CAR badges are enduring emblems ... think of Jaguar’s ‘Leaper’, Audi’s interlinked rings, and, of course, Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy. And then there is Citroen’s double-chevron badge, which has a significance for the whole of the automotive world.

For it is an image of a Citroen invention, the helical gear, which is used in every vehicle on the road. Before the helical gear, gearboxes produced a constant whine, gears were difficult to engage and not particularly reliable in transferring power.

Andre Citroen changed all of that early last century with helical gears, and their ‘herringbone’ teeth gave the company its badge.

So all those people (10,000 in the UK) who have bought the new Citroën C3 can proudly point to their chosen marque’s important place in automotive development.

That sales figure was clocked up in the first six months since its official launch here and makes the attractive supermini the manufacturer’s top-seller in the UK. In all markets combined, almost 160,000 sales have now been recorded.

The car’s appeal begins with its looks, the distinctive design enhanced by a highly customisable offering, with 36 different exterior colour -combinations.

The popularity of that wide-ranging choice is emphasised by the fact that 95 per cent of C3 sales have seen a two-tone (body/roof) paint finish specified.

Our top-end Flair Blue HDi 100 model was white topped with a red roof and detailing. The paint choice was repeated inside, in a comfortable cabin with well thought-out ergonomics and a large, panoramic sunroof which floods the interior with natural light.

Useful technology abounds, with a seven-inch tablet-style touch-screen to access many of the car’s functions and ConnectedCAM Citroen – the world’s first built-in dashcam, which allows the driver and front passenger to safely take photos or videos that can be instantly shared via social media using a free app.

It also operates as a conventional dashcam in the event of an on-road incident.

The driving experience is easy-going, with a smooth ride from pliant suspension and torquey power from the 1.6-litre diesel engine harnessed to a five-speed manual gearbox, giving 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 115mph, while returning 76.3mpg combined (manufacturer’s figures).

With a feeling of strong build quality, this refreshingly engaging car combines flair, practicality and economy. Price: £17,950