Citroën ëC3 Review: Brand's Most Affordable Electric
Electric cars are increasingly catching everyone’s fancy in India. More affordable the car is, more eyeballs it grabs. This latest set of wheels from Citroën is one such example. Barely 6 months after launching the C3 hatch in the market, the French car maker has brought in the electric version of the car, which is simply called the ëC3. It becomes the third car from the brand in India after the C5 Aircross, and of course the C3 hatch. We were in Citroën India’s base, Chennai to drive the car.
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Citroën ëC3 Design:
The ëC3 gets the same SUV character as the C3, like the high ground clearance. and use of cladding all over the car.
There’s hardly anything that differentiates the ëC3 from its petrol counterpart when it comes to looks. So the same SUV character continues here as well where elements include use of cladding all over the car, a high ground clearance of 170 mm, and yes, roof rails. The lovely looking DRLs continue to make heads turn. The charging socket is placed on the driver side front fender which has a small ë badge next to it.
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Apart from a small ë badge next to the charging port near the front right fender, the ëC3 is identical to the C3 from outside.
Citroën says a majority of C3 sales have come from dual-tone variants and with the electric too, the brand has introduced 3 exclusive dual-tone options including an orange with white roof. In all, you get 3 exterior packs with as many as 47 customization options to give the car that exclusive look. You can also choose from a list of 70 accessories and 2 interior themes.
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Citroën is offering 3 exclusive dual-tone paint finish options, including the pictured orange with white roof option.
Citroën ëC3 Tech & Interior:
The ëC3 does miss out on some premium creature comforts like auto climate control, but there's plenty of kit on offer still.
The cabin too is largely similar to the Petrol car, but there are some fresh elements as well. The digital instrument console is a little different as it gives you all the necessary information you need while driving an electric car, like the state of charge and the remaining range. For the first time - courtesy an electric drivetrain - we see an automatic gearbox which looks premium and reminds you of the bigger C5. The big 10-inch touchscreen continues to impress as it is easy to use and comes with some nice graphics, and yes, you also get wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay just like the petrol C3.
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The ëC3's instrument cluster has clear readouts for range and remaining battery.
Citroën missed out on providing some key features in the C3 when it was launched last year — this included climate control and electrically adjustable side view mirrors and same’s the case with the ëC3. The ëC3 though comes with My Citroën connect app which offers 35 connectivity features including charge status, geo fencing and intrusion alert. The cabin is spacious something that has always worked for the C3. A wheelbase of 2,450 mm helps in this regard. So whichever row you decide to spend time in you will not be disappointed. You get a boot space of 315 liters and yes a spare wheel is provided too.
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Thanks to a wheelbase of 2,450 mm, there's generous leg-room even in the second row.
Citroën ëC3 Dynamics:
The ëC3 runs on a 29.2 kWh battery that crucially is bigger that the batteries capacity we’ve seen on cars like the Tata Tiago EV and Tigor EV, the main rivals it will go against in the market. Claimed MIDC range is 320 km which also is marginally more than the Tiago EV long range so that could be a big pull factor. You get approximately 56 bhp of peak power and 143 Nm of torque which seems adequate, more so as all of it is available from the beginning.
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The Citroën ëC3 is equipped with a 29.2 kWh battery which drives a small but adequate motor.
The big talking point on the ëC3 is its LFP battery which is not liquid cooled but air cooled, or like Citroën likes to call it, nature cooled. So is that a reason to worry? Well, its widely believed that the level of thermal management required in LFP batteries isn’t as high as on NMC batteries and Citroën claims the battery on the ëC3 has been tested in temperatures up to 55 degrees. The motor too isn’t very powerful which means that the battery pack may not heat up too much. But having said that, the Chennai heat in January maybe wasn’t the ideal test for this battery and we’ll have to wait for the dreaded Indian summer specially up in the north to see how it performs.
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The ëC3 gets 56 bhp & 143 Nm torque from stand-still, which is good enough to accelerate from 0-60 kmph in 6.8 seconds, but allows a top speed of only 107 kmph.
A closed track was the perfect place to test the acceleration and the car is indeed quick. It races from 0-60 kmph in 6.8 seconds and the top speed is 107 kmph both these numbers will suit the city traffic well but maybe on a highway you will be left wanting for more. The 2 driving modes - Standard and Eco have a considerable difference between them and depending on the distance you need to cover or the drive experience you desire you can choose between them. Regenerative braking also plays its part but there are no levels here. Although the size of discs on the front wheels and drums on the rear has gone up and that helps in better braking.
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The hatchback gets two driving modes - Standard & Eco, but there are no levels in the regenerative braking.
Citroën ëC3 Ride & Handling:
Citroën’s both cars in India before the ëC3 have been known for their exceptional ride quality and even this electric hatch offers a comfortable ride. The high speed track was the big test when it comes to handling we were able to throw the car around corners at a decent pace. Remember, this one is a whole 300 kgs heavier than its petrol counterpart, and the ground clearance also is slightly lower and that has made some difference to the way the car handles.
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Despite getting 300 kgs heavier, the ëC3 handles decently and offers a comfortable ride.
Citroën ëC3 Charging:
In case you’re up for a quick recharge, the ëC3 will go from 10-80% in less than an hour using DC fast charge. On the other hand, a 15 ampere plug point will charge the car fully in 10.5 hours. Citroën is offering a warranty of 7 years or 1.4 lakh kms on the battery of the ëC3. The motor gets a warranty of 5 years or 1 lakh kms.
The ëC3 can be fast-charged from 10-80% in less than an hour.
Citroën ëC3 Safety:
Safety is limited to basic features in the ëC3. The car gets 2 airbags, ABS with EBD and reverse parking sensors as standard. One more area where we feel Citroën could’ve made improvements when compared to the C3.
Citroën hasn't added any prominent safety features to the ëC3, and it makes do with standard kit like 2 airbags, ABS, & EBD.
Citroën ëC3 Review Verdict:
The Citroën e-C3 comes across as a reliable city car that offers good amount of practicality and acceptable drivability. It does check most boxes and if you’re looking for an affordable EV in the market, the options are limited and this could be a good bet. Bookings begin on January 22, & the prices will be announced in February. We expect the hatch to start at Rs. 9 lakh, ex-showroom and at that price it will become a good desirable alternative to the Tiago EV.