Car Reviews

Citroen C3 evaluation: Haute cross enjoyable | Autocar India

Written by Meera

New French compact automotive blurs the traces between hatchback and SUV, however can it ship one of the best of each?

Few automotive critiques have hinged so closely on the value – which, it ought to be famous, we do not need on the time of publishing (the decision will probably be up to date as soon as we do). You see, even with crucial merchandise to hit the market, we often have a normal thought of how they are going to be positioned. Nonetheless, due to among the decisions Citroen has made for its important, made-in-India, entry-level providing – the C3 – it’s onerous to place a finger on the place it belongs with out figuring out its value.

C3 the primary mass-market automotive from Citroen in India

Is it an entry degree hatchback, a sub-compact SUV, a little bit of each, or neither? It’s onerous to inform. Does that make it a nasty automotive? Not within the slightest. In truth, it reveals a radical new method to what a automotive, which has the potential to be successful with consumers, might provide.

2022 Citroen C3 exterior design

The sophomore providing from Citroen sits a number of segments under its debut product, the C5 Aircross that was launched in 2021, nevertheless it embodies numerous the identical ideas. The C5 gained Autocar India’s Finest Design & Styling award for 2022, and that very same splendidly eccentric French aptitude flows by way of the C3 as effectively.

Citroen C3 design borrows a number of cues from bigger C5 Aircross

The best way the chrome grille incorporates the Citroen chevron brand, after which splits off into LED daytime operating lamps (DRLs) is simply plain cool, and might simply make you overlook the relatively easy halogen headlamps nestled alongside. Decrease down is a giant hexagonal air dam, beneath which sits an X-shaped fake scuff plate in brushed silver. The grille sample is a grid of rounded squares, and, look carefully, and also you’ll even spot the phrase Citroen completed in chrome contained in the headlamps and tail-lamps.

Our take a look at automotive has one in all three optionally available packs that provides orange accents all spherical, together with the fog lamp housings. The orange accents lengthen to the wing mirror covers and the styling flourish on the base of the doorways and the rear bumper. If orange is just not your factor, you may select chrome or platinum gray with the opposite two packs. The orange roof isn’t a part of the pack, however is one in all six dual-tone color choices (some choices get a black roof as a substitute), and in consequence, there are a complete of 10 color combos to select from, though there are solely 4 base colors – white, gentle gray, darkish gray and orange.

15-inch metal wheels with covers normal, alloys optionally available

It is a lot extra than simply the small particulars, nonetheless, that make the Citroen C3’s design stand out. The bonnet is closely sculpted, as are the entrance and rear flanks, and even the tailgate isn’t only a easy flat piece of metallic, and incorporates cut-outs for the tail-lamps. These are easy however efficient particulars that inform your mind this isn’t a barebones automotive, however conversely, the lift-type door handles, old style exposed-steel lock on the driving force’s door, and plastic wheel covers on metal wheels inform you in any other case; you should purchase alloys as an possibility although.

However no, the actual massive speaking level, which serves to confound its positioning all of the extra, is the form of the automotive itself. Citroen, fairly precisely if we’re being sincere, calls it a ‘hatchback with a twist’. However to the common purchaser, it will seem like a sub-compact SUV. Sure, it doesn’t have overtly sq. dimensions, however should you park it alongside a Tata Punch, you’ll discover they’re just about the identical form and measurement. The C3 even has an SUV-like 180mm of floor clearance, after which, after all, there’s the black cladding throughout and the upright form of the passenger compartment. Nonetheless, Citroen maintains that its first correct SUV will solely come subsequent yr.

180mm floor clearance means placing wheels off the street is not any concern

2022 Citroen C3 inside

The inside, very like the skin, is way from typical and filled with wacky particulars. Once more, you don’t need to have the orange dashboard – the opposite possibility is anodised gray. Additionally, that is seemingly linked to which exterior pack you select.

With or with out the splash of citrus, the dimpled textured floor on the passenger facet of the dashboard appears to be like and feels nice, as does the slim piece of brushed metallic plastic under it. The chunky rotary AC knobs really feel satisfying as they click on into place and there’s an enormous storage bay beneath them. Even the AC vents have a cool geometric design, and you may see hints of the C5 Aircross in right here.

Plastic high quality all spherical is best than we anticipated, and it is solely whenever you scout round decrease down by the gear lever and cup holders, for instance, that you simply’ll discover some poorer-built bits. There are, nonetheless, different indicators that trace that this may belong nearer to the funds finish of the market, just like the absence of any delicate materials on the door pads to relaxation your elbows on, guide stalk adjusters for the wing mirrors, empty shells for tweeter audio system within the A pillars and a fundamental felt roof liner. After which, there are the rear window switches, which gained’t be discovered both on the rear doorways or on the driving force’s door. As an alternative, to save lots of on prices, there may be one widespread pair of switches for entrance and rear passengers to make use of, positioned between the entrance seats. We’ll delve extra into this within the gear listing, nevertheless it’s decisions like this that we have been alluding to firstly.

