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Old 15th June 2022, 12:00   #1
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Citroen C3 Review


Citroen C3 Pros



• Striking design! Very funky, yet likeable at the same time
• Good-looking cabin that is practical too
• 1.2L turbo-petrol is punchy, while the 1.2L naturally-aspirated engine offers excellent driveability
• 6-speed MT is slick and light to operate. Definitely one of the better gearboxes in the segment
• Sorted suspension offers a very good ride & handling package
• Compact size and light controls are perfect for the urban environment
• 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto & Apple CarPlay is excellent to use
• Lots of customization options and accessories to make your car truly unique

Citroen C3 Cons



• Missing plenty of features = electric ORVM adjustment, IRVM dimmer (not even manual), climate control, rear wiper & defogger, reversing camera, alloy wheels, tachometer!
• Just 2 variants at launch (no true top variant)
• No automatic transmission on offer - a big miss when ATs are rapidly gaining popularity in India
• Quality of cabin materials doesn't feel great; cost-cutting is pretty evident in certain areas
• Some ergonomic issues like the placement of rear power window switches, unusable rear headrests…
• 1.2L NA petrol’s highway performance is mediocre; 5-speed MT is notchy too
• Cabin width makes the interiors suitable for 4 adults, not 5
• Long-term reliability & after-sales service quality are big unknowns; dealer network is tiny

This review has been jointly compiled with Vid6639. Thanks to him for the expert observations!

Introduction



Citroen entered the Indian market in 2021 with a well-engineered premium crossover, the C5 Aircross. Now, the French brand is ready to take on a more mass-market approach with the car that you see here - the C3.

Over the past couple of years, we have seen a new segment emerging between the hatchbacks and the compact SUVs. This sub-compact crossover segment has cars like the Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger and the Tata Punch and if you look at their sales figures, these cars are doing extremely well for themselves. This is the space that Citroen would be focusing on with the C3. However, as we've seen with other cars in this segment, pricing is the key. So it's paramount for Citroen to price the C3 very aggressively to get people talking about the French car brand.

Citroen is well aware of the price-conscious Indian car buyer and has focused on high localisation. The C3 is assembled in Thirvallur and the engine & transmission are assembled in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. The made-in-India C3 that's based on PSA's Common Modular Platform, will be exported to ASEAN and African nations as well. Do note that the car is very much different from the C3 based on the PSA PF1 platform on sale in Europe, which is currently in its 3rd generation. Citroen probably should've gone with a different moniker for the made-in-India car just to avoid any confusion.

The C3 goes on sale in July and will be available in 2 variants - Live and Feel. There are two engine options to choose from - an 81 BHP, 1.2L naturally-aspirated petrol mated to a 5-speed MT and a 109 BHP turbocharged petrol mated to a 6-speed MT. There is no automatic variant on offer, which IMO, puts the C3 at a big disadvantage against its competition. No one enjoys a manual transmission while being stuck in city traffic no matter how light the clutch is. Considering that the C3 is Citroen's first big bang volume product, the company really should've gone all out with features (more on this later) and transmission options to get the maximum number of people to walk into its showrooms.

Citroen C3 Price & Brochure


As mentioned earlier, this segment is super price-sensitive and Citroen ought to price the C3 aggressively. The heavy localisation and some of the missing features should allow the French brand to price the car well. We will have to wait for the official launch on July 20, 2022 for the prices. Pre-bookings for the car will open on July 1.

You can download the Citroen C3 brochure Citroen C3 Brochure.pdf.

Exterior



Design & Styling



Citroen's design language is unique and far from conventional. This usually polarises opinions, but somehow, the French brand has managed to make it work with the C3. Even for me, who prefers conventional designs, the funky design of the C3 is appealing. Overall dimensions are proportionate. It doesn't feel like a hatchback on stilts, but a well-designed SUV that's shrunken in size.

The C3 measures 3,981 mm in length, 1,733 mm (without mirrors) in width and 1,604 mm in height (with roof rails). It has a wheelbase of 2,540 mm which is more than the Tata Punch (2,445 mm) and the Nissan Magnite & Renault Kiger (2,500 mm). There are 4 monotone body colours and 6 dual-tone options to choose from, with the primary colours being Polar White, Zesty Orange, Platinum Grey and Steel Grey. You can choose between a Zesty Orange Roof or a Platinum Grey Roof. There are 3 customization packs too - Zesty Orange, Platinum Grey and Chrome and 2 interior trims (Anodized Orange and Anodized Grey) to further personalise your vehicle. You don't get alloy wheels as standard, but they are available as an optional add-on.

Build Quality, Fit & Finish



The C3 uses a Common Modular Platform and while it is built to a cost, it doesn't feel cheap. With a kerb weight in the range of 939 kg to 1,035 kg, the C3 is very close to the Tata Punch. There's decent heft to the doors and the bonnet too. However, the tailgate feels a little too light. The doors have a 3-stage opening & closing action and what I specifically appreciate is the fact that you don't have to bang the doors hard. You can just give them a light push and they will shut properly with a satisfactory thud. Overall, the car feels solid and doesn't feel very flimsy or tinny. We did notice that the finishing in some of the areas, especially where plastic is used, wasn't up to the mark at all. For instance, the roof rails on our test car were flimsy, the orange plastic inserts on the car weren't properly stuck, the fog lamps didn't feel secure in their spots and the bumper edges weren't smooth. These may be small things, but they do have a big impact on the buyer's mindset.

