Citroen e-C3 Review

Price: £21,990

Electrifying.com score

9/10

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​A comfy and rather charming little car that’s great value yet also has a useful range. It’s really brilliant - and not only because it’s one of the most affordable electric cars on sale.

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  • Battery size: 44kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 4.52
  • E-Rating™: A+

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 100 kW
  • Range: 199 miles WLTP
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  • Battery size: 44kWh
  • Miles per kWh: 4.52
  • E-Rating™: A+

    Click here to find out more about our electric car Efficiency Rating.​

  • Max charge rate: 100 kW
  • Range: 199 miles WLTP
  • Electrifying.com E-Rating A+

Ginny Says

“The e-C3 is exactly what we need - a cute, useful and truly affordable electric car. I also really like the neat little bars of colour around the exterior of the car. They're offered in a range of colours and designs, including the French flag. ”

Tom Says

“I think the e-C3 looks great. I'm not sure why everything needs to have SUV style cues these days but they work well on the C3, and if it brings more headroom and a bit of kerb-climbing ruggedness, what’s not to like?”

Driven and reviewed by 

Vicky Parrott

 - 
21 May 2024


Citroen has a long history of being innovative, and the last year or two has seen this characterful French brand regaining a bit of that sense of bravery – first with the Oli concept, and now with the e-C3. It looks great, it’ll easily cover a real-world range of around 160 miles, and it costs less than £22,000. That’s not just a brave move for Citroen – it’s a game-changer for those buyers who’ve been waiting far, far too long for an affordable electric car.

Introduction and model history

The Citroen C3 has been around since 2002, and in that time it’s sold 5.6 million examples, so it’s a very popular little car. This new fourth-generation model is the first Citroen C3 to be offered with an electric powertrain, with the 44kWh battery powering the front wheels via a 111bhp electric motor. A 1.2 petrol engine and a mild hybrid will also join the range when it goes on sale later this year.  

​Of course, it’s also good news that the Citroen isn’t the only new car to be bringing affordable electric motoring to the masses. This year there’s also the

Dacia Spring

and the

Volkswagen ID.2

, both of which will be rivals for the e-C3.

Range, battery and charging

One of the chief ways that Citroen has kept costs down for the e-C3 is with the 43.7kWh lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries that use much the same chemistry as we’ve seen in the MG4 and Tesla Model 3. So don’t worry, it’s nothing new-fangled or unknown – it’s just a battery chemistry that does without some of the more expensive rare earth metals, such as cobalt, in favour of cheaper (but heavier) iron. You’ll still get good battery longevity from it, so expect to lose roughly 10-15% of the battery’s potential range after around 10 years and 100,000 miles.  

The WLTP range for the new Citroen e-C3 is 199 miles – usefully more than you get in the Dacia Spring, but there’ll also be a smaller battery e-C3 arriving in 2025 with a range of 124 miles. 


DC charging speeds are up to 100kW and will deliver a 20-80% charge (which is around 90- to 100 miles of real-world range) in 26 minutes, although the average charging speed of around 50kW is fairly modest. 

A standard 7kW home charger will fully charge the Citroen e-C3 in some 7 hours. You can also add optional 11kW AC charging, which cuts charging time to as little under five hours if you’ve got access to one of these faster chargers (most UK homes can only support a 7kW charger). 

Charging happens via a CCS or Type 2 socket that’s located in the rear wing of the car, where you’d expect to find a fuel-filler cap on a petrol car. These are the European standard socket types, so you don’t need to worry about whether they’re compatible with public chargers – the e-C3 will be able to charge at almost all public charging points in the UK and western Europe. 

Practicality and boot space 

The Citroen e-C3 is only 4.01m long and 1.57m tall, making it a dinky car that has a similar footprint to the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, although the boxy, SUV-ish design means that it’s around 14cm taller. Interestingly, while Peugeot, Vauxhall and Citroen are all owned by the giant car making machine that is Stellantis, the e-C3 is the first new model to come out of Stellantis on the new ‘Smart Car’ platform, so the e-208 and Corsa-e actually have different platforms and batteries to the much cheaper e-C3…

Okay, so ‘interestingly’ may have been pushing it with that fact, but it’s good to understand how the e-C3 undercuts these rivals – even if Stellantis platform jargon may not be what you want to rely on for sparkling dinner party conversation. 


Anyway, back to the e-C3, which is usefully compact on the outside but also quite big on the inside. The boot is a modest 310-litres, but you’ll get a lightweight buggy in there if you need to. The seats fold in a 60/40 split, but they do leave a step up from the recessed boot floor, and the aperture to the boot is also a bit small and has a high load lip. So, while I reckon the e-C3’s boot space will be okay for most small families, if you’ve got dogs or lots of gubbins to carry around routinely, you may want to check that the boot is good enough for your needs. There’s no hidden cable storage under the boot floor, either (nor any ‘frunk’ storage) so the cables will end up flopping around in the boot area.

