Citroën e-C3 reader test team

If you think all electric cars are expensive, the new e-C3 might force you to reconsider. And we gave some What Car? readers early access...

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

With the Citroën e-C3, the French car maker appears to be returning to what it’s always done best: providing drivers with small, affordable, practical vehicles that are full of character. And this one adds electric power to the mix.

The biggest news is that, starting at around £22,500, the e-C3 undercuts our current favourite small electric vehicle (EV), the MG 4, by around £4000. Yet it still promises a decent range and can be charged up swiftly.

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

The initial version will be powered by a 111bhp electric motor and a 44kWh (usable) battery, with the latter delivering an official range of 199 miles – just 19 miles less than the entry-level MG 4. Charging at rates of up to 100kW using the public charging network, the e-C3’s battery can officially be taken from 10-80% in 30 minutes.

With distinctive, rugged-looking styling, the e-C3 is the first car to display Citroën’s new design language, as well as the brand’s new double chevron badges. It has an equally bold-looking interior, with a digital driver’s display above the dashboard and a wide storage shelf above the glovebox.

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

A head-up display projects key driving information into your line of sight, and the two-spoke steering wheel is designed to give a clear view of the digital dash.

To see if the e-C3 will be a hit with drivers, we asked members of our reader panel to take a close look and issue their verdicts.

Maggie Mason

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

Age 80

Job Retired laboratory technician

Drives Honda CR-V

“I’m looking to replace my ageing Honda with something smaller and cheaper to live with. I only do short local trips; the e-C3’s range would probably last me for one or two weeks, and having a drive with an electric car charger means charging it up would be easy and cheap.

“I like the way the e-C3 ’s interior feels like it wraps around you when you’re in the driver’s seat. Although it ’s much smaller than my CR-V, you sit higher up than in a traditional hatchback, for a great view out. I also like how wide the e-C3’s front doors open, and that you don’t have to bend down to get in.

“Access to the rear seats is good, too; getting my greatgrandson in and out and strapping him into his child seat would be easy. Although the boot is a reasonable size, I’m not sure it would be big enough for his pushchair and other kit, though.

“The exterior detail makes the e-C3 stand out. I like the new chevron badge on the grille and the way this is repeated in various places around the car.

“The other highly appealing aspect is the price. While many new small EVs cost more than £30,000, the Citroën is a far more affordable prospect.”

Rating 5 stars

Ian Nixon

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

Age 71

Job Retired mortgage and pensions and financial advisor

Drives DS 3 and DS 5

“I’m interested in the e-C3 as a replacement for our DS 3, because my wife and I no longer do a high mileage in that car, and an electric car would be more economical.

“It’s great to see that Citroën has retained a lot of the exterior styling from the striking-looking Oli concept car, including the boxy front end, slim headlights and chunky wheelarches.

“It’s stylish on the inside, too, but also practical. There would be plenty of space for our dogs and occasional trips with our grandchildren.

“I also like the head-up display; it places vital information just where you need it on the move.

“We regularly drive to our property in Spain in the DS 5. In the past, I wouldn’t have considered this trip in an electric model, but the e-C3’s range is pretty good and the charging network in Europe is growing.

“It ’s a shame there’s no frunk for extra storage on long trips, although the interior is roomier than our DS 3’s. Overall, I ’m very impressed with the e-C3 .”

Rating 5 stars

David Newbrook

Citroen e-c3 reader test team

Age 62

Job Train driver

Drives Dacia Logan

“I’m after a small electric car with a big boot to carry my microlight aircraft. If I fold it up first, I reckon the e-C3’s boot will accommodate the fuselage when the seats are down, and the rest of my kit can go on a roof rack.

“I’m impressed with how comfortable the front seats are; they’re more supportive than my Dacia’s. The rear bench looks fairly roomy; it doesn’t look like it would accommodate three adults on long journeys, but I don’t carry more than one too often.

“The 199-mile range should be more than enough for my needs; most of my journeys are of less than 50 miles. I don’t like using the public charging network, but I have a home charger that I use for my electric motorbike, so I’m certain that will be the cheapest and easiest charging option.

“I like the small steering wheel and the driver ’s head-up display, which is easy to see. And I’m impressed with the fit and finish of the interior trim; it’s far superior to my Logan’s.

“It would have been great if cruise control was an option, but I can see how limiting equipment levels keeps the list price low, and the e-C3 is exceptionally well priced compared with other small EVs, even many non-electric models .”

Rating 4 stars

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