2024 Citroen e-C3 review

May 31, 2024 by

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Rated 4.5/5 from 55,824 reviews

The Citroen e-C3 is great value and really likeable – but low electric range still limits it for some buyers

What’s good

  • Really comfortable
  • Perky performance
  • One of the cheapest EVs you can buy

What’s not so good

  • Sub-200 mile range
  • Awkward boot shape
  • No heat pump will hit efficiency in winter

Wowscore: 9/10

Is the Citroen e-C3 a good car?

The new Citroen C3 is a very different beast from its predecessor. Where the old car was a regular small hatchback, the new model has a distinct SUV flavour to it. It’s based on a new platform which is cheaper to build than the old car, and as a result Citroen’s able to offer the all-electric Citroen e-C3 for pretty much the same price as a comparably-sized petrol car from other manufacturers.

It’s like a holiday to Croatia – on paper, at least, you seem to get a lot for your money. But does that mean it’s even remotely desirable – or is it just cheap and nasty? That’s what we’re here to find out.

With prices for this electric e-C3 starting at less than £22,000, alternatives are difficult to come across. It sits a few thousand pounds beneath the cheapest examples of ‘proper’ electric cars, such as the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and BYD Dolphin, but is still more expensive than pure city cars like the Citroen Ami or forthcoming Dacia Spring EV. It’s a really exciting price point that could make electric motoring accessible to a new swathe of drivers.

It’s a couple of centimetres longer and a tad wider than the Citroen C3 it replaces. But at a full 10cm taller its silhouette is more akin to small SUVs, like the VW T-Cross. That means you get reasonable legroom for four six-foot passengers and bags of headroom inside, plus a 310-litre boot that’s bigger than you’ll find on a Vauxhall Corsa.

The interior, meanwhile, is clearly built to a price but hides it well through clever material choices. A big swathe of fabric trim across the dashboard covers up what would otherwise be hard, nasty plastic, and the steering wheel and switchgear – what little there is – actually feels pretty nice to the touch.

Citroen e-C3 electric range, battery and charging data

Range: 199 miles (WLTP)
Efficiency: 4.5 mi/kWh
Battery size: 44kWh
Max charge speed: 100kW
Charge time AC: 0-100% in 6 hours (7.4kW)
Charge time DC: 20-80% in 26 minutes (100kW)
Charge port location: Left rear
Power outputs: 113hp

You get a really simple driver information display above the steering wheel which just shows your speed, range and efficiency information – no extra fancy touches like sat-nav directions or album artwork. For that, you’ll need to turn to the 10.3-inch infotainment system, which feels rather simplified compared to the setups you’ll find in other Citroens but does work well enough. You can always bypass it, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and even a wireless smartphone charging pad on top models.

Whichever model you select, you get the same combination of a 113hp electric motor and a 44kWh battery pack. Those are modest numbers, but they combine to give perfectly adequate performance even on a motorway cruise, and an official range of up to 199 miles.

The e-C3’s also really set-up for comfort, which is a nice change from all those try-hard faux-sporty SUVs. Though it leans a lot in the corners, the payoff is suspension that soaks up bumps and potholes with ease, plus really comfortable seats that take the edge off poor road surfaces.

Sound interesting to you? Check out our best Citroen e-C3 deals here, or look up the rest of our Citroen deals here. You can also find great prices on used Citroen models here, and remember that Carwow can even help you sell your old car when the time comes.

How much is the Citroen e-C3?

The Citroen e-C3 feels almost shockingly cheap for an electric car in 2024. Prices for the Plus model start at less than £22,000, which is several thousand pounds cheaper than even the most affordable Vauxhall Corsa Electric or BYD Dolphin.

Plus trim does come with all the essentials including a 10.3-inch touchscreen, air-conditioning, remote locking, smartphone mirroring and all the essential safety kit. The higher-up Max trim, which costs £1700 extra, adds in climate control, tinted rear windows, heated seats and steering wheel and extra connectivity services, which seems a reasonable uplift.