Wheels & Tyres



The Citroen C3 is offered with 15-inch steel wheels as standard with 'Tessera' wheel covers. You can opt for alloy wheels as an option and Citroen has a couple of cool designs as well. Wonder why they just didn't offer the alloys as standard on the top-end variant.

The standard tyre size is 195/65 R15 for both, naturally aspirated and turbo petrol variants. These work well for the 81 BHP naturally aspirated engine, but if you are planning for the 109 BHP turbocharged engine, an upgrade to 205s is a must. For some weird reason, Citroen is offering 2 spare wheel options - a 185/65 R15 on a steel wheel in the turbo-petrol variant and a 165/80 R14 on a steel wheel in the naturally aspirated variant. Both of these have a speed limit of 80 km/h.

Ground Clearance



The C3 has an unladen ground clearance of 180 mm, which is sufficient for Indian road conditions. For reference, the Tata Punch has a GC of 190 mm and the Renault Kiger and Nissan Magnite have a GC of 205 mm.

Maintenance



Being a new brand in India, Citroen is working on providing good service for this car that's going to be targeting the mass market. This means that the spare parts will need to be affordable and easily available too. Citroen's plans for providing better service to its customers look good on paper with facilities like virtual remote diagnosis, periodic service and maintenance with pickup and drop facilities, 180-minute RSA guarantee, remote service job card opening, service cost estimator on the website, genuine spare parts availability in 24 hours and service on wheels to name a few. We will wait for ownership reports of BHPians for the final verdict.

Safety



The Citroen C3 isn't feature-packed and the list of safety features is very basic. It has dual airbags, ABS, reverse parking sensors, speed-sensitive auto door lock and seatbelt reminder for driver and passenger. What you miss out on (compared to the competition) are adjustable headrests in the front and rear, ISOFIX child seat anchors, side airbags and a reverse parking camera.

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2022 at 12:03.
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Interior



Cabin Design & Quality



Spend some time in the cabin of the C3 and you will start having mixed feelings about the car. There are some very likeable bits and you will appreciate the thought that's gone into it. But then, there are areas where you just can tell that Citroen could've easily done so much better. Let's start with the likeable part, which is the design. You have an all-black dashboard with the option of the Orange / Grey accents (depending on your car's exterior body / roof colours). Our test car had orange accents and honestly, they don't look too flashy in person. In fact, if you like the way the car looks on the outside, there's a high chance you will like the interiors too. Bits like the air-con vents (central and side) have a very nice and intricate design. You'll find some well-placed brushed silver accents on the door handles, gear knob housing and at the base of the flat-bottom steering wheel that looks good too. There are no soft-touch plastics here, which is expected, but some fabric inserts would've been nice.

Now, to the part that's not so great - the quality of materials used. Simply put, the quality in some areas is very budget grade. For instance, the plastics used for the air vents, a/c control knobs and some of the other switches just don't feel that great. The steering wheel and the buttons on it, surprisingly, feel very nice and sturdy to operate.

Space & Comfort



The C3 has the longest wheelbase in its segment and this definitely works in its favour when it comes to the interior space. That said, the cabin is best suited for 4 adults and not 5. The higher seating position (about 100 mm more than the conventional hatchback) helps in ingress and egress. The fabric-upholstered seats are, surprisingly, very good. They're body-hugging and the cushioning is softer in the central part (where your bottom and lower back would be) and slightly firmer on the ends. There's good under-thigh support and side support to keep you comfortable on the road.

Driving Position & Ergonomics



The driver seat is height adjustable and has a good travel range too. The steering is adjustable for height which means finding a comfortable driving position shouldn't be a problem for most people. At 5'10" with my slightly laid-back driving position, I could get comfortable quite easily. However, Vid6639 (6'1"), just wasn't comfortable with the distance to the steering wheel after adjusting the seat for pedal reach and the backrest set for a laid-back driving position. He had to make the backrest more upright. He sorely missed the telescopic adjustment.

While driving you get a clear view of the road ahead. Under direct sunlight though, reflections from the dashboard can be distracting. What's better is that you will also be able to see the bonnet creases on the sides, which will be appreciated by many drivers. The side visibility is alright, but the rear visibility is just terrible (like most modern cars). What makes the matters worse is that you don't even get a reversing camera in the car and will have to depend on the sensors alone. The C-pillars are pretty thick and you will need to be careful of the big blind spots that they create.

While driving, you'll notice that the gear lever is at a perfect height and quite close to the steering wheel. This feels very sporty when you are pushing the car down some twisty roads and shifting through the gears quickly. Other controls like the steering mounted buttons, stalks, air-con controls, etc. are well within reach. The only oddballs here are the rear power window controls, which are placed in between the front seats. This is uncomfortable for the rear passengers as they have to bend and reach for them, which is even more irritating while the car is moving and they have their seatbelts on.

Cabin Storage



There's a decent amount of storage space in the C3's cabin. All the door pockets can hold 1-liter bottles and you get a well-sized glovebox with additional storage spaces on the lid. In the center console, you get a phone tray below which, you have an additional storage area and a couple of cupholders. There's a small cubbyhole below the handbrake for keeping loose change and another storage area in between the front seats for the rear passengers to use. The front seats have deep seatback pockets for the rear passengers to keep stuff.

