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Citroen eC3 Review  – A new budget EV is here!

We have driven the Citroen eC3 and before the prices are revealed, here’s what one should lookout for!

Citroen eC3 Review  – A new budget EV is here!

The French are here and they have another revolution on their hands. Citroen is taking it slow but steady in India with a promise of launching at least one new product every year. So far they have a premium SUV, a hatchback that can easily pass off as a sub-compact SUV and now as their third product an electric version of their C3 that IF priced correctly could make it or break it in the Indian market. All because there are only a handful of affordable electric cars in India priced under 10 lakhs and Tata Tiago EV, currently, the most affordable of the lot, is largely uncontested.

Citroen eC3 Review: French quirks

The Citroen ec3 is based on the c3 hatchback so the resemblance is obvious, so much so that the only glaring difference between the petrol version and the electric version will be the green nameplate. Other differences that will be visible upon a much closer look are a couple of ‘e’ badges, the name of the car, and of course, the charging socket at the front. 

The design language is still very much of a ‘hatchback with a twist’ as Citroen likes to call it. Comparative to the Tiago ev, it is taller, wider and more spacious so if the punch had an electric version, this would compete well. 

Just like its siblings, the ec3 has two variants- a lot of customizable options but although they have 14 exterior colours combination, the shades are in grey, white and orange only. The crucial part is, without the customisation, the car is a bit bare bones. It doesn’t get alloy wheels even on the higher variant and the lower variant doesn’t get a touchscreen. So while the starting price might be aggressive, one might have to spend some extra money to personalise it.

Citroen eC3 Review: Interior 

The quirkiness of the exterior is carried over inside with a bright orange centre console as one of the two options, the other being grey. There are hints of cost-cutting, such as use of scratchy hard plastics but Citroen has managed to make the eC3 as upmarket as they can. It makes us believe that the starting price will be aggressive or else the base, ‘Live’ variant, which misses out on even the touchscreen, will seem inadequately kitted.  

The seats are bolstered adequately, for all occupants but at the rear, the space isn’t exactly roomy for three passengers. It gets two charging ports in the middle and the positioning of the AC vents for the rear passengers in the middle of the front seats, might get some time to get used to.

Citroen eC3 Review: Battery and range 

The Citroen eC3 gets a 29.2 kwh lithium-ion battery pack that claims a range of 320 kms, 5 kms more than the long-range version of Tata Tiago EV.  To charge it they have given a very accessible 15 amp plug point charger with it that can be plugged anywhere but takes 10h 30 mins to charge 10-100%. It also has fast charging capabilities and using DC fast charger, it can juice up 10-100% in just 57 minutes. Citroen has offered a warranty of  7 years or 140,000 kms with the battery pack and it will go a long way in easing ownership. 

Citroen eC3 Review: Drive impressions

The Citroen eC3 also gets an electric motor that produces 57bhp and 143Nm of torque mated to single-speed automatic transmission. The fact that it only has two drive modes Standard and Eco are evidence enough for the hatch not being a ‘runner’ but a ‘range-er’. Speed isn’t its forte, but at a claimed range of 320kms, it is 5kms more than the Tiago EV. The top speed is controlled at 107kmph and it takes a sweet time to reach there, 6.8 seconds to be exact, making both variants of the Tiago EV much faster. However, stability is the eC3’s USP. Although we are yet to take it out on Indian roads as this drive was contained to the Wabco test track, the eC3 is very promising. 

At no point does the Citroen eC3 pins you to your seat and it gains speed very gradually. Nevertheless, it was breezy and effortless to sprint it on the track, but we did notice that it drops range quite quickly, despite being in the Eco mode. 

Verdict

The reason to mention the Tiago EV and Tata repeatedly in this review was less a matter of comparison, at least for today but instead, to ease the nervousness around a new brand. With only its third product, Citroen is in the ring with the big guys, quite unafraid and that is commendable. 

It is very tricky to give the result of a vehicle without knowing its sticker price, but here’s us, hoping that they price it below Rs. 10 lakh and kill the competition instead of killing the product. The market needs affordable EVs and the eC3 could be it, even if it goes a lakh above expectations. 

Although very bare bones without the custom packs, the eC3 even when knocked down and stripped of its glamour is a good proposition for those that need an EV right now before someone else bests them with a more aggressively priced product. 

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First published on: 21-01-2023 at 12:12:00 pm