Citroen eC3: What We Learnt From Completely Draining It Out

  • Jun 11, 2023
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Potent city commuter? Oui

Team Zig is quite fond of the petrol-powered C3 for the pucca pocket rocket that it is. It needs you to rewire your expectations of a near-10-lakh rupee car, though. You will give it a fair chance, in exchange for some grins behind the wheel and a really comfy ride. 

With the ‘e’ C3, Citroen is offering an identical package with digital horsepower, some added weight and a steeper price tag. Spending a day driving it to death gave us a complete understanding of this city-slicker. 

More For My Money

For its asking price, the eC3 is asking you to make some compromises. It all begins with the crude and flimsy key. You access the vehicle with WagonR-styled flap door handles, and are then sat in a cabin that feels old-school, with the exception of the large and crisp 10-inch touchscreen. 

The fabric upholstery, the blank switches on the steering wheel, and the manual air-conditioning will have you questioning its value for money quotient. The driver’s display is not only basic but has a functional issue too. You can’t see the exact battery percentage and range at the same time. You also need to use a stalk on the cluster to shuffle through data since there are no switches on the steering wheel for this. Not the easiest thing to do on the move. 

Citroen could’ve considered adding in keyless entry, climate control and leatherette upholstery to make the eC3 feel a little more deserving of its price tag. The new C3 AirCross features a crisp screen in the instrument cluster, which would’ve been a great fit for the eC3 too. Also, basic features such as a rear washer/wiper and powered mirrors should not have been missed. 


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To begin with, turning a key to start an electric car feels quite odd. 

Once the tiny display reads ‘Ready’ — you are good to go. You get to choose between two drive modes: eco and normal. Oddly enough, other than the green backlight on the switch itself, there’s no indication on the instrument cluster or the touchscreen to tell you which mode you’re in. And this green backlight isn’t particularly easy to read in bright daylight, so you will end up circling it with your palm to check. Odder still, you cannot switch between the drive modes without taking your foot off of the accelerator pedal. 

Get Going

Driving the eC3, like most electric cars, is easy. Hop in, flick the toggle switch to drive and you’re good to potter around immediately. The high-set seating position and great all-round visibility means you feel confident from the get-go too. A lighter steering would’ve helped, but you do get used to this pretty quickly. 

Performance isn’t particularly electrifying either. It’s enough to get you from point A to point B, and that’s about it. You feel a small rush while getting from 0-60kmph, but post that the acceleration tapers off. Our test data reveals it’s slower than a petrol-powered C3 to 100kmph. 

What you’d appreciate, however, is how brisk it feels powering on from 20- to 40-kmph or 40- to 60-kmph. You’ll be hovering at these speeds all day inside the city, so it helps that the eC3 can dart in and out of gaps in traffic easily. 

Also, while the eC3 is comfortable hanging on to 80-90kmph on the highway, we’d recommend you use it there only if you absolutely need to. Overtakes will take effort and planning. Not to mention the top speed is capped at 102kmph.

Drain IT! 

For the city-spec eC3, we lapped our standard city test route over and over again. We started off with 230km of indicated range on the instrument cluster and ended the day with 231.9km. There’s a little more than what meets the eye, though. 

For the initial 10-20%, the eC3 barely shows a drop in range. At one point, we had covered close to 60km, with a range loss of barely 30km. Thankfully, we now know better than to trust the DTE readout blindly. A range of ~2-2.5km on a single percent of charge can be expected from the eC3. 

On the drive, we didn’t really miss selectable regeneration. For anyone starting their electric journey, the regeneration that the eC3 offers feels natural and almost like engine braking on a regular petrol-powered vehicle. What we did miss, though, was the silence we expect from an electric vehicle. Over and above the humdrum from the tyres and road, it was the compressor of the air-conditioner that introduced noticeable vibrations on the floorboard and steering wheel. 

The eC3 soldiered on with no difference in performance or air-conditioning till we hit 5%. It’s worth noting that the battery percentage drops quite quickly from 20 to 5% — almost as if it’s compensating for the slow drop early on in the cycle. 

Also, at 5%, the vehicle enters limp home mode. You lose air conditioning entirely at this point. Nope, you can’t even keep the fan on. As the charge drops further acceleration is limited, its ability to climb inclines is reduced and top speed is capped to just about 50kmph. 

Our heart rates soared into triple digits as the distance to empty slipped into single digits. We thought we’d make it to the office comfortably considering we had a little over a kilometre to go and the range read out 5km / 1.6%. But the eC3 decided we’d done enough driving for the day. Power cut off and the eC3 ground to a slow halt. The boys from the office had their cardio session for the day as they pushed it back. 

Plugged into a standard 15A socket the eC3 showed 8.5 hours for a full charge. For reference, Citroen claims a 10-100% charge time of 10.5 hours whereas the car’s MID showed 8 hours. Take it to a fast charger and it charges 5 percent every 4 minutes till 80 percent, with a maximum charging capacity of 25kW. More details on charging here

The Point?

Also Read: Revealed: Third-gen Lexus GX SUV Ain’t For The Faint Hearted

Spending the better part of a week with the eC3 left Team Zig scratching their heads a little. It’s competent in handling city commutes, is comfortable and quite spacious for a small car too. However, the compromises it asks you to make in terms of the feel-good factor and features might have you dismiss its likable French flair and quirks. For what’s effectively a Rs 13 lakh car, the eC3 needs to bring more to the table.

Citroen eC3 Video Review

Citroen eC3
Citroen eC3
Rs. 11.61 Lakh
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