Read Caroline’s Citroen e-C3 review for everything you need to know about Citroen’s new compact electric car expected in Ireland before the end of the year.

The new Citroen e-C3 is likely to be one of the most affordable electric cars on sale when it arrives in Ireland later in 2024.

Citroen has a history of building brilliant small cars like the 2CV, Saxo and previous generations of the C3.

The brand is keen to offer choice to buyers in the market for a small car and so the new C3 will be offered with a choice of petrol, mild hybrid and electric.

The new e-C3 uses a 44kWh battery with a range up to 320 kilometres (WLTP) and is designed for more space, more comfort and more character.

I was in Austria with Citroen Ireland to take a closer look.

The new Citroen e-C3
The new Citroen e-C3

Styling

Citroen has completely reimagined the C3 and e-C3 for this new generation of the small car. Though it has similar dimensions to the previous model, it’s taller and squarer overall with a strong SUV influence to its design. That means it sits higher off the ground than before, has a higher bonnet and more rugged styling cues like skid plates and wheel arch covers. Designed in France and built in Slovakia, the new C3 and e-C3 are also the first Citroens to get the brand’s new oval logo. There are a range of colours available as well as contrasting roof colours and clips in the front fascia and C-pillar. Wheel sizes vary from 16- to 17-inch. LED headlamps come as standard.

Interior

The C3 and e-C3 get a brand new cabin design that’s pared back to give driver and occupants a feeling of peace and relaxation. Highlights include the new Citroen ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats, which have thicker foam and add to the lounge-like feel finished in cool grey and black. There is a plush grey fabric material in the dashboard that adds some style though there are scratchier black plastics in the doors. But for a budget car, that’s acceptable and there’s no squeaks or rattles in this cabin.

The cabin of the new Citroen e-C3
The cabin of the new Citroen e-C3

Citroen has also introduced a new compact steering wheel and a digital head-up display that works very well. There’s also a new 10.25-inch touchscreen though that won’t be standard on the entry level trim. Instead there will be a docking station for a smartphone and access to music and maps will be through an app. It’s probably worth stretching to the touchscreen as it looks more impressive and is nice to interact with. It also comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless connectivity. Other features include wireless smartphone charging and automatic climate control.

Practicality

The new C3 is about 100mm higher than the previous car so it’s easier to get in and out of. It’s a particularly nice small car for carrying rear seat passengers and feels notably spacious. It’s a bit wider than before and has more headroom, legroom and elbow room. The two tone interiors make it a welcoming place to sit and there are useful features for rear seat passengers like two USB-C ports, pockets in the back of the seats and door bins.

At 310 litres, there’s just about 10 litres more boot space in the new car – though it’s good to know it hasn’t lost any space in exchange for its new electric powertrain. The boot has some depth and is a good shape for carrying things. There are no clever features like a split level boot floor to hide away charging cables, but the rear seats do split fold 60:40.

The Citroen e-C3 is expected in Ireland at the end of 2024
The Citroen e-C3 is expected in Ireland at the end of 2024

Battery

The new e-C3 uses a new 44kWh battery with a range up to 320 kilometres (WLTP). It’s an LFP battery, chosen because it is more cost-efficient and Citroen is the first to use it among the Stellantis Group of car brands. A heat pump is not included but the e-C3 proved to be very efficient during my time with the car avergaing just 11.5 kWh per 100 kilometres.

A smaller capacity battery will join later with a range in the region of 200 kilometres.

Driving

The C3 and e-C3 are built on a new platform called the Smart Car Platform. It’s very efficient and flexible enough to house combustion engines too. On the road the e-C3 offers a smooth and comfortable drive – if not a particularly fast one. It uses a 113hp electric motor and 0-100kmh is a leisurely 11 seconds. That’s reasonable for a small car though not fast for an electric one! It’s clearly an efficiency and comfort-biased small car. For the first time the C3 gets Citroen’s suspension system with progressive hydraulic cushions so this is a car that covers the road softly. The raised height also offers a more comfortable drive over speed bumps and potholes in urban and suburban driving. The electric version adds a reassuring weight from behind the wheel so feels solid in cornering though it’s not a particularly fun car to drive. Still for a budget car that’s likely to spend most of its time in town and suburbia, it offers an affable drive.

Rear seating in the Citroen e-C3
Rear seating in the Citroen e-C3

There will also be new safety features like Active Safety Brake, Active Lane Departure Warning and Speed Sign Recognition. A new ‘e-Routes’ app will allow you to plan journeys, monitor charging status and battery level. The MyCitroën App will manage charging schedules and pre-heating or pre-cooling of the vehicle.

Charging

7.4 kW AC charging comes as standard. DC fast charging is up to 100 kW, which translates to a 20-80% battery charge in just 26 minutes.

Pricing

There will be three trim levels for Ireland: You, Plus and Max with varying levels of equipment. Pricing will be announced closer to launch in Ireland in November of this year.

The new e-C3 is an efficient and practical small electric car
The new e-C3 is an efficient and practical small electric car

Verdict

We’re starting to see the rise of the budget-friendly small electric car like the Dacia Spring and the BYD Dolphin. The Citroen e-C3 is part of a wave of new European designed and built small electric cars that are going to make electric motoring even more affordable and accessible.

In Europe, the e-C3 goes on sale for less than €25,000. While pricing is yet to be confirmed in Ireland, it will likely be one of the most affordable electric cars on sale.

Offering buyers choice is also a key part of Citroen’s philosophy with this car so it’s good to know that Irish buyers will be able to choose from a petrol manual or petrol mild hybrid automatic if you like the look of the car but don’t want to go electric.

At its core, this is a small car full of character with trendy small SUV-inspired looks that should see it do well in the market and garner quite a few fans. It’s also a great small car for carrying passengers with a decent sized boot and bright, airy rear bench.

The new Citroen e-C3 scores for practicality and efficiency, while also being incredibly cute and rugged! If it’s priced well, it will be a compelling choice in the new car market.

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Written by Caroline Kidd

Founder and Editor of Changing Lanes, Juror for Irish Car of the Year