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In-depth reviews

Citroen e-C3 review

Citroen’s latest supermini doesn’t set any new benchmarks, but on value alone it should still cause a stir in the EV world

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Practical
  • Appealing prices

Cons

  • Budget-focussed materials
  • Not particularly refined
  • Uninspiring to drive

Citroen e-C3 verdict

With many carmakers going full steam ahead with bigger and flashier EVs, the Citroen e-C3 simply takes a refreshingly simple approach. While Citroen’s fully-electric supermini isn’t a particularly groundbreaking car, it does offer qualities that should greatly appeal to a large number of buyers. It’s affordable to buy, generously equipped and has a reasonable amount of battery range, too.

Details, specs and alternatives

Citroen has recently found itself engaged in a bit of a pricing war with Dacia. While the Sandero is renowned for being one of the cheapest cars that you can buy brand-new in the UK, the previous-generation C3 You! was a consistent thorn in its side. It’s clear that Citroen wants to build on its reputation for affordability in the EV age, too, as the e-C3 is a fully-fledged electric supermini that’s expected to cost less than £22,000.

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You may be about to inform us that the Dacia Spring is set to cost around £15,000, but before you do, it’s important to remember that it resides in the smaller city car class. The Citroen, meanwhile, is a supermini closer in size to the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and Peugeot E-208, both of which cost over £25,000.

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It may be cheaper, but the e-C3 is actually rather closely related to these aforementioned Stellantis group superminis, as it sits on a simplified version of the Stellantis CMP architecture. At its heart is a 44kWh battery that claims up to 199 miles of range on a single charge. Another smaller battery is planned for the future, too, and this could drive the price down even further to around £18,000. It’s yet to be decided whether this version will come to our shores, though.

So why is the Citroen C3 so cheap? The simple answer is modesty. Rather than anything particularly revolutionary or luxurious, it delivers the essentials with budget firmly in mind. Scratchy, low-rent materials, lethargic performance figures and even a blanked-off infotainment system can all be found here (at least in some variants). However, don’t go thinking that you’ll be sacrificing everything in order to save a bit of money, as the humble e-C3 still has quite a bit going for it.

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For starters, this little EV is just as comfortable as a Citroen should be, and it makes clever use of the space that’s available. There’s room for four tall passengers along with a 310-litre boot, so it’s a suitable compact candidate for family car use.

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Bargain hunters will be catered for by the entry-level You! trim level, and the best news is there’s some rather good standard kit to be found here, including LED headlights, cruise control and air conditioning. You won’t get a factory-fit infotainment head-unit or touchscreen, but there’s a smartphone holder instead.

Sitting in the middle of the range is the Plus trim, which adds in a 10.25-inch touchscreen, powered door mirrors and Citroen’s Advanced Comfort Seats. The range-topping Max version, meanwhile, chucks in rear privacy glass, climate control, a wireless charging pad and electric rear windows.

Range, battery size & charging

ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge
e-C3199 miles6hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)26mins (20-80%, 135kW)

The Citroen e-C3 is a small, lightweight car with an equally compact 44kWh battery pack. Thanks to its petite size and modest performance, it manages to cover up to 199 miles on the WLTP combined cycle, which means it’s far more than just a city dweller.

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It gets pretty close to this figure in the real world, too. While driving through Austria’s suburban streets and B-roads, our test car returned an indicated total of 174 miles. We reckon it’ll edge even closer to its claimed figure in regular day-to-day use, too.

Unfortunately there’s no sign of a heat pump anywhere within the e-C3 or its options list, so colder weather may prove to be a bit problematic whenever it makes an appearance.

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When it’s out of juice, the Citroen e-C3’s 100kW peak DC rapid-charging speed allows a 20-80% charge to be completed in just 26 minutes. A full top-up from a 7.4kW home wallbox unit should take around 6 hours. 11kW AC charging is also available as an option.

