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Citroën e-C3 review

2024 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 54.0
” Great value, interesting and excellent comfort “

Written by Phil McNamara Published: 24 May 2024 Updated: 24 May 2024


Here’s some great news for anyone who’s expressed the view that electric cars are too expensive. The all-new Citroen e-C3 is about to go on sale in the UK with a cash price that starts at less than £22,000, taking the fight to a growing wave of cheap Chinese EVs.

It’s a proper car too, being a fully usable option for 90% of EV buyers. It’s a compact family car with a claimed 198-mile range, reasonably brisk public recharging and a spacious cockpit that majors on comfort for all those who ride in it. If you’re not yet EV ready, a 100hp petrol version will also be available.

Citroen has taken great delight in offering only the features customer say they want and use. Much of the tech associated with the latest generation of EVs has been stripped out, which makes it a very different proposition to the rival MG4 EV and BYD Dolphin.

Citroen e-C4 review (2024)
Small wheel, light steering and a minimalist feel – but a very appealing package.

What’s it like inside?

The Citroen e-C3’s interior is dominated by inviting-looking padded seats. There’s ample headroom, allowing you to crank the seat high to see over the flat bonnet. It’s a lofty driving position for a front-wheel drive supermini, something that many buyers appreciate.

You’ll need to use a key to turn it on, and Citroen’s definition of a head-up display sits in a recess just beneath the top of the dash. It features a digital speedo, battery charge level, selected gear and can toggle through trip info and the like. Having just the one driver’s display reduces parts and cost.

But it’s interesting inside – plastic sections are etched in wavy and straight lines, haphazard perforations adorn the light fabric trim and the headliner is a pale colour. Some gloss black trim offsets the scratchy plastics, the door bins have white inserts to help you spot things and little red labels with peppy messages – ‘Have fun!’ and ‘Be cool!’ – are stitched into the armrests.

Citroen e-C4 review (2024)
Roomy, comfortable rear seat is a welcome positive in such a small car.

The standard air conditioning system is controlled by physical toggles, there’s a silver rotary gear selector and that’s about it. There’s also a central touchscreen: the graphics are basic but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available as standard as an agreeable alternative.


Overall it feels airy and spacious up front, belying the C3’s supermini stature. The roominess in the front is reflected in the rear, too. The seats back there are just as inviting, with the same extra padding and handsome design.

Space is surprisingly plentiful thanks to the high roof, meaning a six-foot passenger can sit behind similarly-tall driver without their knees touching the seat back.

The boot has 310 litres of luggage capacity, but it has an awkwardly high loading lip, resembling looking into a wishing well. The rear seat splits 60:40, and you can stow 992 litres with both folded down, but there is no false floor trickery here, leaving a stepped boot floor, which can be quite inconvenient.

Citroen e-C4 review (2024)
A well-sized boot, but high loading sill limits usability.

What power options are there?

The Citroen e-C3 comes with a reasonably-sized 43.7kWh usable battery – more than enough for a small electric car, and a match for the Fiat 500e. It’s good for a claimed 198-mile range on the WLTP testing cycle – we’ll report back on energy consumption when we test the car in the UK.

Citroen says the battery can be charged from 20-80% in 26 minutes, which sounds impressive but remember this is a modestly-sized battery. Maximum DC charging is actually just 100kW, which is on the slow side these days, but acceptable for the price and market it’s aimed at.

What’s it like to drive?

In a world of rapidly-acceletating EVs, the e-C3 sounds a bit underpowered by offering 113hp through the front wheels. But it’s more than enough to get up to speed quickly enough, offering decent mid-range overtaking power when needed.

It has a small wheel that mirror’s Peugeot’s i-Cockpit arrangement, and it’s steering is light and responsive. As you accelerate you get more weightiness, but at no point does it feel sporty. This is fine, as the car really is quite chilled to drive.

Citroen describes these laid-back dynamics as being zen-like, which aligns beautifully with the car’s comfortable and minimalist interior. The soft suspension is noticeable straight away with craters and bumps on our test route giving the C3 a thorough workout.

Citroen e-C3 review (2024)
Comfortable ride and suits this car’s laid-back demeanor.

The body is bounced up and down but I find it always comes down with a soft landing, thanks to the impressive cushioning effect of its hydraulic bump stops (a system shared with the super-comfortable C4 and C5 models). There’s more good news in that the body control is excellent. Yes, there’s plenty of bodyroll lustily but it’s progressive and there’s plenty of grip.

There’s little regenerative braking and and no one-pedal driving mode, and instead it keeps things simple. Lift off the accelerator and the Citroen smoothly slows, in a manner that resembles petrol engine braking.

On my undemanding route – flat, with minimal motorway and mostly 50-60mph A-roads and quiet towns – the e-C3 delivered 4.67 miles per kWh. It’s not the quietest of EVs: wind noise starts kicking in past the 50mph mark, and you’ll get added tyre grumble and some motor whine at motorway speeds.

Citroen e-C3 review (2024)
Cheap, cheerful and excellent to drive – the Citroen e-C3 is a welcome addition to the EV market.

What else should I know?

How has Citroen delivered a sub-£22,000 EV? By being obsessively focused on costs. Citroen has squeezed out complexity: it has 30% fewer parts than the outgoing Citroen C3.

Engineers describe it as a low-cost programme, which has lifted the philosophy from Citroen’s low-cost car programme for India and Brazil. That means a different, cost-saving approach for suppliers, manufacturing and to the equipment list, with a big red pen crossing out leather upholstery, powered seats, a glass roof, drive modes, paddleshifts and so forth.

Does this focus on value for money and Dacia-like pricing mean Citroen is on to a winner? Read our verdict to find out.

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