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2023 Citroen eC3 first drive review: The best value-for-money electric car in India?

Electric cars and Citroen, both are fairly new in the Indian market. Adoption for both Citroen and electric cars is relatively low, in comparison to the conventional ICE cars and car brands. Now, the Citroen badge will be seen on an electric car, making for an amalgam, which according to rules of summation, signifies a combination that Indians might want to keep away from. This will be exercised with the 2023 Citroen eC3, which quintessentially is the electrified avatar of the French brand’s family hatchback. But will the Citroen eC3 make for the best value-for-money electric car in the Indian market? Well, we did spend some time with the eC3 to find out an answer for this question.

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2023 Citroen eC3 Review: Funky Design

Undoubtedly, the Citroen eC3 looks identical to its ICE counterpart – C3. Well, the styling of the C3 has remained either a hit or a miss among the audience, and a similar result is expected for the eC3 as well. We personally like the way Citroen eC3 looks. Beefy proportions, flared body arches, and vertically-split headlamps, all add to the appeal.

On the eC3, Citroen has now added a new charging port cover over the right-side fender. Doors too get ‘e’ badges. Moreover, the rear face now features new badges. Key design elements like black cladding, roof rails, stylish alloy wheels, squarish tail lamps, and dual-tone paint schemes are carried over on the eC3 too. Moreover, it now offers more color options than the petrol-powered C3.

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Talking of dimensions, they stand unchanged at 3,981 mm in length, 1,733 mm in width, and 1,604 mm in height. On the whole, the eC3 looks appealing with a rather youthful and chic design. Thankfully, Citroen has managed to make the eC3 look rather conventional with a similar front grille and no use of green or blue accents around the car, like other EVs.

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2023 Citroen eC3 Review: Practical Interior

The Citroen eC3’s interior space’s strong points are common to the C3’s. There’s enough space on the inside for five occupants with comfortable seating. Moreover, the dashboard layout is unchanged, and thus, it is funky with a tinge of exterior colour.

Talking of changes, the eC3 misses out on a conventional gear lever. It now gets a C5-inspired toggle switch to engage R, N, or D modes. Also, it has two drive modes – Eco and Normal. Citroen has this time added a day-night IRVM, which was absent on the C3.

Connected car features are also a part of the package now. Citroen is also offering a new mobile application that provides all the vitals of the car on a handheld device itself. Sadly, the opportunity couldn’t be used to add more features to the list, like powered ORVMs, automatic climate control and more.

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With the battery pack mounted under the floor, the rear footwell is now slightly raised. Interestingly, the battery is fitted within the long wheelbase. Therefore, boot space is unhampered at 315 litres and also houses a spare wheel.

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2023 Citroen eC3 Review: Performance

The Citroen eC3 uses a 57 PS permanent magnet DC motor that pushes out a max torque of 143 Nm. As a result, the eC3 can shoot up to a top speed of 107 kmph, while 0-60 kmph timings stand at 6.8 seconds. The overall response of the powertrain felt smooth.

No, no-neck-wrecking acceleration surge is present. The power delivery is linear all throughout. Thus, we think it is better suited for city dwelling and commuting. Furthermore, the eC3’s on-off throttle transitions are seamless. With the absence of three-pot motors, there are no vibrations whatsoever.

Ride and handling manners felt to be comfort-centric, as the hatchback is sprung on softer sides even with IC engines. The steering feels right, while the lowered centre of gravity helps in increased straight-line stability.

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The range is claimed at 320 km on a full charge with the 29.2 kWh battery pack, which is a nice figure. However, since we drove the car on a track and for a short duration, it is tough to comment on real-world driving range.

2023 Citroen eC3 Review: Verdict

The Citroen eC3 feels like a perfect city car in the short driving experience we had. It has got enough on its side, like crisp styling, spacious interior, usable boot space, and let’s not forget the 10-inch touchscreen display. The powertrain feels potent too. Also, the built-in charger adds convenience. However, the price will play a big role in its success story, which sadly isn’t revealed yet. If priced below Rs 10 lakh on road, the eC3 will certainly take the market by storm.

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