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How reliable is Citroen? An unbiased look at the car manufacturer

  • How reliable is Citroen?
  • Is the Citroen C3 reliable?
  • Why is Citroen reliable?
  • Which Citroen models are the most reliable?

Citroen is one of the most well known car brands in the UK, and a common sight on British roads. The manufacturer established itself as the front-runners of innovation with the Traction Avant,the world’s first mass-produced front wheel drive car. And, since then, have achieved success with a range of vehicles, from city cars to larger family cars.

It is currently part of Stellantis (formerly PSA Groupe), a multinational manufacturer that produces and sells Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall cars.

One of the things that Citroen have been particularly known for is reliability. But, how reliable is Citroen?

In this article, we look at how reliable Citroen cars are, and how it compares to some of its rivals.

How reliable is Citroen?

The short answer is very simple, it was found to be quite reliable.

In the most recent Telegraph reliability survey, Citroen came 13th for the second year in a row, with 115 problems per 100 vehicles.

And, in the 2017 AutoExpress survey of the most reliable cars to buy, the Citroen C4 Picasso, the Citroen C1 and the Citroen C4 Cactus all appeared in the table.

This isn’t the only success the Citroen C1 has seen, as they are 9th in the ReliabilityIndex for Top 100 Reliable Cars, with a reliability index of just 15 (the lower the score, the better). A further seven Citroen models also appear in this list including the C4, C-Crosser, Berlingo and the C3. So it’s safe to say that Citroen models are pretty reliable.

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As a manufacturer, Citroen comes 20th out of 39 on ReliabilityIndex, with a reliability index of 112. This is about average, which is quite surprising considering how reliable some of its models are.

Is the Citroen C3 reliable?

If we look at some of the individual models, we can see that the reliability is varied. The Citroen C3 has a reliability index of 59 and has an average repair cost of £270. The main problem with the C3 seems to be the electrics, accounting for 26.14% of all problems.

How reliable is the Citroen C4?

The Citroen C4 doesn’t do as well, with a reliability index of 85 but that is still well below the industry average. It also has average repair costs of £315.78 which is good for a car of its size. Again, electrics account for most of the problems, but only by a small amount, with engine trouble coming in a close second.

Citroen Picasso reliability

TheCitroen C3 Picasso scores a very impressive 36 on the reliability index, with an average repair cost of just £260.47, which is very affordable. Interestingly, the Axle & Suspension appears to account for most of the C3 Picasso’s problems, with 37.50% of issues.

The Citroen Xsara Picasso also scored very highly, with a reliability index of 46. It also has low average repair costs at £222.58. The main problems appear to be electrical, accounting for 27.68% of issues.

So far, so reliable. However, if we look at the Citroen C4 Picasso, then it achieves a reliability index of just 163. That’s way below (or above) industry average and has received a poor rating. The average cost of repairs is £408.38 which isn’t too bad, it’s lower than some of its rivals. The main problem with the Citroen C4 Picasso appears to be the Axle & Suspension, accounting for 32.88% of all problems.

The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso also doesn’t score that well, coming in with a reliability index of 135. This is more than industry average but only just, so it’s not as unreliable as it could be, or some of its rivals are. Again, the Axle & Suspension accounts for most of the problems at 38.58%.

So the results are mixed for individual Citroen models. But, overall, I think we can say that Citroen are a very reliable brand.

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Why is Citroen reliable?

There are several reasons why Citroen may be more reliable than other manufacturers. One of these reasons is that the vehicles don’t have as much advanced technology as other, more premium brands. This is by no means a bad thing, and it also means that there is less that can go wrong. When modern tech, such as infotainment systems, do go wrong they can be expensive to repair and replace. This brings the reliability down. Citroen does not have this issue and therefore they can maintain a high level of dependability.

Another reason Citroen is considered so reliable is the fact that, when something does go wrong with a Citroen model, it doesn’t cost that much to repair. The average cost to repair a Citroen car is pleasantly low. This could be for several reasons, the most likely being that the parts are quite popular and therefore are easy to source and repair. This brings the overall dependability score up.

And, Citroen have been around a long time and have established themselves at the forefront of innovation. This means that they’ve perfected their manufacturing process more than newer manufacturers have.

So, those are a few reasons why Citroen is considered dependable.

How reliable are consumer surveys?

Okay, this is where we justify using consumer surveys to determine how reliable a car is. Consumer Surveys gather their information by asking owners how dependable their car is. Many use surveys, and others, such as AutoExpress, often use self-reports where the owners can describe more specifically how reliable or unreliable their car is.

This is an accurate way of determining the longevity of a vehicle because it asks those who are driving the vehicle on a regular basis.

man doing a survey on a laptop

Also, things such as ReliabilityIndex use the likes of WarrantyDirect, who supply tens of thousands of extended warranties to all sorts of makes and models. They record information when someone makes a claim, and then use this data to come to an informed conclusion about the most and least dependable cars.

One of the issues with consumer surveys and using ReliabilityIndex is that you don’t always get an accurate view of how reliable a new car is. This is because they are still in warranty and are simply too new to determine the long term reliability. This isn’t anyone’s fault, obviously, it’s just the way things are. But it does mean you don’t always get a completely accurate view of the latest models. That said, many use predicted reliability which is often quite accurate.

Overall, consumer surveys are pretty reliable as a way of knowing how dependable a car is.

Which Citroen models are the most reliable?

The following are the most dependable Citroen models:

  • Citroen C3

  • Citroen C3 Aircross

These both score very well on ReliabilityIndex and on the Which? Consumer Report, and are the most reliable Citroen models available.

Which Citroens are the least reliable?

  • Citroen C4 Picasso
  • Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Both of these models score pretty poorly on the dependability scale, so it’s best to avoid these ones if you can.

