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Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

Citroen has been making inroads into the mass-segment car market in the Indian market since last year. After the flagship C5 Aircross, Citroen got the C3 hatchback to the Indian market, the French manufacturer wasted no time and introduced the electrified version of the car to the market. The future is electric after all. While Citroen has not revealed the price of the vehicle, they have mentioned that the bookings will open from tomorrow. We spent some time with the all-new eC3 on a test track in Chennai and this is what we think about the newest electric car in the market.

What is better in Citroen eC3 compared to Tata Tiago EV?

There are a few things that make the all-new eC3 better compared to the Tata Tiago EV. While we did not drive the car in real-world conditions, we could make out a few things about the eC3 that are better than the newly introduced Tata Tiago EV.

  • Boot Space: The eC3 offers a boot space of 315 litres, which is much higher than the 240 litres of boot space offered in the Tiago EV.
  • Spare tyre: The Citroen eC3 offers a full-size tyre in the boot. The Tata Tiago EV only offers a puncture repair kit in the boot.
  • Comfort: Based on the regular C3, which is the most comfortable hatchback in the segment the eC3 remains supremely comfortable. It takes corners at high speed without any body roll.
  • Spacious: The Citroen eC3 is the widest car in the segment, which means that there is a lot of space in the car. The rear seat would take three people quite comfortably.
  • Range: The Citroen eC3 gets a higher battery capacity of 29.2 kWh, which is rated for a 320 km range according to ARAI. The Tiago EV Long Range gets an ARAI-tested range of 315 km.
  • No Wallbox charging: While Tata Tiago EV will require the installation of a wall box charger at home to charge the car, there is no such need for a wall box charger in the Citroen eC3. You can directly plug it into a 15A socket and charge the vehicle.
  • Drive mode selector: The Tata Tiago EV gets a rotary dial that moves freely and does not glow up brightly under the sun. The toggle-type drive mode selector of the Citroen eC3 is much better.

What is better in Tata Tiago EV to Citroen eC3?

  • Looks segregation: While there is no difference in the looks of the Citroen eC3 and the C3 hatchback, Tata has put enough differences that set the Tiago EV apart from the Tiago ICE version.
  • Rear seat under-thigh support: Since the batteries in the eC3 go on the floor, the height of the floor is raised by a bit. This has reduced the under-thigh support in the eC3. The Tata Tiago EV’s batteries go in the boot and under the rear seats.
  • Cruise control: The new Tata Tiago EV gets a cruise control system while there is no such feature available with the eC3.
  • Regenerative braking: Tata Tiago offers three levels of regenerative braking that can be selected manually. Citroen eC3 only offers a single battery regeneration level.
  • Infotainment integration: The Tata Tiago EV gets a smaller 8.0-inch infotainment screen but there is better integration of electric vehicle-related features. While the 10-inch screen of the Citroen eC3 remains exactly the same as the standard hatchback.
  • Battery options: With the Tata Tiago EV, customers can choose two battery options creating an affordable variant for the customers. There is only a single battery option with the eC3.

Citroen eC3: Looks different?

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

A first glance at the car and you will not find any difference in the eC3 compared to the standard version of the B-segment hatchback. The most common change, which is a blanked-off grille is not there and it is possibly because of the air-cooled batteries.  Citroen has also not used any special colour highlights to differentiate the EV version of the hatchback from the regular standard car.

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

It will be difficult for you to differentiate the Citroen eC3 from the standard car. But you can spot the new dual-tone colour, which is exclusive to the eC3 or spot the new badges on the car. There is also a new lid on the right-hand side front fender that opens to reveal the charging port on the car. That’s about all the differences. Even the size and design of the alloy wheels remain the same.

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

Under the car, the ground clearance has reduced slightly. There is a difference of 10mm compared to the standard version of the C3 hatchback. The eC3 offers a ground clearance of 170mm. While we did not drive the car in real-world conditions, 170mm is a massive ground clearance and should not be a problem in the worst road conditions.

Citroen eC3: A new cabin?

