While its launch was initially scheduled for 2023, the fourth generation of Citroën C3 (CC21) will finally have to wait until 2024. The argus reveals the secrets of the new chevron city car which aims to compete with Dacia.
Citroën’s best seller for ages, the C3 is a crucial model for the brand. Its current generation, which appeared in 2016, is already six years old. The Chevrons are therefore actively working on its replacement, whose development is not a long calm river. Originally, Carlos Tavares, the boss of the Stellantis group, intended to offer the new Indian C3 all over the world, developed in large part by the Consulting branch of the Tata group. He also wanted the Indian version to directly supply the European market. But Vincent Cobée, who became brand director in January 2020, was able to convince his superior that Europe did not have the same requirements. On the other hand, it is finally the Slovak site of Trnava (which produces the Citroën C3 and Peugeot 208) which was retained. Even if “our” Citroen C3 responds to the same CC21 code as its Indian or Latin American counterparts and is part of the same “Smart Car” program, the engineers were therefore able to revise all of its services upwards.
A small SUV look
This will not prevent this city car from having many points in common with the Brazilian version (see video below), as Laurentis Barria, the manufacturer’s marketing and communication director, recently confirmed: “We were inspired by this new C3 that we are presenting in Brazil to create the new European C3”. Aesthetically, the small SUV profile, way C3 Aircross in reduction, will be identical. Just like the slightly more compact dimensions than those of today, with a length that falls back below the 4 m mark. Contrary to what one might think, the “made in Europe” version will not present a specific aesthetic. Only the front and rear faces will be redesigned for the Old Continent. The most important change, however, is well hidden and was only decided late. While Carlos Tavares had pleaded for the use of the same types of steel as in India, the engineers realized, even without aiming for 5 stars, that this would not at all meet European crash test standards. Especially since the GSR 2 regulations, which will apply to all private vehicles in July 2024, will include more stringent requirements in this area, in addition to imposing many new safety equipment.
Cheaper than the 208 and Corsa
It is therefore the entire structure of this new C3 that needs to be reviewed. What cause some delay. Thus, while the presentation of this fourth generation, and its production launch, was initially expected for the spring of 2023, then in the fall, it will not take place before 2024. It must be said that Citroën does not have the room for error with this vehicle, which must embody its new strategy. Alongside Fiat, the brand is more than ever responsible for ensuring the entry level of the Stellantis group. No more question of going to walk on the flowerbeds of Peugeot or Opel. The quest for savings will certainly go less far than on the Indian or South American C3s, but the platform used in Europe will certainly be similar but improved in terms of safety and performance. It will therefore be a new simplified version of the CMP of Peugeot 208 or Opel Corsa, which will allow this C3 2024 to display lower prices than those of its cousins. A way also to compensate for the disappearance of the small C1, which will have no direct succession.
Two powers for the electric ë-C3
In order to play the card of an accessible price, the new C3 will have specific mechanical elements. Thus, the versions 100% electric ë-C3 will not benefit from the new e-Motors engine (Nidec/PSA), which will land on the DS3, Jeep Avenger and restyled Peugeot e-208 from the start of 2023. Chinese blocks will be used, with tighter costs and more modest power. The ë-C3 Eco will display a power of around 60 kW (82 hp), while the most “muscular” variant will peak at 80 kW (around 109 hp). Remember that the current e-208 and Corsa-e boast 100 kW/136 hp. The batteries will be supplied by the Chinese Svolt (and not CATL), which is building two gigafactories in southern Germany. A location which has the advantage of being fairly close to the Slovakian plant in Trnava. Two capacities are planned: 40 kWh for the Eco version and 50 kWh. On the thermal side, on the other hand, there will only be one possibility left as for the non-European versions: the three-cylinder petrol 1.2 PureTech (in its current Generation 2 version). An engine which will be deprived of light hybridization since the project for a system in position P0 (on the engine front) has been abandoned in favor of the Punch Powertrain e-DCT, too expensive for the Citroën, and which will necessarily be associated with the new 1.2 Generation 3 (with timing chain). In order to avoid degrading its average CO emissions2which drops every year in stages, the brand will bet on the electric versions that Carlos Tavares aims to sell at the price of the thermal.