The French carmaker Citroen entered the Indian car market last year with its global flagship SUV C5. The C5 was the best-looking premium SUV in the country along with its fun and super comfortable drive. The company also announced that it will roll out its mass-market car in 2022. As promised, Citroen unwrapped the covers of its second car C3 in Goa for the media drive.
According to Citroen the C3 has been tested for almost several hundred thousand km and tweaked to suit the Indian conditions. Citroen C3 is a 90% 'Make in India' product. By its looks, we feel it should definitely give tough competition to the cars that are in the segment. I flew all the way to Goa to drive the C3 which was beautiful both the car and the beach city.
What about the Citroen C3? Outlook? Crossover SUV? hatchback?
Citroen doesn't like being called a hatchback. Citroen calls it a hatchback with an SUV twist. The reality is; Rumors of the SUV are everywhere… no.. the car is all over the place. Adapted from Citroen's C5 Aircross, it's ready in a C Cubed program.
In that slim chrome grill that runs the length of the car, the triangular logo of Citroen is awesome! They have integrated the headlight in a slim way. These are halogen lamps. Above the headlight is a split LED DRL. It is not available in the low variant. Underneath the grille, there is also a similar rectangular grill pattern. Air dam below. There were orange accents throughout the car.
Ditto for snow lights; There was an orange-coloured housing. Likewise, orange housing for the fake air vent on the side of the car. Rear side and bottom lights; The orange effect on the wing mirrors and the roof of the car was good. They had given a flip-type model for the doors. Pull type is the choice of many people.
Generally, there are many things that make an SUV stand out. They had a diffuser under the bumper and plastic cladding around the car. The bonnet is slightly raised, giving the driver a better view of the exit so you can drive with confidence. I mean, like driving an SUV! It also has a ground clearance of 180 mm.
I have done a small offroad. A sub-compact SUV, the Citroen is longer than the Tata Punch. It is 3.98 meters long. It is slightly less in height and width dimensions. Its wheel sizes were 15 inches. But no alloy wheels. The C3 looks like the older sibling of the C5 Aircross in Outlook.
How about the interior?
Upon entering the car, the impact of the C5 was felt. The split AC vents, the semi-square-half-rounded flat-bottomed steering wheels, and the orange-spotted texture that travels across the dashboard are all premium. (Low variant, only grey.) Most impressive is the 10-inch touch screen infotainment system. This is called info10ment system citron. There are 10 types of features. Android Auto and Apple Car Play can be connected. But, there are no connected car features in C3. The AC dials were in the rotary knob style. The digital display was small and beautiful. But there is no tacho meter.
There is no difference between the turbo and the naturally aspirated engine except for the gear lever in the interior. NA comes with a 5-speed, turbo with 6-speed!. The wing mirrors were able to be adjusted from the inside. But, the whole inside did not adjust. Those who are shorter will sit with the seat well tilted forward. Visibility to them will be low. The quality of the plastic was excellent.
The Citroen is designed to be a practical car. Accumulated storage space and space in each door pocket to keep the water bottle was nice. There was a driveway alone to hold the phone. I first thought it was wireless charging. The front-side seating position is super! Its cushioning is excellent. Will be super for Long Drive!
Citroen officials call Citroen's backspace a pet. That is true; It has the highest wheelbase of 2,540mm in this segment. It's about 40mm taller than any other hatchback. Legroom is not generous; Plenty. Headroom pucks! I searched the back side AC vents, but there are no vents eventually. There was a charging port in that tunnel. It also had a button for power windows. (Bend down and open the door!)
There is no centre armrest in the back seat; No adjustable headrest. If 3 people are seated, space can be a bit of a crisis. However, 2 people can travel freely.
Its boot facility - 315 litres. (Significantly less than all other competitors.) Punch, Magnite - 366 litres; Kiger - 405 litres). If the C3 seats of the Citroen are folded with a strap, the floor becomes as flat as possible. This will increase the space.
C3 Engine Performance
Turbo & Manual?
The C3 is offered with two engine options. Two engines are Turbo and Naturally Aspirated (NA). Both have a 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder engine. There was only a slight vibration. I drove the NA C3 first. Its power is 82 bhp. Torque is 115 Nm. It is okay for this segment. 4bhp less than the Punch. Driving in the city is fine. But I think the turbo lag is noticeable on hilly roads. Only the mid-range seemed to need more power delivery. Top-end is OK! But while revving a 3-cylinder makes a slight noise as if to see and step on it. Though overall, this is superb for a car that weighs 1,374 kg.
It is only in overtaking that you have to think a little bit about reducing the gear and revving. The clutch was also lite weight. This NA engine's gear lever isn't exactly silky smooth; It was a bit notchy. Had a bit of a hard time getting into neutral. However, I flew about 135 km on highways.
I got on the turbo. This is kind of wow! Eventually, you will understand why. Its power is 115bhp and torque is 190 Nm.
The C3 has the best power and torque in this segment. Weighing in at 1,035 kg, the turbo has plenty of power and torque to match the C3. From the moment I set off, I drove with enthusiasm. I expected an automatic gearbox when it came to Turbo. But Citroen had said '6-speed '. Its 6-speed gearbox is not like a regular engine gearbox; Sounds amazing. The bottom and mid-range are well balanced. The refinement of both the engines is amazing!
Its 115 bhp power is also available at 5,500rpm. What I missed this time – is the taco meter. I don't know what rpm it is going. But the engine was clearly pulled. 3 cylinder vibration is slightly noticeable but not much to worry about. Turbo lag seems to be visible in this too. It has a bit of overtaking power which is better than the regular one. That means the drive was entertaining. Citroen claims it's 0-100km/h in 10 seconds. The clutch is also lite weight. It's good. For those looking for fun to drive, please go for the Turbo.
Ride and handling
It features the usual McPherson strut and multi-link suspension setup. But, they have tweaked for rough roads as well. It felt good. I deliberately travelled with 5 people, at low speeds, it is like climbing up and down ridges!. Thanks to its 180mm ground clearance. Braking was also good.
Despite being a longer car than the Punch, its U-turn at the curves was superb as its turning radius was less than 10 meters. Its electric power steering is wow. It turns out to be tight on the highways and light within the city. Its tires are 15 inches, But its section is wider than the Honda City. So, Super Grip!
The C5 Air Cross is called the Flying Carpet Ride when it comes to Ride and Handling. It's almost like that with C3 as well! Not to say great luxury, But its ride and quality did not disappoint. Smooth and Bump Free Ride available.
Can I buy a C3?
The features packed are quite sophisticated, to say the least. Cost-cutting jobs are visible in many places. Mainly reverse camera, tachometer, powered wing mirror, rear AC vent, day and night interior mirror, and adjustable headrest are not integrated.
Otherwise a compact hatchback. C3 has all the necessary features. Its engine refinement and performance are superb. If you like to have a fun drive then go for turbo. There is no need to worry about buying mileage. Citroen claims 19.8km (NA) and 19.4km (turbo) respectively.
Citroen says there are many interesting things about its service as well. Roadside Assistance, Home Delivery Service, Good Warranty. Its ride quality is on another level! If the C3 is priced it competitively say around Rs 7-8 lakh, you can take the C3 and travel happily on any road!