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

Not exactly. The cabin also carries forward all the similarities to the standard version of the C3 hatchback. So much so that even the boot space remains the same. That’s a big thing for an EV as most manufacturers put the battery packs in the boot that either reduces the boot space or replaces the spare tyre. The eC3 offers a full-size spare wheel, which is appreciable.

Starting with the rear seat, the all-new eC3 offers nothing less or nothing more compared to the standard version. It is the widest car in the segment, which means there is plenty of shoulder room. Since the battery packs are mounted to the floor, the height of the floor has come by a bit. While it might not be a major change but the under-thigh support feels a little less compared to the standard version of the car. It might be a problem for tall passengers on long journeys. Otherwise, it remains extremely comfortable. There are two fixed headrests and also the power window switches are located in the central console.

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

There is a major difference in the front though. Since it is electric, there is no manual gear lever. Instead, Citroen has put a nice-looking toggle switch that glows up the mode. We really liked the toggle drive modes.

At the front, you still get the small monochrome instrument cluster that shows a lot of information including the battery level and range. You have to use the stick on the instrument cluster to cycle through the information and find the exact percentage of the battery. We missed it on the first chance, which is why we said in the video that we could not find the battery percentage.

The 10-inch instrument remains exactly the same as the standard car. There are no electric vehicle-specific changes done to this instrument cluster. However, Citroen has introduced a new app for both iOS and Android that offers more than 35 features and also gives you a driving score. Sadly, we could test the apps too.

The steering wheel remains the same with blanked-off buttons on the left side and a few buttons to control the telephone and infotainment system on the right-hand side. There is no cruise control on the eC3. Also, the manual climate control system remains the same. There is a lot of space to keep your small items though.

Overall the Citroen eC3 remains well-loaded but to say that we really need to know the price, which will be revealed at a later date.

Citroen eC3: Powerhouse

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

The all-new Citroen eC3 gets a front-mounted electric motor. It generates a maximum power of 57 PS and a peak torque of 143 Nm. There is a separate ECO mode as well but we are not sure how much power it generates in the ECO mode. There is a slight difference though.

The battery pack laid out on the floor is 29.2 kWh. It is an air-cooled Li-Ion battery pack that can deliver a range of 320 km according to ARAI. However, in real-world conditions, the driving range would be somewhere around 200 to 250 km, if you are really careful with the accelerator.

Citroen eC3: How is it to drive?

Citroen eC3 electric hatchback in CarToq’s first drive review: Better than Tiago EV? [Video]

Comfort is the highlight of the Citroen eC3 just like all other Citroen vehicles. It still gets the flying carpet effect. However, we drove the car only on a test track without any potholes. Since the heavy batteries now take up the space on the floor, the centre of gravity is now much lower. It translates into fun driving, especially around the corners. We gunned the Citroen eC3 around the corners at more than 100 km/h and it was full of confidence.

Citroen says that the eC3 can do 0-60 km/h in under 7 seconds. We tested the same and you can watch the video to see how that turned out to be. We also loved how the handling of the eC3 and how the steering weighs up with speed.  Full marks to Citroen for taking care of the handling, stability and comfort in the electric hatchback.

The eC3 gets regenerative braking but you cannot change the level. We might get to see a feature added in the future but currently, it remains a single brake regeneration. It lies somewhere in the middle and you definitely can do one-pedal driving if there is not much traffic around. Also, we could not feel the crawl mode in the eC3 that we were driving. However, Citroen says that it can do 6 km/h of crawl speeds. Since these are pre-production cars, there might be a glitch in the unit that we were driving.

Citroen eC3: Should you buy it?

Citroen eC3 is a great overall package. It is a perfect city car and if there are chargers along a long-distance route, you can definitely take it out to a weekend destination. The only thing that will decide the success of the eC3 is the price, which is likely to be announced in a few weeks’ time. While we hope that Citroen keeps the prices competitive and challenges the Tata Tiago EV long-range, our estimates are that the price of the car will start at around Rs 14 lakh. What do you think about the new Citroen eC3? Do let us know in the comments below.