At last! After long months of hesitation and doubt, Citroën has lifted the veil on the fourth generation of the C3, which will have the heavy responsibility of succeeding a successful third generation, but also of inaugurating the brand's new style and translating Citroën's new positioning, which aims to make electric cars accessible, into series production. What does this new C3 offer? Here are all the answers.
A new silhouette
Citroën has changed its style for this new C3 with the introduction of a new brand logo, which sweeps away the previous stylistic codes. The chevrons stretching up to the headlights are gone, as are the double-decker headlights, and the curvy style has been replaced by a much more sophisticated, highly technical style based on horizontal and vertical lines.
This new C3 is based on the same Smartcar platform as the C3s sold in India and Latin America, although it has been extensively redesigned to meet European safety standards. This new platform requires the new C3 to become a real small crossover, combining the codes of saloon and SUV, in the manner of its C4 and C5 X sisters, Citroën likes to play with automotive codes, which allows the C3 to stand out clearly from the competition in its segment. By adopting a more adventurous look without being a real SUV, the C3 gains 9.3 cm in height for a length and width that remain virtually unchanged (4m01 long by 1m76 wide). This increase in height gives a ground clearance of up to 20 cm (16.7 cm for the electric C3), almost 7 cm more than the current generation, making the new C3 well equipped for the urban jungle. In particular, the seat height has been significantly raised (+ 10 cm), giving passengers a better view of the road and a greater sense of safety. This new automotive architecture, imposed by the introduction of batteries, is not specific to the C3, even if it is the first in its segment, as it will be joined in a few months by a VW ID2 with very similar dimensions, especially in height. By becoming a true small crossover, the new C3 is a perfect successor to the current one, which has already adopted some SUV codes (large wheels, protected bodywork, flat bonnet).
The fourth generation C3 therefore introduces the brand's new style, in particular a new visual signature inspired by the oli concept, made up of two horizontal LED bars and one vertical bar. The new bar, proudly placed on the grille and verticalised, is connected to the headlights by a black band engraved with the Citroën chevrons, visually widening the car. The lighting modules (halogen on You, LED on Max) seem to extend the black grille and visually widen the car. At the bottom, the grille echoes the C4's herringbone grille and is accentuated by a protective ski (on the Max).
The most surprising aspect of the new C3 is its profile, where the silhouette changes radically. However, it retains the customisation option of a two-tone white or black roof (standard on Max), which makes it possible to lighten up the line a little, which is finely sculpted with a few lines that give it a very technical, very meticulous design. With the C3, Citroën is showing that it wants to be accessible and at the same time rewarding, and the C3 is very elaborate, as the wheel arches with the chevrons engraved show.
It is at the rear that the new C3 differs most from the current generation, with the design moving towards tighter lines and away from the curves of the old one. But here too, Citroën has been very careful with the design, with black tinted rear lights that have the same visual signature as the front, which we will find on all Citroëns by 2025, but the lights are very neat, with particularly fine and technological LED bars. In the centre of the tailgate there is also the new logo, identical to that on the front, linking the lights with a black strip on which the brand's chevrons are engraved, as on the lower part of the badge.
In short, the exterior style of this new C3 is much more technical, much more elaborate than the old one, where each element clearly ends with a very technical crease that allows the personality of the car to be asserted without making a ton of it. and above all to show a significant increase in perceived quality. A true crossover, the fourth generation C3 almost becomes an SUV with a height of 1.58m, but benefits from a more rewarding style with some airs of VW T-Cross or Jeep Avenger. If the C3 is undoubtedly an accessible car, Citroën wanted customers to really get value for their money and for the car to remain rewarding, we are far from a low-cost car.
An interior worthy of a new room in the house
It is inside that the surprise is greatest, as we are not far from a car that is accessible and, to be honest, far beyond what we imagined.
Citroën has spared no expense to make its new versatile saloon the queen of comfort, with an interior worthy of your living room. For the first time, the new C3 introduces Citroën's C-Zen Lounge concept, which aims to maximise comfort on board, thanks to the Advanced Comfort seats, standard on all versions, with a new design that we will find on all models. Say goodbye to the capsules and hello to a quilted effect reminiscent of the CX and seats that are more enveloping to provide better support when cornering. But there is no real Citroën comfort without suspension with double hydraulic stops... so Citroën has decided to make them standard on the C3, making it without doubt the most comfortable car in its segment.
The dashboard is in line with the latest Citroëns by being even more horizontal and thinner. The vertical air vents, known from the current C4 or C5, are relayed to ensure excellent visibility in all circumstances. It is a brand innovation combined with a new steering wheel, significantly smaller, which makes it possible to recreate a visible, technological and low-cost head-up view. This new steering wheel is easy to grip and the buttons are always within easy reach.
The dashboard continues with a 10.25-inch screen that seems to float in the middle, marking a demarcation between an upper part of the technical dashboard and a lower part where two pieces of fabric, called Sofa Design, provide warmth and softness to the touch. Note the work done on this dashboard, as we find the chevrons engraved across its entire width. When we discovered the C3, the materials were not yet final, so I can't talk about them, but on those that were installed, there was nothing of a cheap finish and if they were all hard, the assembly looked perfect and the finish was completely up to standard, despite the price being particularly affordable.
