Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Citroen e-C3 review – the right car at the right time

“The Citroen e-C3 is one of the first affordable mainstream EVs, slotting easily into the lives of those making the switch to electric”

Carbuyer Rating

4.2 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Price
£21,990 - £23,690

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Lots of rear passenger space
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Cheap, harsh interior plastics
  • Slow
  • Mediocre boot space

Verdict – is the Citroen e-C3 a good car?

It’s not the peppiest, most luxurious or most fun-to-drive EV, but the Citroen e-C3 nonetheless represents an important shift in the electric car market towards impressive affordability. It’s the right car at the right time and we think it will do a great job of convincing drivers coming from a petrol or diesel supermini that they can fit an EV into their life, thanks to the e-C3’s low price tag and running costs.

Citroen e-C3 models, specs and alternatives

If the future of motoring really is all-electric, then it’s all well and good releasing countless sophisticated and hi-tech EVs, but what about a small, simple and affordable electric car for the people? Well, that may just be where the Citroen e-C3 comes in – it’s the electric version of the brand’s latest C3 supermini and it costs from just under £22,000.

Advertisement - Article continues below

In terms of affordability, it’s off to a good start, then, because that makes it cheaper than many mid-range petrol-powered superminis. This time around, the Citroen C3 and e-C3 have both got boxier, more SUV-like styling than before, which is also likely to appeal to modern tastes.

When it comes to its electric motor, the Citroen e-C3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that’s sort of the point – it keeps it low-cost and performance figures are on par with what you’d expect of a supermini, rather than being blisteringly quick. Most buyers taking their first foray into EV ownership should find the transition seamless.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The battery is also designed to keep costs down and is fairly small at 44kWh, but that also means the e-C3 is lighter than you might expect. The official range figure is 198 miles, but our time with it over multiple trips put its real-world range in the region of 175 miles, which is pretty close given the discrepancies between rival EVs’ official figures and real-world range. However, the bad news is that there’s no option for a heat pump for the Citroen e-C3, which means colder weather could negatively affect its range.

Another benefit to that small battery is that when it is time to charge up it won’t take you long – a top-up from 20-80% takes around 26 minutes at the e-C3’s maximum 100kW charge speed.

Trim levels

Power options

  • Plus
  • Max
  • 111bhp Single Motor with 44kWh battery 

Range, charging & running costs

“The Citroen e-C3 is priced competitively from the outset, and shouldn’t cost a lot to run thereafter”

While it’s long been the case that EVs are cheaper to run than their petrol-powered counterparts due to the ability to charge at home in off-peak periods, electric cars have tended to cost much more to buy in the first place. The Citroen e-C3, however, is much more affordable to buy than most EVs, so you get the best of both worlds.

Advertisement - Article continues below

From launch, the e-C3 gets a range of 199 miles from its 44kWh battery, which should be adequate for most buyers. Citroen will later release another version sitting below this and costing around £19,000 with a smaller battery and more modest range.
 

Model 

Battery size

Range

Citroen e-C3

44kWh

199 miles

How efficient is the Citroen e-C3 in the real world?

We’ve now tested the Citroen e-C3 in Austria and on UK roads, and by our calculations it managed a range figure closer to 175 miles. That’s not terribly far off the quoted figure, but the lack of an optional heat pump is disappointing, as it means the battery can’t be kept at optimal operating temperatures in the winter, so its range could take a significant hit in the colder months.

What will the Citroen e-C3 cost to insure?

The Citroen e-C3 is yet to get official insurance groups, but bear in mind that electric cars can be more expensive than conventionally-fuelled cars to insure. Its larger sibling, the Citroen e-C4 spans groups 22 and 24, so we’d imagine the e-C3 will sit slightly below this.