Entrance seats slim however effectively cushioned

Talking of the entrance seats, these of bigger structure may discover them a bit slim – a transfer Citroen says it made to provide a better sense of house within the cabin – however there’s little doubt they’re generously cushioned and comfy over lengthy distances. There’s vary of adjustment too, and the final seating place is tall, like in an SUV.

The again seat is extremely spacious and comfy, once more with fantastically judged cushioning. It’s not as extensive as a full-on compact SUV, so seating three adults abreast will probably be a squeeze, however leg and head room are plentiful. You’ll discover the shortage of a rear centre armrest and adjustable rear headrests, although you do get two USB ports for charging. The 315-litre boot is unquestionably extra in hatchback territory than SUV on paper, and you’ll have to haul baggage over a tall ledge, though it is effectively formed. The rear backrest folds, however doesn’t cut up, and doing so is a tedious means of pulling on two fundamental straps – not levers – on both facet of the cabin. Nonetheless, the backrest might be eliminated altogether to provide a flat flooring for pure cargo-hauling use.

Again seat presents good cushioning and loads of house

2022 Citroen C3 options and variants

The Citroen C3 will get an enormous 10-inch touchscreen, which is certain to be a giant speaking level, if not promoting level. It’s slick in operation too, with clear graphics and good contact response, and even will get wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We should always level out that our take a look at automotive’s infotainment unit glitched closely whereas making an attempt to run Apple CarPlay, and required a tough reset earlier than it labored correctly. Citroen says that work is on to take away all software program glitches earlier than automobiles attain prospects’ fingers.

Slick 10.2in touchscreen will get wi-fi CarPlay and Android Auto

In stark distinction is the C3’s digital instrument panel, which is not more than a small, black-and-white journey laptop display screen that shows a speedometer; there isn’t a tachometer. There are big clean areas on both facet throughout the binnacle, which inform you it might have housed a bigger, extra informative display screen.

No typical dials however a small monochrome display screen with a digital speedo

Contemplating the massive infotainment display screen, you’d count on a rear-view digicam, however there isn’t one. One doesn’t count on a sunroof for this class of automotive, however what’s obtrusive is the absence of a rear windscreen wiper and defogger. The within rear-view mirror doesn’t also have a guide day/night time perform, there’s no lock/unlock button within the cabin, and there’s no peak adjustment for the entrance seatbelts. A spotlight, nonetheless, is the four-speaker audio system, which packs extra punch than even methods in far bigger automobiles.

Bucking the development of expansive and convoluted mannequin traces, trim ranges and variants that almost all manufacturers comply with, Citroen presents the C3 (and certainly the C5 Aircross) in simply two trim ranges. Nonetheless, the lesser C3 ‘Stay’ variant is way extra stripped down than the top-spec ‘Really feel’ variant we’re driving, ditching the touchscreen, audio system, LED DRLs, rear energy home windows, distant locking, steering adjustment, USB chargers and roof rails, and even deleting the outside black cladding and the entrance passenger solar visor. That is hopefully an indication of a really aggressive beginning value.

2022 Citroen C3 engine, efficiency and gas effectivity

The Citroen C3 is available in two powertrain flavours at launch – a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with a five-speed guide gearbox and a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine with a six-speed guide. An automated possibility is anticipated to comply with in January 2023. Let’s begin with the turbo, distinguishable solely by a tiny ‘PureTech’ badge on the tailgate, which makes a stable 110hp and 190Nm! The torque determine, particularly, is greater than you get in any small-capacity turbo-petrol engine, whereas the horsepower is correct up there with one of the best, and it reveals nearly instantly, on this 1,035kg bantamweight crossover.

1.2 turbo petrol packs a critical punch

The C3 turbo completely leaps off the road. Efficiency is targeted on the backside finish and mid vary, making for keen responses at visitors tempo and for overtaking. It does run out of puff in direction of the highest finish – we will’t inform you the RPM as there’s no tachometer – and that’s simply as effectively, because it’s right here that you may hear the three-cylinder engine straining too. You may encounter some turbo lag, however that’s provided that you permit it in a excessive gear and let the revs drop. The six-speed guide is slick in its shifts, making charging up and down the powerband not simply simple, however enjoyable too, although the clutch launch can really feel a little bit snappy.

