To replace its best-seller, Citroën has chosen revolution rather than evolution. The challenge: to allow the C3 to remain in the lead pack and to offer an electric offer accessible to as many people as possible.
Does she have the shoulders to succeed? car plus reveals all about this future star.
Aith its curves, the current Citroën C3 pleases.
In the first half of 2023, it remains the fourth best-selling model in France, even though it is almost 7 years old. Also, at the time of sketching the fourth opus, the designers found themselves faced with a dilemma: should it be necessary, following the example of what is practiced, for example, by Volkswagen with its Golf, to gently evolve this best -sell? Or is it better to start from a blank page hoping to win over new customers, while trying not to displease those who fell for the model released in 2016? The information in our possession, which enabled our illustrator to produce the images opposite, confirms that the manufacturer has opted for the second option.
Launch : January 2024
Length : 4,01 m
Gasoline engines : 80 and 110 ch
Electric : 80 ch
Rates : from €16,900 *
* Estimation car plus.
Pierre Leclercq, the Belgian boss of the design office, and his team did not, however, start from a blank page. The next European C3 incorporates styling effects (top hat silhouette, creases in the front and rear wings, design of the rear optics, etc.) already seen on the “made in India” C3s and the C3 Aircross sold on the Brazilian market. But there is no question of offering European customers a slightly improved variant of models intended for emerging markets: this C3 is a purely European product which will be manufactured in Trvana (Slovakia) and will not share any visible element with its cousins.
Thus, the future C3 will be the first production model to display the brand’s new logo. In addition, its face abandons double-level lighting in favor of C-shaped optics, announced by the Oli concept car of 2022.
A small SUV with character
The next generation of the bestseller will accentuate its SUV aspect. Recipe ?
A more horizontal bonnet, a more vertical face. But also more rigid lines and volumes. This will continue with a simplification of the various elements, intended to enhance their impact. Thus, the grille will integrate the daytime LEDs in C. Simple, but striking. The whole will have even more character thanks to the original opposition between the roundness of the wheel arches and the rectangular folds which overhang them.
We also note the abandonment of the Airbumps, these imposing door sill protections that appeared on the C4 Cactus in 2014. This Citroën nevertheless gives itself the air of an SUV with its bonnet almost parallel to the road, the imposing raw plastic elements on the shields and wheel arches, the vertical tailgate and the contours of its side glass surfaces, identical to those of the C5 Aircross. However, there is no question of all-wheel drive, or even increased ground clearance. Moreover, despite a rapidly growing height, the C3 will retain a footprint close to that of the current one with 1 cm more length (4.01 m) and a similar width. Despite this, roominess and trunk volume will be improved.
Technically, this Citroën will be up to date by adopting the CMP platform of the Peugeot 208. A basis that will allow it to be available in an electric variant. If the arrival of the 136 and 156 hp engines of the Sochaux cousin under the hood of this Citroën is far from certain, it is because the brand wants to make it the famous electric car at 100 €/month, announced by Emmanuel Macron. To achieve this, the C3 will use a block of around 80 hp, coupled to a 40 kWh battery. Thus motorized, the one which will be called ë-C3 is promised at less than 25,000 € (before deduction of the ecological bonus) and for more than 300 km of autonomy. Enough to put sticks in the rims of the Dacia Spring which, even with its new 65 hp engine, is still sorely lacking in versatility. It is also the electric C3 which will be presented first, from October, before hitting the showrooms in January 2024.
To guarantee a call price that we estimate to be less than €17,000, Citroën will offer two petrol engines, evolutions of the current 1.2 PureTech, equipped with micro-hybridization and rid of the so problematic submerged timing belt. We expect a version with (110 hp) or without turbo (80 hp). But, as for the restyled Peugeot 208, there is no longer any question of diesel.
Inside, the designers have also discarded the legacy of the current C3. The dashboard will be very sober with, facing the driver, a simple digital display, placed just below the windshield, solely dedicated to the speed and gear ratio engaged. Similar to Tesla, all other information will be available on the central 10”/25.4 cm tablet, which comes standard across the range. Only the air conditioning will be entitled to physical controls, positioned just below this screen, to the great benefit of ergonomics. Below, there is a large storage area running across the entire width of the dashboard.
The future C3 will be keen to improve its price/equipment ratio, while being more profitable for the manufacturer. The range will therefore be reduced compared to the current one with only three levels of finishes, each of which can receive a maximum of five options, including metallic paint. The commercial policy will also be inspired by Tesla, since Citroën wants to set up “net” prices, understand without discount. Ambitious !
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