Air-Conditioning



The C3's air-conditioner worked very well on a hot and humid day in Goa. The cabin was cooled quickly even after we'd parked the C3 in the hot sun for a while. There are no rear air-con vents, but the smaller cabin size means that the rear passengers won't complain. The only gripe is that there's no climate control on offer and you get only a manual HVAC unit. Also, after using the air-con at full blast for some time, we found that there was a lot of condensation around the central air vents.

Features


Unique & Noteworthy Features



Features are super important in a market like India. People love showing off their cars and a feature-packed car surely draws people into the showrooms. This is where, IMHO, Citroen has goofed up big time. A quick look at the brochure and you will clearly see that the C3 is nowhere close to its competitors. Sure, the French manufacturer can justify this by saying that features can be added at any time, but first impressions matter a lot in the Indian market. We've seen below average cars with great features do unimaginable volumes and we've also seen great cars that lack features just tank on arrival. That's just how the Indian market is.

The only noteworthy feature in the C3 is the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. No matter the segment, people have come to expect some basic features from a car, especially in its top-end variant. Here are some of the basic features that should've been included in the C3 - alloy wheels, projector headlamps, rear window wiper, rear defogger, request sensor on front doors, engine start/stop button, manual / auto-dimming IRVM, electric adjustment for ORVMs, climate control, reversing camera, adjustable front and rear headrests, better digital instrument cluster with tachometer, grab handle for the front passenger side, a boot lamp and an audible warning when reverse gear is engaged. Some of the noteworthy features that the competitors offer include stuff like wireless charging, 360-degree cameras, drive modes, a fully digital instrument cluster, hill start assist, traction control, LED projector headlamps, rear air-con vents, cruise control, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.

Audio System & Sound Quality



The 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with 4 speakers is offered only on the Feel variant. The two tweeter slots on the A-pillars are blank for now. Citroen might fill them later. The touchscreen gets wireless Android Auto and Apple Carplay connectivity and it's pretty seamless to connect. In terms of usability, the touchscreen is very responsive and doesn't have lag. Even the display is crisp and the colour scheme is pleasant.

Listening to music on the 4-speaker system is just about alright. The sound quality is average and very bass-heavy. The vocals aren't very clear and the system is in dire need of the tweeters for that added bit of clarity.

Rear Passengers



Rear Seat Comfort & Space



The rear doors open wide and the higher ride height helps ingress & egress. There's a good amount of space on offer and I (5'10") could sit behind my driving position comfortably. There's a decent amount of legroom and headroom. Vid6639 (6'1") had just enough space to sit behind his driving position. The cabin's width is limited and good for two adults and a child at best. Seating 3 healthy adults will be tight.

The backrest is slightly upright, but not set at an uncomfortable angle. Just like the front seats, the rear seat cushioning is also softer in the middle and slightly firm towards the ends. However, the bench is pretty much flat and there are no contours to give you that additional side support. The under-thigh support is good though. Fixed headrests are uncomfortable for taller passengers as the headrests poke the nape area. There's no center armrest, nor do you get rear air-con vents. You do, however, get two USB charging ports.

Boot Space



The C3 has a boot space of 315 liters. While it is useable and sufficient for a family outing, it must be remembered that it is among the smallest in its segment. For reference, the Tata Punch has a boot space of 366 liters, Nissan Magnite 336 litres and the Renault Kiger has a massive 405-liter boot. You get two bag hooks with a maximum load capacity of 3 kg, but, there's no boot lamp provided.

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2022 at 12:05.
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Driving the Citroen C3 1.2L Turbo-Petrol MT


1.2L turbo-petrol engine makes 109 BHP @ 5,500 rpm and 190 Nm @ 1,750 rpm:


The C3 is powered by a 1.2L turbo-petrol engine belonging to Citroen's EB family of engines. This straight 3-cylinder unit is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and puts out a strong 109 BHP and 190 Nm. These numbers are easily the best in the segment and when you consider the car's kerb weight of 1,035 kg, the power-to-weight ratio & torque-to-weight ratio are a whopping 105 BHP/ton & 184 Nm/ton. To put these figures into perspective, it's higher than the Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo Petrol (101 BHP/ton & 176 Nm/ton), which is a very quick hatchback. So, when we describe this C3 turbo-petrol as a fun-to-drive car, we really mean it.

Start the engine by pressing the clutch and turning the key. The C3 moves off the line smoothly. Throttle response is good too. Driving about at city speeds, the car feels smooth despite the high power output. Good driveability is the key here and the C3 clears the second gear speed breaker test easily. What you need to be careful of is the anti-stall feature here. While this is a good feature to have, drop your speed too low for a speed breaker in 2nd gear and the car will accelerate to keep the engine from stalling. This caught us off-guard on a couple of instances. Turbo lag is well masked and you don't feel that the car struggling at low revs. Given the high torque produced by this motor and the fact that peak torque comes in early @ 1,750 rpm, you have a good bottom end as well as a punchy mid-range. This means you can actually get away with being in higher gear at low speed. We were on a steepish incline in 3rd gear with speedometer reading ~25 km/h and on pressing the accelerator, the car got up to speed without even a hint of getting bogged down. This turbo-petrol is a really strong performer. Bury the throttle and you will love the way this car lunges forward when the turbo kicks in. The second and third gears are tall enough for you to nip through the city traffic quickly. All this combined with a small footprint and light steering makes the C3 very nimble to drive around in the city.