In conclusion, Citroen is a solidly dependable manufacturer. It has been on reliability tables for quite some time now and it doesn’t look like it will be moving any time soon. Some of its models are more reliable than others such as the C1 and the C3 Picasso, so if you want the most reliable Citroens you should look at them. In terms of the company’s competitors, it holds its own, so you won’t have to worry that you could have had a more reliable model elsewhere. Ultimately, Citroen make good, reliable and affordable cars. What more could you want?

Citroen reviews

View the Citroen C4 Cactus

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Rachel Richardson
Latest posts by Rachel Richardson (see all)

12 Comments

  • Paul Tabone| 20th September 2020 at 1:11 pm Reply

    I own a 2008 Citreon V4 Lounge which I am very happy with. I wish to have my car overhauled, converted to digital from analogue and renew all rubbers and whatever is necessary to give it a new lease of life. This because there is no central console and many times I have to go out from the passenger side. I cannot hop or jump over as I had broken my spine. I travel very often in Sicily and it is a wonderful driving experience.
    Any body to suggest a specialist. It doesn’t matter which European country.

    • Rachel Richardson| 23rd September 2020 at 11:42 am Reply

      Hi Paul,
      It sounds like you have a big project ahead of you. We would recommend you contact a Citroen Forum. There are several across the world (it’s a popular manufacturer). We have found this group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/classiccitroenfans/ that may be able to help you.

  • Lorna Burt| 15th April 2020 at 11:29 am Reply

    I have a 67 registration C3 which is still under warranty. Although this car has done less than 12,000 miles it has needed to go in for repair 5 times. Three of these occasions was for loss of power and two for being unable to select any gears. The first occasion I was unable to select gears was in October 2018 and the RAC towed it to the garage and it was repaired under warranty. The same fault occurred on the 7 April and the RAC mechanic was able to make a temporary repair and advised me to change gear gently to drive it to the garage. This morning I have been told by the garage that because the gears are now working they cannot identify the exact fault and so in order to have the appropriate part replaced I have to pay £100 as this is not covered by the warranty. I have agreed to this as I know without repair the same loss of gears is going to occur again, but I feel very unhappy about the unreliability of this car in general. I would be interested to know if other C3’s of this registration have had the same faults as mine or am I just unlucky in having such an unreliable car?

    • Rachel Richardson| 15th April 2020 at 2:18 pm Reply

      Hi Lorna,

      There are several places you can go to find out about common issues with a specific model year of vehicle. One of the best places is the Car Recalls website where they list every issue that has caused a recall for a specific vehicle. We hope you are able to find your answer here.

  • Jack| 11th August 2019 at 9:25 pm Reply

    Had our C4 Exclusive 8 years now and it just now becoming unreliable insofar that the car was needed to travel to the airport to pick visitors from the USA and the display was showing all sorts of problems preventing me from starting the car. Being in the AA I called them out to get me on my way. The visitors meanwhile had called and said they would get the National Express to Coventry and phone again when they had arrived at Pool Meadow.
    The AA man arrived within the hour and said it was too complicated for him to sort but there was something we could try if I was willing, I went along with his suggestion. We disconnect the battery for twenty minutes and try again. He showed me how to disconnect the positive and reconnect it and it worked like a charm. We had a flat tyre and i was told by a passerby (There are no warnings for a flat tyre on this vehicle) we took it straight to the local tyre repair using the 1/2 tyre. After the repair the satnav would not perform and the Tyre Depo said they had not used the USB as they had no need there were no alarms on the wheels. After performing the AA method disconnecting the battery all was perfect again.
    This weekend we drove 100 miles as fast as we could within the speed limits to the Forest of Dean when we came to return home there was a battery fault showing and this prevented the car being started. I called the AA after trying the disconnect – My wife said I had not waited long enough. The AA had sent a local garage along who checked that all was good, the battery was OK etc. I told him of the AA solution so we tried that. It worked like a charm – My wife said I told you – you had not waited twenty minutes- I will never live it down! The garage man was in a quandary as to what to fill in on his report but very pleased that the problem had been resolved. He put it down as a temporary repair as the AA would not come out again for a similar fault he said.
    It would be nice to have some feed back from Citroen as to the best method of fixing these spurious faults.
    Kind regards
    Jack

    • Rachel Richardson| 13th August 2019 at 2:13 pm Reply

      Hi Jack,
      It seems that you’ve been able to find unusual resolutions to the issues you’ve experienced (after a considerable time) with your Citroen and I have no doubt that any other owners of a car with that lifespan will be happy to hear of the fix you were given.

      If you are, at any time, looking to replace your trust C4 Exclusive with a newer model, please get in touch with Amanda on 01903 223391 and she will be able to help you on the journey to a new vehicle.

  • Steve| 23rd July 2019 at 4:39 pm Reply

    I have a citreon C4 Exclusive it is just on 4 1/2 years old and only done 16008 miles. I have just had to have one of the fuel injection valves replaced is this a common problem if so should citreon pay for this.

    • Rachel Richardson| 24th July 2019 at 9:30 am Reply

      hi Steve,

      We aren’t aware that Citroen have an issue with the fuel injection valves. And, as the vehicle is 18 months out of warranty we can’t see how you would have any recourse with Citroen. However, we are not legal experts.

  • George Messenger| 10th January 2019 at 8:46 pm Reply

    I am disgusted that a manufacturer can produce something that they knowingly is defective…..worst still our Government allow them to sell it to us….Citroen have for years been very poor in a number of areas, namely axle and electrical. I cannot understand why a company would want that….

    • Rachel Richardson| 11th January 2019 at 9:19 am Reply

      Hi George,
      Thank you for sharing your viewpoint with us and our readers on this topic.

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