Citroen is all set to launch the eC3, its first electric car in India, next month. The French auto giant will drive in the electric avatar of the C3 hatchback as one of the most affordable EVs in the country and aims to take on the likes of Tata Tiago EV. We got a chance to drive the EV at a test track near Chennai for about 45 minutes.
Here is our first impression about the new Citroen eC3 electric car:
Watch: Citroen eC3 review: Worthy challenger to Tata Tiago EV?
Citroen eC3: Exterior profile
The Citroen eC3 is almost identical to look at as the C3 that was launched last year. This means not only does the Citroen eC3 have the exact same proportions but also the nearly same styling as well. This actually may make a whole lot of sense because the company is able to share parts between the two models – eC3 and C3 – to achieve better economies of scale. But there are subtle hints that this is the newer and battery-powered option. For one, there is no tail pipe and there is a charging section on the front side.
Else, the multiple colour options, the alloy design, the headlight and DRL shape remain as is. And therefore, much like the C3, the eC3 is a young car that is unabashedly exuberant in its visual appeal.
|Dimensions||Citroen eC3||Tata Tiago EV|
|Boot space (litres)||315||240|
Citroen ec3: Cabin highlights
The story of similarities are carried forward to the cabin of the eC3. Considering that the C3 was launched just six months ago means that the cabin of the eC3 is also quite fresh.
There is a 10-inch smart infotainment screen that has been carried forward from the C3. It is responsive to touch and quite vivid even under direct sunlight. We didn’t see any EV-related information though and are not sure if these would be brought in at a later stage. There is support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The driver display though remains rather rudimentary and basic, putting out the bare minimum information that covers information related to speed, battery charge left and an estimated range remaining. As on the C3, the driver display could have been far fancier on a new car such as this.
The dashboard layout, design of the AC vents, control knobs – all are the same but the center console, obviously, gets the drive selector on the eC3 instead of the manual gear shift stick that is on the C3.
The eC3 is also a comfortable car to be in, in terms of space. For reference, it has a longer wheelbase and stands taller than Tiago EV which goes beyond the figures and actually manifests when seated inside in EV in the real world. And having a larger boot space than the one on Tiago EV ought to help too even if these EVs are primarily meant for city driving.
Citroen eC3: Drive traits
The eC3 has a clear focus on its battery and range, and in that sense, it is a no-frills EV. There is a 29.2 kWh battery pack at its core and this is bigger than the ones on the Tiago EV. The claimed range figure is over 300 kms although this test was not about how much of a marathon the eC3 is capable of.
The test track provided a secure and butter-smooth surface for our drive and the eC3 showcased its distinct abilities amply. There is 57 hp for the taking and the EV has a steady sense that could potentially be tailor-made for congested Indian cities. Top speed is limited to 107 kmph with the company claiming the figure is an ideal balance for extracting the best range possible.
On the flipside though, the eC3 doesn’t quite seem as eager to respond to throttle inputs as some of its rivals are. This despite a rather generous 143 Nm of torque on offer. Speed builds gradually (for an EV) and there is a fair bit of body roll on the curves.
Citroen says the suspension set up on the eC3 is different from that on the C3 – necessitated by the change of weight of the vehicle. While this is one department where the French manufacturer absolutely excels in, we couldn’t really test this on a flat test track which is free from the usual real-world road aberrations.
Citroen eC3: Initial verdict
We need to drive and experience the Citroen eC3 for far longer and in the real world to form a definite opinion around it. But as far as initial impressions are concerned, the EV does a decent job of ticking the basics. And then some more.
Citroen will have its eyes firmly set on the pricing structure of Tiago EV which begins at under ₹10 lakh. Pricing is absolutely crucial to the fate of eC3 and if done right, could make this a solid proposition for those looking to take a deep dive into the world of EVs.
First Published Date: 21 Jan 2023, 12:11 PM IST