Clever new platform allows new electric supermini to be the same price as a petrol one

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For a car that’s now entering its fourth generation, the Citroën C3 is remarkably short of a noteworthy model in its history. Try Googling the second-generation car, in particular, to see if you can remember it. 

The Citroën C3 is a bit like the Nissan Micra in that regard, a notable name with some real longevity yet not ever having associated itself with a car that’s particularly memorable, despite Citroën having shifted some 5.6 million of them over three generations and 22 years on sale. 

Perhaps no more, because the C3 badge is at last being used on a car with a real story attached: an EV called Citroën ë-C3 with a meaningful of 200 miles that, at £21,990 is on cost parity with electric supermini rivals. Could this be a watershed moment in the evolution of the electric car?

Citroën ë-C3 range at a glance

ë-C3 Plus 111bhp
ë-C3 Max 111bhp



citroen e c3 review 2024 02 panning

Key to that cost parity is the fact the new C3 is underpinned by Stellantis’s new Smart Car platform (no, not that one), which is built to the same philosophy as one used to underpin ultra-low-cost Citroën models sold in emerging markets such as India and Latin America. 

It was created using what is unsympathetically called ‘destructive cost engineering’ – essentially, building an entry-level version of a car that can be scaled up and enhanced, rather than optimising the platform for a more expensive car that can then be stripped back. It’s built differently, its parts are sourced differently (meaning relationships with suppliers are then different) and it results in a far less complicated car. Indeed, in the case of the C3, there are 30% fewer parts than before.

The Smart Car platform was conceived primarily as one for front-wheel-drive EVs, yet it can also be fitted with combustion engines (like Stellantis’s new STLA family of platforms for larger models).

The new C3 has increased in height by 10cm over the old car, the only real dimension change. It may look bigger but the new C3 is almost identical in footprint to the outgoing C3 at a smidge over four metres long and 1.76 metres wide.

It would be wrong to call it a crossover: it’s just a hatchback with more ground clearance and extra head room. Still, the designers speak of giving it ‘SUV codes’ to trick the eye into thinking of it as a crossover with skid plates, roof rails and a horizontal bonnet among those features.

I’m not totally sold on the outside and fear in a couple of years the C3 might end up looking quite anonymous. The Citroën badge is new, which will always attract the eye, and everything is quite boxy and upright yet I don’t see the boldness of the Citroën Oli concept car from 2022 that its maker said inspired it. Let’s come back to this in a year or two to see how well it has aged.


citroen e c3 review 2024 12 dash

Like what’s lurking beneath, the interior is refreshingly simple. There are proper controls for the heating and ventilation, with the 10.25 touchscreen used mainly for music and navigation, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The small steering wheel has a few easy-to-use buttons, too, and then there’s some trickery in the form of a head-up display that actually looks like a normal instrument binnacle seamlessly and cleverly integrated into the very top of the dashboard. A good use of space, and also a more cost-effective solution than a traditional head-up display. 

Next to the interior door handles are little stitched-in tags with messages like ‘be happy’ and ‘be cool’. I'm interested to see how this goes down in certain parts of the country.

Passengers will welcome the space front and rear, with Citroën claiming head room and elbow room that is above class averages. There are lots of clever storage touches including phone pouches in the backrests of the rear seats for rear passengers to use. 

A whopping load lip counts against an otherwise decent 310-litre boot, while the rear bench folds in a 60/40 split. 

The seats are considered noteworthy enough to get their own name - Advanced Comfort Seats - and they get more foam and shoulder support. For a fidgeter like me I did find them comfortable, more so than the already comfy Renault Clio I’ve recently done plenty of miles in. The seats are mounted 10cm higher than the class average for a more SUV-like driving position that is a commanding one for what is a compact car.


citroen e c3 review 2024 25 front dynamic

Two versions of the ë-C3 are offered, one with a 203-mile range from a 44kWh battery and the other with a 124-mile range from a 33kWh battery. Few additional details of the latter model have been confirmed ahead of its 2025 UK launch, but the former uses a 111bhp electric motor to drive the front wheels. 

