Citroën has 75 years of deep experience in the production of compact, practical, affordable and economical cars – it all started with the 2CV “Duck”, continued through the Ami, Visu, AX and Saxo and culminated in three generations of the C3. Over 5.6 million C3s alone were produced. If this know-how could be patented, French lawyers would be after it like hunting dogs. Now there is a fourth generation with downright revolutionary ambitions.
Of course, it all revolves around the statement “the first European electric car with a price under 25 thousand euros”. Citroën has fulfilled this bold goal, even surpassed it: when the electric ë-C3 arrives on the Czech market in the middle of next year, it should cost the equivalent of the official 23,300 euros, which is roughly 575,000 crowns according to the current conversion. And that’s really a bargain, because you can buy a comparable Peugeot e-208 for at least 840,000. Although the Dacia Spring costs 576,000, it is certainly not comparable (the cheaper ë-C3 variant with a range of 200 km and a planned price tag of under half a million crowns is aimed at it). Citroën ë-C3 therefore has a chance to become many people’s first electric car.
A smart platform
The basis of the new C3 is the “Smart Car” platform derived from the current CMP. Its advantage is the possibility of installing an electric drive as well as internal combustion engines, in addition, its design and production process have been optimized, allowing for a reduction in production costs and thus a reduction in the price of products. The C3 is the first model on this platform, but in total it should enable the creation of up to seven different models within the Stellantis concern, such as the Fiat Panda, Citroën C3 Aircross or Opel Crossland. This is a fundamental building block of the strategy to fight against the influx of Chinese brands into Europe.
The electric C3 is able to charm not only with its low price, but also with its handsome, albeit somewhat generic design, and a concept that combines elements of a supermini (it is only four meters long) and a crossover (in addition to the obvious design, the position behind the wheel is also 100 mm higher, so you can you don’t seem so vulnerable to traffic). The more vertical concept of the car means that it is easier to get comfortable behind the wheel and an adult can even fit in the back seats (although squeezing through the smaller door opening is not the easiest), and the trunk has a very respectable 310 liters. There is not much to complain about in terms of space.
The cabin, however, clearly shows where savings have been made. You will see large areas of hard black plastic, which is enlivened only by the textile upholstery of part of the dashboard. All functions are controlled via the 10.25-inch infotainment display, next to which only the climate control panel remained (probably only so that in addition to the more expensive digital climate control, there could also be a cheaper manual version in the menu) and buttons on the steering wheel.
The display in front of the driver has been reduced to a narrow information strip, which combines the advantages of a display (information on a black background is always easy to read) with the simple technique of a head-up display (it is a projection on a glass under the edge of the windshield). On the other hand, cheaper interior designs are usually standard for small cars – especially if they want to keep the price tag affordable.
And this will be important not only for the electric version, but also for the combustion version, which is more important for the Czech market after all. They were not widely discussed during the official presentation by the car company’s management, but we are convinced that you can forget about the diesel under the hood of the C3. The choice will probably be only the proven three-cylinder 1.2 Puretech petrol with turbocharging (with 110 hp) or without (producing 83 hp) – i.e. the same engines as the outgoing C3. There is apparently no threat of their greater electrification either, the C3 will at most receive a new three-cylinder variant with a mild-hybrid system, a dual-clutch automatic transmission and a power of 136 hp (although even this may be perceived as too expensive for C3 customers).
Thanks to the use of proven technology, the basic price tag, which currently amounts to a promotional CZK 329,900 (when you throw in your old car as a counter-account), would not have to jump too much. Realistically, you have a nice car with a turbo engine for some 450 thousand crowns, which is a decent offer by today’s standards. And the novelty could probably cost similar money.
However, we will have to wait a few more months for the details, including the Czech price list (the new product will not be available until the second half of next year), but we already know that the new C3 will be a smart small and relatively simple car that, instead of spoiling it with frills, will focus on the important things. Thanks to this, it will be easily accessible and affordable – both in the version with an internal combustion engine and with an electric motor. So, are you looking forward to it?
How do you like the new Citroën C3?
I take it with electric drive.
I take it with a petrol engine.
I’m interested, but first I’ll take a ride.
Not my cup of coffee.
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