Citroen eC3 Review – Can It Beat The Segment Benchmark

Citroen eC3 Review – Can It Beat The Segment Benchmark

Citroen started its India journey with the C5 Aircross, which is priced at a premium for building the brand image, the next model from the French brand is the C3 hatchback launched last year in India as they kept the promise of introducing one model every year and for 2023, the company is entering the EV segment with the introduction of eC3, which is basically the electric version of C3 hatchback. Before coming for the drive, we had absolutely high expectations for the eC3 as it will be the second entry-level hatchback in the electric segment (even though Citroen don’t like to call the C3 or eC3 a hatchback). So let’s see whether eC3 can beat the current segment benchmark.

NOTE: We got very limited time with the eC3 during the media drive, So these are our first impressions and we will definitely spend more time with the eC3 soon to test more.


Well if you have seen the regular C3 hatchback then there is not much to see here too except for the charging port positioned in the front fender apart from that the e logo on the doors and eC3 badging at the rear minus exhaust tip. Apart from these minor tweaks, everything else remains the same even the dimensions too but the ground clearance has gone down by 10 mm thanks to the battery pack, which is placed in the middle. The alloy wheels on the test car are part of the accessory. Like the C3, Citroen will offer lots of colour combinations 13 to be precise for the eC3 to make it more colourful and appeal to a younger audience. So there is nothing much to complain about, we all like the C3 and so does the eC3.


Just like the exterior, step inside and the only thing different here is the lack of a gear lever instead Citroen has given a toggle switch for shifting from Neutral to Drive and Reverse. The infotainment system is the same 10.2-inch unit and comes with lots of functions like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto along with lots of connected car features, which work via the smartphone app. The instrument cluster gets minor changes like the addition of battery percentage and range. The boot space is 315 litres and Citroen offers a proper spare wheel with the eC3, unlike competitors. Still, the lack of a reverse camera and cheap-looking outside mirror controls does give the impression that the French manufacturer has cut costs.


The eC3 comes with a 29.2 kWh battery pack with one electric motor placed on the front axle and the power output is 56 PS, which makes it one of the least powerful hatchbacks in the country but 143 Nm of torque is more than enough. The eC3 offers Normal and Eco modes, which can be toggled with the switch placed near the gear selector.


Before the drive, one thing which is different from other EVs is that eC3 comes with a regular key for ignition instead of push button start like most of the other models so it’s a welcome change and I like it. Immediately after driving for some time, the first thing that comes to mind is that eC3 is tuned for City as there is no sudden power surge but when compared to the ICE model there is a big change in performance as 0-60 kph comes just below 8 sec but after 60 kph everything takes times as 100 kph took around 17 sec and top speed is just 107 kph. So for quick overtakes it is possible but not in the same league as competitors.

But the steering feel is really good and the response is superb. During high speed, the driver gets lots of confidence and the steering weight increases gradually. In city speeds, steering is very light and nipping through tight spaces won’t require much effort. We were driving the eC3 at the Wabco Test Track, as the roads were super smooth so we couldn’t get much feel about the suspension. For that, we need to drive the eC3 on public roads. There are a couple of curves on the test track and we push the eC3 a bit around the bend, the battery is placed lower so it didn’t affect the handling much but it’s a hatchback so pushing around corners needs to be careful otherwise understeer will kick in. As I said earlier, we need to spend more time with the eC3 to know more about dynamics and rides.

In an EV, heat management is very important and for the eC3, Citroen took the bold decision to go with natural air-cooling which means that the air coming from the outside is channelled towards the battery to make it cool. One big advantage of this is that it will reduce cost as there is no fancy tech but the negative is that it’s a high-risk solution because ambient temperate changes a lot so the temperature inside the battery pack could be either cool or very hot, which will affect the health of battery over a long period. This is one of the parts that make us worried about the long-term future of the eC3 battery but the company is giving a 7-year warranty for the battery pack so if anything arises in the ownership time Citroen will take care of it, which is really good for the customer.

The claimed range is 320 km but we won’t get this in the real world. When we got the eC3, the cluster was showing 58 per cent of battery left and 140 km on Distance To Empty. So it can give close to 280 kph but as we drove further the charge began to come down faster it showed a 40 km range with a 38 per cent battery at one point. These vehicles are pre-production models so there must be some error but still we need to test them well to understand it.

Charging Time

Citroen claims that it will take just 57 minutes to charge the battery from 10-80 per cent with a fast charger and the hatchback comes with a 15 AMP portable charger which can be used at home as it takes around 10 hours to charge. But the interesting part is that the eC3 can be fast charged every time unlike competitors as the battery management system is designed for it so the customer doesn’t have to wait around much still the lack of a 3.3 kWh or a 7.2 charger is disappointing but this was eliminated to keep the cost down.


These are our first impressions so let’s start with the design, which will appeal to younger buyers a lot and it is a good starting point as the first impression is the best impression. The interior is spacious and offers lots of features. The performance of the motor is adequate for a city user and the range is manageable. Like the C3, the pricing will determine the future of eC3 as it has some potential to beat the benchmark but let’s spend some more time for a proper conclusion.

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