Out on the highway, the C3's performance remains strong. This is where you can use the mid-range very well. You'll be surprised how easy it is to overtake on the highways with this turbo-petrol engine. If you have the budget, this is definitely the engine to choose over the naturally aspirated one. However, while the engine has a good bottom end and punchy mid-range, like most turbo-petrols, the power dies down in the top end. The gear ratios are spread out nicely for you to use the powerband efficiently. You can push the car in 3rd or 4th gears when in the mood for some fun or just slot it into 6th and cruise comfortably at 100-120 km/h. Shift down to 5th for a comfortable overtake or to 4th for a quick one. It's too bad the C3's instrument cluster doesn't have a tachometer, and you will be dependent on the engine sound for your shifts. But spend some time with the car and you will be able to enjoy this pocket rocket thoroughly. The accelerator pedal needs a special mention for its fine tuning. It has a progressive feel to it and isn't snappy, which allows you to drive smoothly.

The 6-speed manual transmission is slick to operate and much nicer than the notchy Renault-Nissan 5-speed unit. We appreciate the fact that Citroen gave a different gearbox for this turbo-petrol and did not use the 5-speed MT from the naturally aspirated variant. This gearbox compliments the engine very well and just elevates the driving experience multifold. The throws are smooth and sure-slotting. Vid6639 especially liked its nice, faint and reassuring audible click when shifting. Moving through the gears is a pleasant experience, but we noticed a whine in the 2nd gear. It's not present in any other gear. While most people won't notice it, keen eared BHPians surely will. The clutch is light and the travel range isn't too long, but we found the bite point to be a bit too low, which means the car takes off as soon as you start lifting your foot off the clutch.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)



At idle, the turbo petrol is surprisingly silent and the typical 3-cylinder vibrations are masked quite well. There's not much noise too and the cabin is pretty silent. While driving around calmly, the engine sound doesn't intrude into the cabin. However, revv the engine hard and you'll hear the engine a lot more in the cabin. Unfortunately, the engine note is not something enthusiasts or regular folk will like. It sounds more strained than sporty at high revs, which is sad as this motor likes being revved hard. At highway speeds, wind noise is kept at a minimum, but road noise and tyre noise does creep into the cabin.

Mileage & Fuel Economy



As we are already aware, turbo-petrols are sensitive to throttle input and you will be visiting the fuel station more often if you have a heavy foot. But drive sedately and you should see some acceptable FE figures. The C3 turbo-petrol's ARAI-certified fuel efficiency is 19.4 km/l which is at par with the competition.

The turbocharger is placed on the front of the engine and you also have a cold air intake:


Vertically mounted intercooler is placed next to the radiator:


The bonnet gets insulation underneath and helps keep the noise levels low:


Driving the Citroen C3 1.2L Petrol MT


The 1.2L naturally aspirated petrol engine makes 81 BHP @ 5,750 rpm and 115 Nm @ 3,750 rpm:


While the turbo-petrol engine is for people who enjoy performance, the naturally aspirated unit is for those who are conscious of the price and fuel efficiency. The C3's naturally aspirated engine also belongs to the same EB family of Citroen engines and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The powertrain puts out a decent 81 BHP and 115. These numbers are very much comparable to the 1.2L Tata Punch (85 BHP & 113 Nm).

Start moving and you will realise that the city driveablity is good and the car feels very user-friendly at slow speeds. The highlight of this engine is its driveability and not the power on tap. You have enough grunt at the lower end of the power band to move about in the city comfortably. Going over a speed breaker in 2nd gear isn't an issue at all. Given the relaxed nature of the engine, I found myself upshifting to higher gears subconsciously, to extract more fuel efficiency on the narrow roads of Goa. Although relaxed, you will get around in the city comfortably with few gear changes. Sedate drivers will appreciate this motor very much. If you do need to close a gap in traffic or make a quick overtake, you will have to drop down a gear or two and the C3 will get by just fine. In a broader perspective, the performance is very much acceptable in the city, where you would be driving at under 80 km/h.

The average performance of this engine is evident on the highways as well. It takes its own sweet time to reach triple digit speeds and beyond 100 km/h, there's not much to extract from the engine. Cruising at 100 km/h is where the engine is in its comfort zone. Mid range performance isn't bad, but just about satisfactory. But unlike the turbo-petrol, the power doesn't taper off at the top-end. Power delivery is quite linear. Do note that while cruising, overtaking another car that's doing 90-100 km/h will take some planning. What's more, with a car full of passengers and luggage, this will be even more difficult. You will definitely miss the turbo.

So, all in all, this engine is best suited for sedate driving. If you really want to extract some performance from it, you will have to be in the power band which, to be honest, is narrow and in the upper reaches of the rev range. This means that you will really need to rev the engine hard. That will lead to the engine noise in the cabin getting too loud (louder than the turbo-petrol) and you'll find yourself easing up on the throttle just to avoid listening to the strained engine note.

The 5-speed manual transmission is way different than the 6-speed unit of the turbo-petrol. It's not just the missing 6th gear, it's the shifts as well. There's a notchiness in the gearbox and while the gates are well-defined, it's not as sure-slotting as the 6-speed MT. Even the shifts aren't as smooth and it just doesn't feel that great to use. The clutch is light and very similar to the turbo-petrol car.

Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)



The 3-cylinder characteristics of this engine are very much pronounced here. Compared to the turbo-petrol engine, the noise is pretty much the same at low revs. But since naturally aspirated engines usually have higher redline than turbo-petrols, they get louder too.

Do note that the engine mounts are different for both engines, so the vibrations on the naturally aspirated engine are felt more in the cabin. At idle itself, you can feel the vibrations on the steering wheel, gear lever and the pedals as well.