Running costs & insurance

While its petrol-powered sibling isn’t exactly thirsty, the fully-electric Citroen e-C3 should also cost peanuts to run. A full charge at home will set you back around £13 at a typical household rate of 30p per kWh. You won’t have to pay VED road tax until April 2025, either, while costs from the likes of London’s ULEZ will also be kept at bay. If you’re looking at Citroen’s supermini as a company car you will, as always, enjoy a 2% Benefit-in-Kind tax rate.

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Insurance groups are yet to be officially announced for the latest C3 and e-C3, but the previous model sat in groups 14-20. We’d expect the newer model to sit within a similar bracket, with the EV located towards the higher end.

Performance, motor & drive

Model0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
e-C311s84mphfront111bhp

The Citroen e-C3 is a budget-oriented supermini, so don’t go hoping for too many thrills here. What you can expect, though, is a decent amount of comfort instead of sportiness. 

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The front-mounted motor produces 111bhp and 120Nm of torque, and this is best described as adequate. The 0-62mph sprint takes 11 seconds, which is not quick for an electric car, and you’ll eventually reach a top speed of 84mph. 

In fairness, the Citroen e-C3 doesn’t feel too sluggish from behind the wheel. The throttle is easy to modulate and delivers the modest power in a very smooth fashion. The suspension manages to smooth out more coarse road surfaces, too.

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While it’s smooth and comfortable, the e-C3 does get quite noisy once you reach the 40mph mark. Wind and tyre noise are both very noticeable, and they could quickly become tiresome on longer journeys.

Interior, dashboard & infotainment

you should find pretty much everything you’ll realistically need. In among a mixture of hard plastics, padded fabric and a tiny smattering of chrome-effect trim, you’ll find a rather peculiar oblong-shaped steering wheel combined with a slimline instrument panel. Citroen calls this a head-up display, but it isn’t.

This panel shows your current speed, charge level and energy consumption, and that’s your lot. If you want anything like navigation instructions or the current radio station, you’ll need to take a look at the 10.25-inch touchscreen, provided you’ve opted for the e-C3 in Plus or Max trim. If you’ve chosen the entry-level You! Model, you’ll instead have to make do with your phone’s screen, as a phone mount takes the place of a built-in infotainment system. The good news, though, is that all Citroen e-C3’s at least come with speakers built in.

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If you do go down the posh route and make use of the 10.25 touchscreen, you’ll find it easy to use as the layout is straightforward with buttons for several key functions.

Boot space, seating & practicality

LengthWidthHeightBoot space
4,015mm1,755mm1,577mm310 litres

There’s a hint of SUV in the Citroen e-C3’s styling, and the supermini certainly has a respectable amount of space inside as a result. Four tall passengers will be able to get comfortable with a decent amount of headroom, although legroom will be a little tight.

The 310-litre boot should take the weekly shop with little fuss, too, although you’ll have to lug it over the high load lip. If a 60/40-split folding rear seat sounds like it’ll be ideal, you’ll need to opt for the Pure or Max trim.

Reliability & safety rating

It’s a cheap EV in the grand scheme of things, but the Citroen e-C3 still offers a very reasonable amount of safety tech as standard. Traffic-sign recognition, lane-keeping assist, parking sensors, a reversing camera, cruise control, a driver attention alert system and intelligent headlight beam assist are all thrown in across the range.

Whether all this kit is enough to please Euro NCAP’s stringent testers is yet to be found out, but given this car’s low-cost engineering, we’re not keeping our hopes too high for a full five-star rating.

Citroen’s overall reputation has improved by a huge amount in recent years, though, with the Citroen C4 and e-C4 being crowned as the best car to own in our 2023 Driver Power Survey, including a high score for reliability.

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Hello, I’m Shane and I’m the senior content editor both here at DrivingElectric and at our sister title Auto Express. Although I can trace my professional roots back to the radio and podcasting world, my passion (or borderline obsession) with cars saw me switch over to motoring journalism in 2021. From the very start I have been fortunate enough to try out the latest and greatest electric cars on the market, and I’m proud to help people like you make the right EV buying decisions.

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