Passenger space is really good – much better than in the Peugeot e-208, or even in the Vauxhall Mokka-e. I’m a very average 5ft 7”, and I can sit behind a 6ft driver with legroom to spare back there. A nifty little phone pocket and map pocket are also useful features, although there’s no interior light over the back seats – which can be annoying if you’ve got car seats to faff about with. There are a couple of pairs of Isofix points, of course.

Up front, the seats could do with some adjustable lumbar support, but they’re still comfy enough and the driving position is good with plenty of adjustment to the wheel. Visibility is good all round, too.

Interior, design and technology

We only drove the top-spec Citroen e-C3 Max, which gets a really nice blend of textiles across the dash – it doesn’t shout ‘I’m a cheap car’ at all. Given that every e-C3 also gets alloy wheels, a neat display in front of the driver for the speed and essential info, plus a 10.25-inch touchscreen for the wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and audio functions, it’s hardly pious when it comes to equipment, either. Top-spec Max trim also gets in-built nav and charger search function. 

There’s even what Citroen calls a Head-Up Display (HUD), although this isn’t where the graphics are beamed onto the windscreen as you’d expect of a normal HUD. Instead, it’s a readout behind and above the small steering wheel – actually a simple reflective black panel that the speedo is beamed onto, as that’s cheaper than a conventional screen readout. It looks neat, though, and is an important features as I prefer having the speedo behind the steering wheel like this than simply integrated into the central touchscreen like in the Tesla Model 3 and Volvo EX30.


There are some noticeable cost-cutting details – like the old-fashioned key that you have to actually put into an ignition and turn, to start the car (it’s like ‘90s all over again!) – but I really don’t mind that, at all. 

There are also straightforward, physical buttons for the climate controls and to turn off the lane-keep assist, all of which is great news. In fact, because Citroen has kept buttons for these functions, and has also kept the touchscreen layout straightforward, it’s a refreshingly easy interface to use. 

Maybe the little motivational labels that are stitched into the armrests on the doors, reading things like ‘Be Cool’ and ‘Have Fun’ are a bit cloyingly cheery for my cynical British sensibilities – but then I may just be a bit of a misery guts. The indicator beep that sounds like it’s taken straight from an ‘80s arcade game might be a tad annoying, too… Even so, I’m kind of looking for things to moan about, here, in an otherwise really rather cheery and well laid out interior.

As for safety, every Citroen e-C3 gets lane-keep assist, autonomous emergency braking and the usual safety aids that you expect, Euro NCAP hasn’t yet published it crash safety rating for the e-C3, so I’ll hold final judgement on its safety credentials until that’s been published.

Motors, performance and handling 

It’s not fast, the e-C3 – and that’s fine by us. It’s only got 111bhp, which goes to the front wheels and powers the car to 62mph in 11 seconds. While that’s a bit weedy, in practice the C3 feels more than nippy enough up to about 50mph, and even after that the modest acceleration is good enough for a small car like this. I’ll take sedate acceleration if it comes with decent comfort and a low price, any day. 

Talking of comfort, the C3 comes with Citroen’s ‘Advanced Comfort’ suspension, which is the official name for little hydraulic cushions that combine with the standard passive suspension to give the C3 a lovely squidgy ride. Yes, there’s also plenty of body lean, but given that there’s also enough grip to give you confidence, plus nicely weighted steering, I’d say the C3’s well setup to balance about-town wieldiness with easy ride comfort. It feels more than secure enough to do a fine job of a motorway journey, too, so this should also make light work of the odd longer journey. 


Running costs and pricing

The Citroen e-C3 starts at just under £22,000, which is a brilliant price for such a roomy, nicely finished electric car – especially one that’s got a bit of charm and a really useful range. When the smaller battery car arrives in early 2025, that’s likely to cost less than £20,000. 

Monthly PCP finance prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but if Citroen can get those down to around £200 per month with a low deposit, I reckon the e-C3 will be hugely popular.

There’s a three year, 60,000 mile warranty on the car, while the battery is covered for eight years and 100,000 miles – and also comes with a guarantee that means it’ll be refurbished or replaced under warranty if it drops below 70% of the as-new performance within that warranty period. 

Verdict

The Citroen e-C3 could be a real turning point for motorists in the UK who’re looking for an affordable electric car that doesn’t feel cheap and tinny, comes from a familiar brand, and also has a bit of style lustre to it. Sure, it’s not fast and there are some small details that may be a touch annoying, but the Citroen e-C3 is cushy and chilled to drive, plus it’s modern, roomy and uncluttered inside, and has a very usable range and charging performance. Basically, it’s fun, fit for purpose and brilliantly thought out. More than that, it’s exactly what UK car buyers and the electric car market needs, right now. 

It’s only those unconfirmed crash test results that have stolen that last half a star from the e-C3 for now, but if it does well on that front, this could well warrant a coveted five star Electrifying rating.

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