Mileage & Fuel Economy



The ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of the naturally aspirated 1.2L engine is 19.8 km/l, which is just 0.4 km/l more than the turbo-petrol. To be honest, that's not much of a gain for the sacrifice you will make in terms of the performance.

There's a lot of free space around the engine. The naturally aspirated engine also uses a smaller battery in comparison with the turbo petrol and gets a cold air intake too:


Suspension



Ride Comfort



The C3 comes with a McPherson strut suspension at the front and a twist-beam suspension with coil springs at the rear. Right off the bat, this is a very likeable suspension tune. There's a hint of stiffness in it, but overall the setup is very compliant. The ride over small potholes and uneven roads in the city is pretty good. The C3 dissipates shocks very evenly over the front and rear which gives you a feeling of gliding over the bad roads. Moreover, the suspension works silently too when going over bumps. Large potholes do register themselves in the cabin, but the C3 handles them well. Overall the ride quality is very absorbent.

The C3 rides on 15-inch wheels with 196/65 section tyres and the recommended tyre pressure is 32 PSI. You won't really find the need to lower it down as the car rides well in the city and is pretty good on the highways too.

Handling & Dynamics



This is where the C3 springs a pleasant surprise. With most of the recent cars being either too stiff or too soft, a good all-round suspension setup is like a breath of fresh air. The French sure know a thing or two about tuning the suspension just right. Straight-line stability is good for a car in this segment. The passengers will be relaxed and probably won't even know that you're cruising at 120 km/h.

The car holds its line nicely in long curves and body roll is well controlled too. Hit an unexpected expansion joint on the curve and the C3 doesn't get unsettled easily. Start pushing the car on twisty roads and you will appreciate the balance of the chassis. The turn-in is sharp and there is little understeer. With the turbo petrol under the hood, you can really enjoy the car with this suspension. Changing directions from one corner to the other also doesn't unsettle the car and the transition is pretty smooth. I found myself carrying about 10-15 km/h more speed into corners on the same stretch of road in Goa compared to the Renault Kiger last year. There's just more confidence that you get in the C3 while truly attacking the corners. The 195/65 R15 Ceat tyres will probably be the only thing that will hold you back as they struggle for grip in tight corners. That said, they work just fine with the naturally aspirated engine. Turbo-petrol owners should definitely upsize.



Steering



The C3's electric power steering is a very user-friendly unit. It's light in the city and most owners will appreciate that. The compact dimensions of the car, light steering and a tight turning radius of 4.98 metres make the C3 very easy to drive in the city. While it does weigh up as you gain speed, we'd have liked it to be more hefty as it still feels light while cruising at 100 km/h on the highway.

Enthusiasts won't like the disconnected feeling of the steering and the vagueness in the centre. There's a peculiar behaviour of this steering wheel when you are taking a bend that requires additional steering input mid-corner. The steering is light on the turn-in and when you start increasing the steering input for the second part of the corner, the resistance increases! We'd have liked the steering to be more consistent, which translates to a more predictive drive through the corners.

Braking



The C3 is equipped with disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The performance is as expected and the car comes to a halt without much drama. The pedal feel is very progressive and smooth. Interestingly we were told that the braking setup on the turbo-petrol was beefed up to handle the additional power (i.e. bigger disc, drum and booster). However, we didn't feel that much of a difference in terms of braking feel and visually as well, the size of components looked pretty much the same.

Niggles & Problems



As a brand, Citroen isn't particularly known for reliability. Google it up and you'll see several reports from UK & Europe that reliability can be patchy. In case of the C3, about 90% of the component suppliers are within 50 km of the vehicle assembly factory. The naturally aspirated engine is built from scratch while the turbo-petrol is currently just assembled in India. Citroen plans to localise the turbo-petrol as well soon. So, by the looks of it, and given some time, the components should be readily available across India. Even aftermarket parts will soon start making their way into the market. Hence with the high level of localisation, the component availability shouldn't be an issue if everything goes well according to Citroen's plan for all the problems that might arise in the C3. It'll be interesting to see how Citroen handles the issues on the first batch of cars and thereon. As a buyer, get the maximum extended warranty coverage without even giving it a second thought.

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2022 at 12:06.
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Citroen C3 Exterior Images


The C3 doesn't waver too far from Citroen's traditional design language. It's unique and flamboyant in a very French way, but still manages to look good in the conventional sense:


Comparatively subtle rear design. The orange accents, however, keep things interesting. The rear does resemble a hatchback slightly, but the black cladding at the bottom gives the illusion of height:


The C3 measures 3,981 mm in length, 1,733 mm (without mirrors) in width and 1,604 mm in height (with roof rails) with a wheelbase of 2,540 mm. There's a good amount of cladding on the door and wheel arches to give the car an SUV-like look:


The car looks very good in person. With all the creases, it doesn't look boring at all:


Overall build quality is satisfactory and while the panel gaps are mostly consistent, finishing in certain areas could've been better:


The double Chevron logo is finished in chrome and looks bold. You might notice people on the road trying to figure out which company this car belongs to:


The logo extends into LED DRLs on either side. The top LED also houses the turn indicator and the bottom one extends into the headlamp pod. No projector setup here. The simple halogen unit feels very basic:


Nice detailing at the end of the LED DRL strip:


The split front grille with an air dam at the bottom. The silver faux skid plate-like is a nice touch:


