Citroen eC3 Road Test Review – Electric Frenchie

French car maker Citroen is all set to launch their 1st Electric offering and a very important one too, the all electric version of the C3 which they call the eC3 goes up against the Tata Tiago EV in the affordable all electric hatchback segment. We drive the Citroen eC3 on the testing tracks outside Chennai understanding it better and getting you all the information on it in our detailed review here.

Food for Thought

The Citroen eC3 becomes the first car model to launch in all electric form in under 6 months of its ICE version. The eC3 uses an air cooled battery back placed under the floor of the car. The eC3 uses LFP cells sourced from Chinese firm Svolt. The French car maker plans to produce 25,000 units of the eC3 and sell them here with exports also planned. The eC3 rivals the Tiago EV scores over the Tata in terms of dimensions, boot space, tyre size and in drive range.

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Exteriors

In terms of exterior styling the Citroen eC3 looks identical to its ICE version. The eC3 has an overall length of 3981mm, width of 1733mm, height of 1604, ground clearance of 170mm and wheelbase of 2540mm which are all best in class. Unlike electric cars which have EV like face the eC3 comes with rather conventional face just like the ICE C3. You get dual-tone SUV like bumper with integrated head lamps and fog lamps in place, large air dam and the coveted Chevron Citroen logo in its new design. The fog lamps retain the contrasting color surrounds around them.

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Side profile continues to sport the lift type door handles, black cladding around the wheel arch and door section, blacked out window area and glossy black roof rails. What changes here is the EV charge port on the fender and the special ‘e’ badging placed next to the charge port. The 15 inch wheels get stylish multi spoke alloys finished in chrome and the wing mirrors get white finish along with the roof top too fiving that sporty dual tone look to the eC3.

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The rear profile continues to look stylish like the C3 with the dual tone bumper wih white inserts, large tail lamps flushed into the body, integrated white spoiler and the large sized Chevron Citroen logo. Like the side the tail gate also gets eC3 badging proclaiming it’s all electric heart. Like the ICE C3 the eC3 also misses out on the rear wash wipe and defogger which we feel should have been included on the package.

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Interiors

Like the exteriors the interiors of the eC3 is identical to that of the ICE version. Needless to say the cabin area is large and roomy. The dashboard retains the colored insert on the crash-pad, three spoke flat bottom steering, glossy black inserts around the AC vents and the large 10 inch touch screen AVN system. What changes is the instrument cluster that now gets the battery charge indicator read out.

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The biggest change is the EV drive shifter that comes in place of the transmission shifter. You get a clean center console due to this with loads of storage spaces. The seats retain the unified headrests but get slightly different fabric upholstery and stitching.

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Rear seats retain the twin integrated head rests and like the ICE version miss out on the folding arm rests and split seats. Rear passengers do get USB charging points along with storage places.

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As the eC3 battery is placed under the floor the boot area is the same as the ICE version that of 315 liters which is largest in its class. Citroen is also giving you a full sized spare wheel in the boot while other EV’s miss out on this.

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Electric Motor – Drive – Handling

Powering the Citroen eC3 is a 29.2kWh battery pack placed under the floor and shielded with a metal guard. This battery pack powers the PMSM motor which generates 57hp of power and 143Nm of torque. Citroen claims a total range of 320kms on a single charge as per MIDC cycle. The top speed is 107kmph on this EV.

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You can charge the battery on the eC3 using the 15V domestic wall charger supplied with the car in 10 hours and 30 minutes while if you have a DC fast charger you can do the 10 to 80 charge in 57 minutes only.

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Behind the Wheels

To start the eC3 you have to use the key and twist the ignition the EV comes to life, press the brake and toggle the shifter to drive mode to drive off. The power delivery is quick and the ride is super smooth and highly refined. What you notice instantly is the plush ride quality that the eC3 offers which feels a tad bit better than the ICE C3 because of the centrifugal force thanks to the placement of the battery pack under the floor that is air cooled and not liquid cooled like other EVs. Citroen says the operational conditions are more favorable to such type of cooling.

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The eC3 drives like an Micro SUV offering excellent road mannerisms and is a lot fun to drive too. The steering feels nicely weighted and the eC3 did a super fine job when we put it in corners. We touched the top speed of 107kms a couple of times and the car felt sturdy and grounded at the speeds in typical Citroen fashion. 0 to 60kmph comes up in 6.8 seconds which is decent enough for this all electric car. In real world driving conditions expect a drive range of close to 240-250kms as per traffic etc making this a perfect EV for your daily commutes.

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Verdict

Citroen surprised many by getting the Electric version of the C3 so soon. The eC3 has the best in class battery and space along with its dimensions. The car drives well, feels positive and offers an typical plush ride quality that the brand Citroen is always associated with. We expect the eC3 to be priced at around Rs. 9.50 Lakh which makes it a direct rival to the huge selling Tata Tiago EV. Would we recommend the eC3? Yes we surely would if you need a large hatch that drives well and has a good range too, offers best in class handling and ride quality, this is your perfect affordable option for your daily commute under Rs. 10lakh.

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Bookings for the Citroen eC3 open on the 22nd of January and the deliveries begin from February 2023.

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