp, 81bhp or 109bhp forms.
It was the latter and most powerful version I drove in top Flair trim.
One of the C3's unique features is its built-in screen camera which has a button under the rear view mirror to take instant photos of the view ahead - or your favourite restaurant - and it also can store video film.
In case of an accident, it automatically activates and saves the footage.
The 1.2-litre engine has plenty of get-up-and-go and is happy to spin freely up the rev range.
Yet despite a spirited time to 62mph in just over nine seconds, it is more an agile super-mini than a hot hatch.
The five-speed manual gearbox has a fairly long-throw between ratios and the ride is on the soft side, making it a good car for poor roads but a little ‘wallowy' when pressing on through bends.
Its nippy performance makes little dent on fuel economy - most owners should easily hit the 50mpg mark on regular routes. My own average hovered around 51mpg with a best of 56mpg.
The three-pot engine makes a pleasant sound and is well insulated keeping cabin noise levels low. Inside the compartment it's light and airy with ample shoulder and headroom.
The hatchback boot holds a useful 300 litres of luggage and the rear seats fold down for extra cargo space.
Generous-sizes door pockets and glove box emphasise the C3's practical family-friendly nature. A seven-inch touch screen occupies centre stage in the facia and operates air con, heating and ventilation as well as the sat nav system.
Front seats are enveloping and comfortable with ample lateral support. Finish is generally of a high standard with plenty of tactile materials.
Standard kit includes cruise control, lane-departure warning system, speed limiter, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink.
If a basic C3 isn't quite individual enough for you, buyers can customise their cars with side air-bumps to defend against parking scrapes, door mirror caps and different roof colours that contrast with the body shade.