The batteries' lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry is key to keeping costs down. Cobalt-free LFP units are typically cheaper to produce than other electric car batteries and are longer-lasting, yet they are in turn heavier and the range offered affected more by cold weather.

Wind noise can get up at speed with no powertrain noise to drown it out.

A few years ago LFP was considered quite primitive and a non-starter as a battery technology for electric cars yet such is the pace of development that it is now, according to Citroën CEO Thierry Koskas, “very promising” for the present and future in bringing the cost of EVs down.

This is not an electric car to set your pulse racing. Its acceleration is, rather, in keeping with the rest of the car's easy-going and comfortable brief, and it’s more than nippy enough when you really need it to be from 0-30mph. It feels like at least half of the 0-60mph time of more than 10sec is spent between 45mph and 60mph. Plan overtakes carefully, then, and be happy with a more relaxed motorway cruise.


citroen e c3 review 2024 26 rear dynamic

If the C3 wants to be the most or the best at anything, then it is comfort and ride quality. Advanced Comfort is the marketing name given by Citroën to technologies relating to this, and in the case of the C3 includes both the seats and the suspension.

In the case of the suspension, the hydraulic bump-stops in the suspension now familiar from other recent Citroëns did a good job of filtering out any remaining abrasions on our smooth Austrian test roads. The back axle can behave a bit differently to the front at times yet the cabin remains well isolated from any big bumps. It’s a comfortable car with an easy-going nature.

That description applies to the rest of the dynamic package. This is not a car you buy for its handling prowess, the ë-C3 instead happy to offer plenty of grip and stability while cornering, which is realistically all its target buyers are ever likely to ask for.

Still, one of the ë-C3’s rivals, the Jeep Avenger, proves that small raised electric hatchbacks can handle, although that car also shows the compromise in terms of its ride. Citroën has probably got the balance right, a request for some extra steering feel and dart particularly around the straight-ahead notwithstanding.



citroen e c3 review 2024 01 front tracking

If the £21,990 price of the 203-mile version wasn’t eye-catching enough, Citroën is also offering a sub-£20,000 version with a 124-mile range. The firm will hope buyers consider that version substantially more car than the Dacia Spring, officially Britain’s cheapest EV at £15,000, for little more money. 

Two trims are offered whichever model you go for: Plus and Max. Plus is already so well equipped with all the new features being introduced on the ë-C3 including those seats, the touchscreen infotainment, head-up display and trick suspension that there isn’t any real incentive to go up a level. 

The maximum charging speed is 100kW and 26 minutes is the time quoted to take the battery from 20% to 80%

We would need an extended run on a motorway to make a call on its range, as other Stellantis models have shown a worrying tendency for their predicted range to plummet far more than rival cars in the same conditions. 

Based solely on our test route largely made up of single-carriageway A-roads, you would expect around 160-170 miles between charges, enough to get you by stress-free for the most part yet not the breakthrough in range that there is in cost. It’s worth noting that a heat pump will not be offered on the ë-C3, potentially harming its winter range.


citroen e c3 review 2024 27 front static

The ë-C3 is proudly built to a cost but still with the goal of not being compromised or feeling cheap. And it makes not only a very positive first impression, but a lasting one.

The ethos of the C3 seems to be ‘just enough’, which is much like Dacia in that regard. It doesn’t try to have the most technology, the fanciest materials, the most power or the biggest range, instead offering you what you’ll need and use and make sure it all works properly and is nice to interact with.

Citroën is to be commended for making a car that offers something truly distinctive in the supermini class and at a price we can all get behind. It is not overloaded with unnecessary kit yet never feels cheap and goes its own way dynamically with a strong focus on comfort that’s largely executed.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, autocar.co.uk website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.