Performance and drive comfort

The Citroen e-C3 has soft suspension perfectly suited to the UK’s terrible roads – just don’t expect it to feel like a sports car in the corners

In town

It’s a doddle to drive the e-C3 in town. Of course, you get all the usual benefits of an electric powertrain – swift acceleration and no gearchanges making for really smooth, silent progress. Though the electric motor isn’t the most powerful, it’s still plenty for town driving and you won’t ever feel as though you’re lacking power.

Compared with cars like the Vauxhall Corsa Electric, which are quite firm, the e-C3 has very soft suspension with clever hydraulic components which Citroen calls ‘Advanced Comfort’. Usually that would be a gimmick, but in this case it suits the pockmarked roads, potholes and speed bumps that litter the UK’s highway network extremely well. You’ll find that bumps you’d really feel in a Corsa Electric are just ironed out in the e-C3.

Being sat quite high up, you get good visibility compared with most cars this size, though there’s quite a big blindspot over your shoulder. However, standard rear sensors and a camera on Max models means it’s still a doddle to park the e-C3, helped by a tight turning circle and really light controls.

The e-C3 has a reasonable amount of regenerative braking, though it’s not a full one-pedal setup. It’s turned on as default, too – for less regen, you have to press the ‘C’ (for ‘Comfort’) button by the gear selector, whereupon you’ll get a little more coasting.

On the motorway

The e-C3’s top speed is limited to just 84mph, so it’s perhaps not the best companion for an autobahn holiday in Germany. Up to 70mph though, it’s got enough power – the acceleration does tail off, but no more than it would in a petrol hatchback of this price. Wind and road noise are surprisingly well contained, too, even at top speed.

The soft suspension and tall silhouette do mean the e-C3 feels a little more susceptible to crosswinds, and the light steering can feel a little twitchy when you’re going fast. It also has more of a tendency to jitter about on rough surfaces at high speed.

But these are all perfectly acceptable traits in a car this cheap – if you want something around this price that’ll be a relaxing companion on the motorway, you’re better off with a petrol hatchback like a Volkswagen Polo.

On a twisty road

Accurate steering and a surprising amount of grip means the e-C3 doesn’t embarrass itself in the corners – it’s just not much fun. The steering has very little feedback and feels lifeless, though there’s a bit of amusement to be had in seeing just how much it leans in the bends. A lot, is the answer!

A Corsa Electric or a BYD Dolphin are more composed in the corners, but neither is much more fun – if you want an electric car that’s engaging to drive, you’ll need something larger like an MG4.

Space and practicality

Lots of space for a small car, just don’t expect to find many clever storage solutions

The e-C3 makes good use of the space it has. For the driver and passenger up front, there’s loads of adjustment – though the passenger doesn’t get any seat height adjustment so it does feel like you’re sat quite high up. The cabin feels a little narrow too if you’re leaning towards one side of the husky/svelte scale, but it’s no tighter than any car at this price level.

Storage up front isn’t bad, either. The door bins are an okay size, and the glovebox is reasonable too. What looks like a shelf on the top of the dash is actually where the passenger airbag comes out, though, so best not to put items up here.

Space in the back seats

Space for rear passengers is okay, and a little better than more conventional hatchbacks of this size because the e-C3’s extra height means loads of headroom and a more upright seating position. There’s a good view out, too – not always a given, though the windows don’t quite roll all the way down.

Legroom and width across the cabin is a little tighter – a six-foot adult can just about sit behind a driver of a similar size, but anyone taller will feel cramped. Meanwhile, you probably won’t want to use the middle seat unless you have three very slim passengers.

Boot space

The e-C3 has a 310-litre boot. That sits neatly between the Vauxhall Corsa Electric’s 267 litres and the BYD Dolphin’s 345 – it’s a good size, and doesn’t feel compromised by the electric powertrain.

It’s quite a deep space, and there’s a substantial lip to hoick items over. This also means that when you fold down the rear seats (they’re split 60:40 for flexibility) you don’t get a totally flat floor. There aren’t any nice touches, either – the boot carpet feels flung in, there’s no clever underfloor storage or load separation solutions, with just a single bag hook.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Feels good inside for a cheap car, though you can find where corners have been cut

The Citroen e-C3 has a neat-looking cabin that doesn’t immediately betray its budget roots. Instead of being an unrelenting sea of black plastic, there are some nice material choices – light coloured seats, different plastics used on the door cards, and a swathe of fabric across the middle of the dashboard. This all helps to lift the ambience and make it feel a few steps above bargain basement.