The C3 is therefore not a cheap car, as we might have feared, and Citroën proves this by providing it with new details on a production car and, above all, unexpected at this level. The door panels, with large storage compartments in the same light colour as the current C3, have armrests covered in a light leather effect fabric (Max finish) and small pieces of red fabric with inscriptions (Be happy, Feel good,...) on the front and rear doors. So every time a passenger closes the door, the car gives them a positive message. This is the new C3, a happy car that makes people happy.
Electricity for all
The new C3 is first and foremost the new ë-C3, the first 100% electric C3 in Europe, and for the occasion, it comes with a hefty price tag. Citroën has announced a price of less than €25,000, excluding tax incentives, although the C3 is nothing like a discount electric car.
It offers a 113 bhp electric motor, made in France, coupled to a 44 kWh LFP battery (supplied by Svolt) for a range of 320 kilometres (WLTP cycle). Citroën promises a fast charge of 100 Kw, allowing the battery to be recharged from 20 to 80% in just 30 minutes.
Thanks to a kerb weight of 1.4 tonnes in the electric version, the new C3 delivers respectable performances with a 0 to 100 in eleven seconds, which does not make the C3 a sports car but also not a calf like the Dacia Spring which requires almost of 20 seconds on the same exercise. These performances are on a par with those of a Peugeot 208 Puretech 100. To preserve its autonomy, Citroën also limits the top speed to 135 km/h.
With the first European ë-C3 in history, Citroën is breaking new ground and creating the perfect second car for the home, which is at the same time habitable and comfortable, electric with good autonomy and, above all, very accessible. At launch, this electric range will be complemented by a thermal C3 with a single engine. In fact, the brand intends to achieve maximum sales with the ë-C3, which is highly probable, and therefore offers only a Puretech 100 engine with manual gearbox, intended for people who are not yet ready to go fully electric, there will be no diesel.
Priced from €100/month, the ë-C3 will undoubtedly be the best-selling model in the range, in line with the government's desire for social leasing, especially as the fully equipped Max version could be priced below €200/month, making electricity truly accessible to everyone. But Citroën is going even further, announcing the launch in 2025 of a Citroën C3 with a range of 200 km, the price of which has already been announced: €19,990 bonus not deducted, i.e. cheaper than the Dacia Spring.
In spite of these great prices, the new C3 is not a bargain car, neither in its appearance, nor in its attention to detail, nor in its technical specifications. The same goes for the equipment, since the new C3 meets all the expectations of the segment, namely automatic air conditioning, cruise control, speed limiter, emergency braking, lane departure warning and even road sign recognition. It will also be equipped with a rear view camera and reversing radars to detect pedestrians and cyclists in accordance with new European regulations that will come into force in July 2024.
In terms of multimedia systems, there will be no screen on the basic version, but Citroën offers the Smartphone Station, which allows you to turn your phone into the car's multimedia system. Thanks to a special application, users will be able to connect their phone via NFC, allowing them to control it using the buttons on the steering wheel, with the sound coming from the car's speakers. This is a slightly more advanced solution than the one offered by the Dacia Sandero, as you no longer need a USB cable, just an NFC connection. The Max version will offer a 10.25-inch screen equipped with a new multimedia system that allows the wireless transmission of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay via WiFi. This new system uses a widget architecture inspired by smartphones to provide access through virtual shortcuts to the main navigation, phone, radio, applications and media functions.
Finally, the new Citroën C3 will benefit from the advantages of the ë-Routes application, which is the driver's assistant for realistic route management, taking into account the car's consumption in real time. Permanently connected to vehicle data, traffic conditions and the status of charging stations along the route, it ensures optimal control of the journey and provides access to available charging stations to optimise charging and journeys, thus ensuring complete safety for the driver.
Finally, with the new C3, Citroën has invented the ideal second car for the home. Livable, comfortable, electric, accessible and well-equipped, the new C3 perfectly meets the needs of families as a second car, without putting a significant strain on their budget, since with a monthly rental of less than 200 euros, the new electric C3 is very affordable, without compromising what is part of the brand's DNA, namely comfort and style.
Unique, the new C3 is certainly unique on the market, since there is no equivalent currently offered, it competes with the Dacia Spring whose performance is significantly inferior, it also responds to the Sandero, which will find, on its way, a C3 with more style, more equipment, at a price not far removed or even identical. The C3 also competes, in its higher versions, with the Peugeot 208 or the Opel Corsa, but at a lower price of several thousand euros.
Citroën's entry into the multi-purpose saloon market is therefore an unprecedented one, taking Volkswagen and Renault by surprise, both of which are preparing equivalent electric saloons costing around €25,000. We can see that Citroën is going for broke with this new C3, for which it has given itself the means to offer an accessible but rewarding car, with a lot of style, technology and 100% electric, which will allow it to continue the incredible success of the third generation.