Halogen fog lamps get black housings with orange inserts. While this treatment looks nice and funky, on our test car, the inserts were loosely fitted. Even the fog lamps were moving around a lot in their place, i.e. they didn't feel very secure:


No underbody protection is offered as standard. You can get engine protection as an accessory and given our conditions, we recommend getting it:


Two prominent creases on the bonnet give a muscular look to the car. Check out the fender design - looks super funky, but repairing a simple fender bender is going to be a huge pain for sure. Workshops will be pushing for replacing the fender rather than denting and repairing it for sure:


Turn-indicators are basic fender lights:


ORVM covers match the roof. They can be either Zesty Orange that you see here or the Platinum Grey:


Flap-type door handles look super outdated. The keyhole is located on the door rather than on the door handle:


Fake air vent-like insert on the front doors may not be to everyone's liking:


Overall glass area is sufficient and lets in enough light in the cabin. The rear occupants will surely miss a quarter glass. Blackened pillars look good. C-pillar is thick:


15-inch steel wheels are shod with 195/65 section Ceat SecuraDrive tyres. The dark grey wheel covers don't look bad and the wheels fill the wheel wells quite nicely too:


Here's a look at the alloy wheels that Citroen is offering as an accessory. They look sexy with the Citroen logo hub caps! These should've been offered on the top-end variant:


Drum brakes at the rear. Since the wheelbase is long, there's very little rear overhang:


Front wheel wells get plastic cladding, while the rear wheel wells get rubberised insulation. While NVH levels are acceptable, road noise does creep into the cabin:


There are two roof colours to choose from on the dual-tone variants - Zesty Orange and Platinum Grey. You can also get roof decals in the customization options. Gloss black roof rails are offered only on the Feel variant and the ones on our car weren't secured firmly. Outdated wire antenna sits at the front of the roof section:


No LED elements here, but the tail lamps manage to look really good with their 3D-like design. The big double arrow logo finished in black with the Citroen name at the bottom feels like a way to spread brand awareness. I like how the 'C' in C3 is finished in chrome while the '3' is black with a chrome border:


No rear wiper or even a defogger. This is just ridiculous!


Lower bumper houses reversing sensors and reflectors with orange accents. Look closely and there's a faux skid plate in place here, which is finished in black. If only they'd have painted this in anodized grey like the front, it'd have looked much better:


You get a request sensor for the tailgate and two LED lamps for the number plate. It just feels like Citroen has cut costs at the wrong places and splurged in areas that are less important:


Turbo-petrol variant gets a 'PureTech' badge on the left of the tailgate. Nothing for the naturally aspirated variant:


A French Revolution? The Kiger does feel a tad longer, but the C3 has a longer wheelbase. Just from this picture, you can tell that the C3 is the one that's under-specced here:

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2022 at 12:02.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:01   #5
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Citroen C3 Interior Images


Just like the exterior, the dashboard design is unique and stands out from the crowd:


Flat-bottom steering wheel is nice to hold. It's perfectly sized and the brushed silver element on the bottom spoke looks pretty classy. The right spoke holds buttons to control the volume, activate voice commands, control the telephony features & the source button for music:


Steering is adjustable for height but not reach. Given the positioning of the driver's seat and pedals, we wish it had reach adjustment as well. The adjustment lever is pretty rudimentary:


Stalks are chunky and feel nice to use. Wiper controls are on the left, while the light controls are on the right. A lane change indicator has been provided:


Very basic instrument cluster consists of a digital display with a calculator font that displays information. There's no tachometer, but good to see an engine temperature gauge though:


Press the ugly stalk sticking out of the screen to toggle through the odometer, trip meter, average fuel efficiency and distance to empty. There is also have a gear shift indicator that lets you know if you need to upshift or downshift:


Side air-con vent is very well-designed. Orange insert surrounds the vent that has a piano black border and the vent itself has silver inserts. While this looks great, it doesn't feel very durable due to the materials used:


The fog lamp switch and power window lock button are placed on the right along with a couple of dummies. Notice the manual headlamp leveller below:


Doors open pretty wide. Doorpads have an all-black theme with a white pocket area:


A look at the door latch and the front power window controls. Interestingly, all 4 power windows have auto-down function:


Front door pocket can hold a 1L bottle and some other knick-knacks:


The front seats are super comfy and offer very good lateral as well as under-thigh support. Sadly, no adjustable headrests here. See the central part of the seat that has the patterned fabric? This area has a slightly softer compound than the rest of the seat. This feels super comfortable while driving and we appreciate the attention to detail that has gone into the design of these seats:


A closer look at the contrast orange stitching on the seat where the two compounds are separated:


Driver seat gets height adjustment in the Feel variant:


Pedals are well spaced out, but there is no dead pedal. Note the OBD port above the accelerator and the Kwid-like bonnet release (reference image). Also, for some reason, the accelerator pedal in the turbo-petrol variant is smaller...


...than the accelerator pedal in the naturally aspirated variant (most likely different component suppliers). This longer pedal on the NA variant looks like the Bosch unit that Mahindra uses in its cars (XUV700, XUV300, Bolero etc):


The ORVM is well sized and you get a good view of the action at the back. The sad part is...


...they get manual adjustment! This is something you can expect in an entry-level hatchback, not a crossover:


Another miss is the passenger side grab handle:


The IRVM is of a good size and covers the rear windshield completely. Another sad part is that there's no dimming feature, even a manual flick switch!