The atmospheric 1.2 petrol with its 82hp and 115Nm is clearly not as entertaining, however in comparison with different small-capacity, three-cylinder naturally aspirated petrols, it’s relatively good. For a begin it solely has 964kg to maneuver round, and other than a minor hesitation getting off the road, efficiency, whereas not outright sturdy, doesn’t really feel missing both. Refinement is fairly good too, and as soon as once more, it’s solely whenever you actually rev it out that the three-cylinder noise and vibrations grow to be an annoyance. The clutch on this automotive isn’t as snappy as within the turbo, however the five-speed guide isn’t as slick because the six-speed, and feels a bit notchy.

Particular point out needs to be manufactured from the AC, which Citroen says has been ‘tropicalised’ or specifically tailored for India. It labored a deal with, cooling the cabin very quickly and preserving it that means, even on a scorching Goa afternoon, to the purpose that you’ll not thoughts that the C3 doesn’t have rear AC vents. It additionally ought to be famous that the turbo engine, with an ARAI gas economic system score of 19.4kpl, is just 0.4kpl behind the naturally aspirated 1.2.

2022 Citroen C3 trip and dealing with

Consolation is one thing French automobiles excel at and Citroen has even made it a core tenet of its model. We lauded the C5 Aircross for its ‘flying carpet trip’ which really feels extra comfy than something this facet of Rs 50 lakh. The extra fundamental C3, after all, can’t ship that degree of sophistication, however that very same ethos is evident in its trip high quality, which is miles forward of something on this class.

Excessive-speed stability of a a lot larger automotive

It begins with its footprint on the street, which is kind of massive for the automotive’s measurement, with pretty extensive entrance and rear tracks, and a protracted 2,540mm wheelbase; longer than most compact SUVs! Then there are the chunky 195/65 R15 tyres – not the thin ‘eco’ tyres you often discover on compact automobiles – and, in actual fact, have a wider part than these on a Honda Metropolis. The suspension set-up is fairly normal on paper – impartial MacPherson struts with coil springs up entrance and a non-independent torsion-beam set-up with coil springs on the rear – however the execution is actually sturdy for an entry degree automotive.

The sense you get driving briskly over a damaged street is that the suspension is doing the heavy lifting, working away onerous underneath the wheel arches, while you’re handled to a clean and bump-free trip within the cabin. Small undulations, to steep velocity bumps to very large craters – the C3’s compliant suspension takes all of it in its stride and smothers it out with minimal fuss. The excessive floor clearance means we have been simply in a position to drop two wheels off one in all Goa’s slim roads to let one other car by. Excessive-speed stability, too, is excellent and the steering has a component to play right here as effectively. It’s not disconcertingly gentle or over-assisted, as many entry-level steering racks are, and has a assured weightiness to it. It’s additionally fairly fast and direct, and doesn’t require too many turns, lock to lock.

And that brings us on to the dealing with, which just like the trip, feels tightly engineered past this automotive’s anticipated section. It’s not as pin-sharp as say, a Ford steering, nevertheless it’s communicative and predictable, permitting you to chuck the C3 round with ease. The supple suspension and excessive trip peak do result in some physique roll, however once more, that extensive footprint lets the automotive monitor true in a nook. The excessive torsional rigidity means there may be completely no flex, squeaks or rattles whenever you’re actually leaning on it. Total, the tidy dynamics and punchy turbo engine are effectively met to ship driving enjoyable.  

2022 Citroen C3 anticipated value and verdict

It was one other French automotive, the Renault Kwid, which shocked the market by bringing SUV-like appears to be like and a touchscreen infotainment system to the funds hatchback section. Citroen’s method to the C3 feels related, albeit in a section or two larger, wowing you with its funky crossover appears to be like, spacious and comfortable inside and big 10-inch touchscreen.

Citroen calls C3 a ‘hatchback with a twist’; has crossover proportions

Nonetheless, in offering these points of interest, Citroen has eliminated quite a bit from the C3 – it looks like value slicing with a hacksaw relatively than a scalpel. It’s been finished in apparent areas too – most notably within the guide wing mirror adjustment, which even funds automobiles now present. It’s a case of wildly contrasting priorities {that a} purchaser must reckon with.

And it will be a disgrace if potential consumers wrote the C3 off earlier than taking a take a look at drive, as a result of that’s the place it completely acquits itself. From behind the wheel, this looks like a way more refined automotive than its measurement and options would counsel, with a powerful turbo engine and excellent trip and dealing with stability. If sturdy mechanicals and nice consolation are what you’re after in a automotive, the Citroen C3 does a much better job than most compact automobiles – hatchback or SUV – although you’ll have to make some sacrifices within the cabin. Now, all that’s left to search out out is the value.

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