Electric motor, drive & performance

“You shouldn’t expect driving thrills in the e-C3, but it’s a very comfortable car to ride in”

Citroen’s ethos has long been to focus on comfort, rather than sportiness or high performance, and the same can be said for the e-C3. It uses the ‘Advanced Comfort’ system that’s been used on many of the brand’s larger models which does a good job of ironing out road imperfections. This, plus the memory foam padded seats makes for a particularly relaxing drive.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The trade-off for all this comfort is that the e-C3 offers very little feeling through the steering wheel. It’s easy enough to drive, but the e-C3 is certainly not a car for those after an engaging drive.

Rather than chasing headline-grabbing performance figures like many other EVs, the e-C3’s electric motor has been engineered with a rather more modest output that’s more akin to the average supermini’s petrol engine in terms of power. That’s no bad thing, though – it has plenty of power and matches what supermini buyers will be used to, while the way the electric motor delivers its performance means it’s more responsive than a petrol or diesel car.

Is the Citroen e-C3 good to drive in town?

The e-C3 is easy to drive in town because, despite its chunky styling and upright appearance, it’s actually no bigger than your average supermini and very easy to manoeuvre. The smoothness of its electric motors and suppleness of the suspension mean its well suited to the stop-start nature of in-town driving, and will soak up the harshness of rough urban roads. One thing to note, however, is that there’s a notable amount of motor whine at lower speeds, so the e-C3 isn’t the most refined EV.

Is the Citroen e-C3 good to drive on long journeys?

The benefit to driving a car with electric motors is that there tends to be more immediate shove from any speed which makes overtaking from a cruise a piece of cake. The e-C3 feels responsive at any speed and there’s no delay to change down a gear like there is with a petrol or diesel car’s manual or automatic gearbox because the e-C3 has no gears. One thing that does let the e-C3 down somewhat is the considerable wind noise that gets into the cabin at speeds above 40mph.

Is the Citroen e-C3 good to drive on B-roads?

Enthusiastic drivers will probably be disappointed behind the wheel of the Citroen e-C3 as it’s not been designed with B-road blasts in mind. Vague steering and slow performance figures mean the e-C3 is far from thrilling, but if comfort is on your checklist then we think you’ll be impressed.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

 

Model 

Power

0-62mph

Top speed

Citroen e-C3 

111bhp

11 seconds

84mph

Carbuyer notes

“On the road, the e-C3 feels like you hope a Citroen would. Rather than chasing sporty handling, the focus here is on comfort.” Alex Ingram, chief reviewer

Interior & comfort 

“Cost-cutting is evident inside the e-C3, but it’s got everything you could conceivably need”

The Citroen e-C3 shares its interior with the standard C3, and it’s a pretty minimalist affair. Of course, this is a budget model, so don’t go expecting an upmarket finish. It’s unashamedly basic, and you are surrounded by harsh, cheap plastics, but in terms of functionality, we think it’s effective. Some touches, such as the fabric trims on the dash and other textured materials, help to lift it a little and it doesn’t feel as basic as you might expect.

Citroen has even managed to add in some quirkiness by way of a small opening on the dash ahead of the driver which displays the speed and battery charge level. Elsewhere there are physical controls for the climate control – while that may seem old-hat, we quite appreciate them for their improved simplicity and usability compared to touchscreen-based controls.

Is the Citroen e-C3’s infotainment and navigation system easy to use?

There are better infotainment systems out there, but Citroen’s 10.25-inch touchscreen is still fine, and we found it easy enough to use, though it could be a little brighter. Importantly, everything is laid out where you’d expect it to be, so anyone can jump in and use the system without major issues.

Is the Citroen e-C3 well equipped?

Unlike the standard C3 which starts in You! trim, the electric e-C3 starts from the trim level above this, called Plus. That means that while you get a smartphone holder in entry-level C3s, the 10.25-inch infotainment screen is standard in the e-C3. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, powered and heated side mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, rear parking sensors and LED headlights. You can’t really say that the e-C3 is particularly well equipped, but keep in mind the price you’re paying for an EV and it seems reasonable, plus the only real omissions are things you can live without.