Rearward visibility is limited due to thick C-pillars, rear headrests and the small rear windshield:


Center fascia has an uncluttered design with some nicely designed elements:


10-inch touchscreen is easily the highlight of the cabin. Citroen hasn't spared any expense on this unit. It has a high-resolution crisp display with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. You get the usual audio presets to play around with and you can even switch off the display:


4-speaker system is average in terms of performance and is bass-heavy. You'll find slots for tweeters on the A-pillars, but sadly they're blanks as of now. Citroen might fill them later on:


Just like the side air-con vents, the central vents have a very nice design too. The knobs in the middle to adjust the direction of the flow also feel good to operate, but overall the materials used don't feel durable:


Driving around in Goa's hot and humid climate, the air-con unit kept the cabin cool, but there was quite a lot of condensation around the vents:


In our review car, below the touchscreen, there was a slot for a phone holder accessory. However, we were told that this will not be on the cars that will go on sale as they've made changes to the design of the accessory:


No climate control, just a manual HVAC unit. The knobs look very basic and the quality of the plastic isn't that great either. There is a USB port on the left and a 12V socket on the right:


Below, there is a phone tray that holds a 7-inch phone nicely. There's also an open storage area next to the two cupholders:


Sweet-looking gear lever of the turbo-petrol variant with 6 gears. Reverse gear is engaged by pulling the collar upward:


5-speed MT gear lever of the naturally aspirated variant. Orange contrast stitching on the gear boot looks very nice and so does the brushed silver insert at the base:


Both these gear knobs have a rectangle-like design element on the sides. Interestingly, the 5-speed MT gear knob has a hole through it while the 6-speed MT doesn't:


Handbrake is nicely placed next to the gear lever. The C3 has probably one of the lightest handbrakes around. You can literally pull the handbrake with one finger and it will engage so that the car doesn't roll back on not-so-steep inclines:


There's a small storage area below to place coins:


Rear power window switches are placed in between the front seats. They not very easy for the front occupants to operate, and neither are they easy for the rear passengers to reach. There's a cupholder at the end of the center console for the rear passengers to use:


Dotted pattern on the dashboard looks nice and the contrast orange colour adds a bit of freshness to the design. I prefer this orange colour on the dashboard over the other grey option. Check out the horizontal silver platform below. Unfortunately, this is a purely cosmetic element and you cannot place anything here:


Glovebox is decently sized, but there's no illumination or ventilation here. You do get two clips along with a booklet holder on the inside of the lid:


Super basic roof light just has On and Off functions. You don't even get the 'Door' option here! Bluetooth mic placed on the side:


Dual airbags are standard across both variants:


Rear doorpads are also finished in all black. Door pockets can hold a 1L bottle but nothing more than that. No power window buttons here, they're placed in between the front seats:


Interestingly, the rear seats are placed 27 mm higher than the front ones. There’s enough legroom for two average-sized adults to sit behind each other. Both front seats also get seatback pockets to keep stuff:


Here's Vid6639 (6'1") seated behind his driving position. He found the legroom to be just enough for him to be comfortable. The headroom was also just enough for him and anyone taller would find his head brushing against the roof. Shorter folks won't have any problems in the back:


Here's a look at the legroom for Vidyut sitting behind his driving position and with the front seat pushed all the way forward. There's enough space under the front seats as well to keep your feet:


Side occupants get three-point seatbelts and fixed headrests, while the middle passenger has to make do with a lap belt and no headrest. The fixed rear headrests are irritating as they touch the nape area of tall passengers:


No rear air-con vents, but you do get two USB charging points in the middle:


Well-sized parcel tray with a raised border to keep things from rolling onto the rear seat:


Boot space of 315 liters is just about adequate for a family's weekend outing:


You can fold down the rear seats to get more cargo space:


Surprisingly, the boot floor has thick foam, which is of good quality. Most manufacturers cut costs here by using a basic ply-like material:


The spare wheel of the turbo-petrol variant is a 15-inch steel wheel shod with 185/65 section Ceat Stepnee tyre that has a speed limit of 80 km/h. Naturally aspirated variant gets a 14-inch steel wheel with a 165/80 section tyre. Note how the boot floor is fully painted and Citroen hasn't left it by just applying the primer. The steel nut-like thing you see in the centre of the wheel was designed as a centring tool while fitting the spare wheel. But we were told that certain design changes have been made and this tool won't make it to the cars that'll go on sale:


Two baggage hooks in the boot with a maximum load capacity of 3kg:


Tailgate gets partial cladding. Good to see that there's no exposed wiring here:

Last edited by Aditya : 15th June 2022 at 14:08.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:08   #6
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:22   #7
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Wait, so the bread and butter model for which the C5 was overpriced (in the name of creating a "presence") doesn't have:
Quote:
electric ORVM adjustment, IRVM dimmer (not even manual), climate control, rear wiper & defogger, reversing camera, alloy wheels, tachometer
I truly do not understand this approach. Have they not seen what the competition has been offering for the last decade? Is ride comfort going to really wow a customer so much that he will forgive the absence of basic features? Man this is a lazy strategy, if I ever saw one, to enter a very unforgiving segment in a brutally competitive market. Very disappointed. This is going to be treated with the disdain it deserves. Hope the maketing/ product planning geniuses at Citroen don't scratch their heads wondering what went wrong in round 2 of their India debacle.
P.S. I cannot remember the last time a car was launched without even the manual option of dimming the IRVM. Truly a segment/market first.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:23   #8
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Default Re: Citroen C3 Review

This is one weird package, 1.2 turbo with class leading figures but to tacho meter, confusion indeed.