You can of course find areas that feel cheap. All the plastics are hardwearing rather than soft-touch, and there are definitely some creaks and flexing when you poke and prod certain bits.

It feels reasonably up-to-date in terms of tech, though. The e-C3’s 10.3-inch touchscreen is bright, clear and responsive – it’s a simpler interface than on Citroen’s larger cars, but that’s no stress as all the functionality is still there.. It also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with Max trim bringing a wireless charging pad – some of the e-C3’s alternatives don’t even offer that as an option.

You also get a full panel of climate controls, which is a welcome relief when so many car manufacturers are hiding these essential controls away in a touchscreen. Shame you don’t also get a volume knob, though.

Instead of a regular gauge cluster you get a high-set strip just under the base of the windscreen – it’s like a halfway house between normal gauges and a head-up display. It’s very easy to read, but it’s a shame you can’t have it display useful extras like navigation instructions.

Electric range, charging and tax

The Citroen e-C3 quotes a maximum range of 199 miles. During our test driving, we used an indicated 50% of the battery’s charge after about 85 miles – suggesting a range of around 170 miles, which is good considering the small size of the battery. We look forward to testing this out in the UK and on a mixture of roads to see what the e-C3 is actually capable of.

It’s worth noting that Citroen doesn’t equip any version of the e-C3 with a heat pump. This means that in colder conditions, the range is likely to take quite a big hit. We’ll investigate this ourselves when we get an e-C3 in the UK to try out.

The max charging rate is only 100kW, but with the e-C3’s relatively small 44kWh battery that’s not much hardship. Citroen claims you can top up from 20-80% in just 26 minutes from a public charger. Charging at home, you’ll see times of around six hours from a regular 7.4kW wallbox. As an option, you can upgrade the e-C3 with 11kW charging, which brings times down to about four hours.

As for tax, as an electric car the e-C3 doesn’t pay any road tax until 2025 and it’s in the lowest band of benefit-in-kind company car tax.

Safety and security

The e-C3 hasn’t yet been tested by Euro NCAP. The Indian-market model has undergone crash testing, and scored poorly, but the European model has been strengthened and comes with significantly more safety equipment. The platform has been built to a cost, though, so we wouldn’t necessarily expect the full five-star rating.

All C3s get cruise control, lane-keeping aids, autonomous emergency braking, speed limit alerts – the usual roster of safety equipment, in other words. Our test car had all of these disabled so we can’t tell you how annoying or otherwise they are in practice, though it’s nice to see quick shortcut buttons to the side of the steering wheel for turning them off.

Reliability and problems

Citroen’s reputation for reliability isn’t historically the greatest, but it’s doing very well these days – the C4 and e-C4 scored an outright victory in the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. The e-C3 uses a platform designed for developing markets, which suggests a degree of ruggedness, and its electric drivetrain has very few moving parts to go wrong.

A three-year, unlimited mileage warranty gives some peace of mind, though it’d be nice if Citroen went the way of other budget manufacturers like Kia or MG in offering longer coverage.

FAQs

Are Citroen C3 cars reliable?

We wouldn’t have said the last C3 was a paragon of reliability, but signs are good for this new model. Not only is it a new platform, with a very simple electric motor setup, but Citroen’s reputation is excellent at the moment with an outright win in the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.

What is the range of the Citroen e-C3 EV?

Officially the e-C3 will go around 199 miles on a full charge. Expect this to be closer to 170 miles in the real world. That number will go down further if you’re doing lots of motorway miles, and due to the lack of a heat pump it will reduce further still in cold weather.

Why is the Citroen e-C3 so cheap?

Keeping the price down was a key concern for Citroen – as it is for many European manufacturers in the face of opposition from Chinese electric cars. The e-C3 uses a low-cost engineering platform designed for developing markets, and doesn’t fit on a load of fripperies – it’s simple, low-cost motoring by design.