What options should you choose on the Citroen e-C3?

The Citroen e-C3 is designed to be budget-friendly and as a result there’s not much by way of an options list, with everything thrown into the trim levels, conceivably to keep manufacturing simpler and cheaper. We do wish there was the option of a heat pump to preserve range by efficiently warming the cabin and battery in colder weather, however.

Key features

Plus

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Cruise control
  • Rear parking sensors
  • LED headlights
  • Two-tone paint with a contrasting roof
  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Powered and heated side mirrors

Max

(Plus plus…)

  • LED headlights and tail-lights
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Climate control
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Reversing camera
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated windscreen
  • Electric rear windows

Practicality & boot space

“For a car of its size, the e-C3 boasts lots of interior space, but the boot could be bigger”

While its footprint is similar to that of other superminis, the Citroen e-C3 is taller and more upright, allowing for a shape that slightly blurs the boundaries between supermini and small SUV. The result is a particularly roomy interior, especially in the back where there’s plenty of headroom and enough legroom to stretch out for a supermini. In fact, the e-C3 even holds its own against rivals from the class above for rear seat space.

Size comparison

Model 

Length

Width

Height

Citroen e-C3

4,015mm

1,755mm

1,577mm

Vauxhall Corsa Electric

4,060mm

1,765mm

1,433mm

Dacia Spring

3,734mm

1,579mm

1,516mm

Peugeot E-208

4,055mm

1,765mm

1,430mm

Does the Citroen e-C3 have a big boot?

While Citroen has done a great job in terms of rear passenger space, the compromise is a mediocre-sized boot that won’t be winning any awards. With 310 litres of space it’s not bad, but it does have a high loading lip which could make getting heavier items in and out more difficult. That said, it’s still quite a bit bigger than the boot of a Vauxhall Corsa, and just slightly larger than that of the Dacia Spring, but petrol-powered superminis like the Skoda Fabia offer much more boot space, and Citroen hasn’t included any useful storage solutions or even an adjustable boot floor, so it’s very basic.

Boot space comparison

Model 

Boot space

Citroen e-C3

310 litres

Vauxhall Corsa Electric

267 litres

Dacia Spring

308 litres

Skoda Fabia

380 litres

Reliability & safety

0
“Citroen performs well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, though it’s yet to be seen how the e-C3 performs for safety”

Citroen tends to fare well in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, and the brand came in a respectable 11th place out of 32 manufacturers in 2023. Citroen is one of many car brands under the Stellantis umbrella but proves to be the second-most reliable, with just 14% of owners reporting an issue with their car in the first year, just behind Fiat with 12%.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

While the e-C3 is too new to have featured on rankings of the best models according to buyers, the previous-generation C3 came in an impressive 17th place out of the top 50 models in 2024, so the brand will be hoping to do even better with the latest version and this, its electric counterpart, the e-C3.
 

How safe is the Citroen e-C3?

The Citroen C3 or e-C3 haven’t been tested by Euro NCAP yet, so it’s hard to say how it will perform. The e-C3 does get traffic-sign recognition, lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking technology as standard, as well as cruise control and a coffee-break and driver attention alert system, so it’s got some safety acumen.

What are the Citroen e-C3 service intervals?

Citroen generally advises owners to get their electric cars serviced every 24 months or 16,000 miles, whichever comes first. This can vary depending on the model, though, so make sure to check with your dealer to be completely sure.

What is the warranty on the Citroen e-C3?

While many rival brands are changing their warranties to make them more competitive, Citroen’s is a relatively traditional three-year/unlimited mileage warranty. That used to be the industry standard, but now other budget brands like Dacia are offering a seven-year/75,000-mile warranty so long as you get your car serviced annually at an official dealership.

Should you buy a Citroen e-C3?