Any car above the Alto segment SHOULD have a true top-end with rear wiper and other goodies thrown in, these days it's all about starting price, no one looks at what the top-end retails before making any judgement, Kia Carens is a good example for this.

P.S I would buy this just for the engine if I was shopping in the segment.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:34   #9
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Lovely and Timely review, thanks to the authors for their efforts!

I feel the C3 makes for a decent choice in this segment. Being a Citroen it is quintessentially French with it's quirks be it the dashboard styling or colours, should make for a unique offering.

I just wish that there was a lit more 'oomph factor' overall which is generally expected from French cars. I hope that Citroen adds more features down the line, for e.g. manually adjustable OVRMs in 2022 is quite sad!

Excited to see how the company plays their cards for this car!
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:43   #10
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Excellent review rated a well deserved 5*. Anti Stall function highlighted, thank you. That 1.2 turbo petrol if priced right would make a great "hot hatch", abroad it comes with a DCT I think. Wonder what automatic transmission they are going to offer if and when they do offer one. That said I think Hyundai has silently withdrawn the Nios 1 ltr Turbo Petrol manual from it's line up as I was browsing yesterday on it's site and in the price list, it's not to be found!
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:55   #11
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Excellent review.
1. C3 being compared to Kiger and Magnite (sub 4m crossover) in review itself is an achievement for this hatchback.
2. Car exterior is beautiful. It has timeless design like European cars.
3. Who needs flashy HID projectors, all LEDs and alloys if perfect Turbo Petrol+GB combination, ride quality and comfort are there, (at budget price)! From the review I think that this car has covered primary aspects and is driver-centric.

Being a hatchback from Euro manufacturer can this car provide 70-80% of good driving dynamics like Punto, Polo?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omkar View Post

Build Quality, Fit & Finish



The C3 uses a Common Modular Platform and while it is built to a cost, it doesn't feel cheap. With a kerb weight in the range of 939 kg to 1,035 kg, the C3 is very close to the Tata Punch. There's decent heft to the doors and the bonnet too. However, the tailgate feels a little too light. The doors have a 3-stage opening & closing action and what I specifically appreciate is the fact that you don't have to bang the doors hard. You can just give them a light push and they will shut properly with a satisfactory thud. Overall, the car feels solid and doesn't feel very flimsy or tinny.
If build quality is good as mentioned above, I think Citroen has done what they could give to Indians at affordable budget price.

Last edited by KPR : 15th June 2022 at 12:57.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:55   #12
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These Europeans simply don't get it. We do not want such cars from new manufacturers.I mean, we have Suzuki, Tata, and Hyundai providing us with an endless supply of made-to-cost products. The real game is now in 10–20 lakh segment.

This one will surely sustain initial success, but it will be for a limited period of time. Soon, sales will decline to a point where Citroën will start packing.
I didn't understand their strategy. A C5 is at the highest end of 5-seater crossovers, and a C3 is at the lowest end. Why couldn't they bring the products to the areas where the battle is currently being waged? Probably too scared!

Also, I am tired of listening to the sentence "India is a price-sensitive market." This makes no sense because every market, or rather, every product on the planet, is price sensitive. Will Americans pay 1 million dollars for a Corolla? Hell No!

I think India is more of a brand/reputation-sensitive market rather than being price-sensitive. We are paying 50 lakhs for a Fortuner but will not pay 35 lakhs for an Alturas.What does that tell you?

So, bring us the real products, Citroën and Co. Otherwise, keep selling these makeshift products but don't dream of establishing a business here.
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Old 15th June 2022, 12:58   #13
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Default Re: Citroen C3 Review

Thats got to be one of the cleanest rear design currently, looks so elegant. Also, lack of wiper, defogger makes it very clean

Screen looks great. But not sure who decided you dont need electric ORVM and at least a manual IRVM night mode. But these days when everyone is loading up features, its a mis-step from Citroen.
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Old 15th June 2022, 13:01   #14
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A ver nice review.

Like others said it’s a confused strategy - “Missing plenty of features = electric ORVM adjustment, IRVM dimmer (not even manual), climate control, rear wiper & defogger, reversing camera, alloy wheels, tachometer”

In general people who buy car in this segment are the ones who are upgrading from budget hatchbacks with lesser features and are looking forward for a feature rich, premium looking CSUV. I feel with these feature cuts, C3 will get perceived as a cheap alternative. Neither Citroen has the brand pull or dealer coverage to pull customers. I am scared this might end up doing < 2k numbers per month. And going by past history of Jeep and Citroen, do not expect the pricing to be very competitive also. So again this might get restricted to few enthusiasts for that 1.2 turbo engines. Unfortunately C3 doesn’t have anything to pull majority of customers from Sonet, Venue, Punch etc. - unless they surprise us with the pricing
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Old 15th June 2022, 13:03   #15
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Default Re: Citroen C3 Review

Engine Gearbox Combo- Check
Ride Quality handling- Check
It has two of the most important characteristics of a car!

I hope Citroen will add more features like dimming IRVM, rear wash & wipe later on and that will make it a top choice in the ~10 Lakhs segment.

Mods: How does it compare to Ignis MT in Engine-GB performance, ride quality and build quality?

Last edited by buntee90 : 15th June 2022 at 13:05.
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