The Citroen e-C3 is by no means the quickest, most luxurious or stylish EV, but it’s refreshing to see a car brand offering a genuinely cheap electric car with all you need and nothing more. The e-C3 is a timely arrival for this reason, and while it may not offer headline-grabbing performance or range figures, Citroen has given the e-C3 enough punch to ensure traditional supermini owners will find the transition to an EV painless.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

If you’re looking at the Citroen e-C3 as your entryway into EV ownership, just be aware that cost-cutting is evident inside where there are lots of cheap, harsh plastics, and you won’t get a boot that’s quite as big as those offered by some petrol-powered rivals, although rear passengers will feel surprisingly comfortable.

Citroen has never really been about engaging driving feel, either, and as a result the e-C3 does feel quite numb to drive. On the flip side, it offers a very supple ride that will cope well on pothole-ridden British roads.

It’s by no means perfect, but the Citroen e-C3 makes a very compelling case for itself as an affordable electric car, and many buyers looking to make the transition to more sustainable motoring should have it on their shopping list.

What is the Carbuyer pick of the Citroen e-C3 range?

The e-C3 is better equipped than the petrol-powered C3 straight off the bat because it starts from mid-range Plus trim. Looking at Plus and top-spec Max on paper, just £1,700 more gets you a reversing camera, heated front seats, heated steering wheel and wireless smartphone charging, not to mention electric rear windows, so we’d be inclined to spring for the top model – you’ll thank yourself for it later.

Citroen e-C3 alternatives

The small electric car market is rapidly developing and it seems as though every month there’s a brand announcing a new, affordable EV, but main rivals include the Dacia Spring, while there are lots of frugal hybrid and petrol superminis that make a case for themselves.

How we tested the Citroen e-C3

We’ve driven a left-hand drive version of the e-C3 in both Austria and the UK.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    83kW Plus 44kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £21,990

Most Economical

  • Name
    83kW Plus 44kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £21,990

Fastest

  • Name
    83kW Plus 44kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £21,990

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Dacia Spring review – Britain’s cheapest new EV
Dacia Spring facelift front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
12 Jul 2024

Dacia Spring review – Britain’s cheapest new EV

New MG Cyber GTS Concept reimagines the Cyberster as a stunning hardtop coupe
MG Cyber GTS Concept rear quarter
News
11 Jul 2024

New MG Cyber GTS Concept reimagines the Cyberster as a stunning hardtop coupe

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV
Ford Capri front quarter
News
10 Jul 2024

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV

Volkswagen ID.7 has the longest range in its class thanks to new battery
Volkswagen ID7 Pro S Match
News
8 Jul 2024

Volkswagen ID.7 has the longest range in its class thanks to new battery

Have You Considered

Suzuki Swift review – an affordable mild-hybrid supermini
Suzuki Swift UK
In-depth reviews
28 Jun 2024

Suzuki Swift review – an affordable mild-hybrid supermini

MINI Cooper review – cheeky and fun as ever, but a harsh ride
MINI Cooper front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
30 May 2024

MINI Cooper review – cheeky and fun as ever, but a harsh ride

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
5 Jul 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV
Ford Capri front quarter
News
10 Jul 2024

Ford Capri returns! Coupe reborn as new all-electric SUV

New MG HS revealed as a bargain plug-in hybrid SUV
New MG HS front quarter
News
11 Jul 2024

New MG HS revealed as a bargain plug-in hybrid SUV

More on e-C3

The 10 best hatchbacks to buy in 2024
Best hatchbacks
Best cars
3 Jul 2024

The 10 best hatchbacks to buy in 2024

Hatchbacks are the ideal car for many drivers, with plentiful interior and boot space packaged in a small footprint – these are the best
Citroen e-C3 crowned Britain’s best new car
Citroen C3
News
3 Jul 2024

Citroen e-C3 crowned Britain’s best new car

The judges have voted and the winners are in for the 2024 Auto Express Car of the Year Awards

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024