Earlier this week, Citroen finally showcased its first mass market model for India, and it’s the C3 hatchback. Set to launch in the first half of 2022, the C3 will compete in the crowded mid-hatch segment, and has its work cut out. But the company is confident of its chances, and in an interview with Autocar India, Vincent Cobee, global CEO of Citroen, said the C3 is a “sub-4m hatch, with a twist”. He added that the company has a “number of tricks in the bag” and that the hatchback will be differentiated from the crowd.
- Style, size and comfort key highlights
- C3 to miss certain features for aggressive price
Citroen C3’s focus on design, comfort and connectivity
Like all other Citroens, the C3 sports a funky design, which the carmaker hopes will inject some freshness into the segment. With its split headlamp setup, chunky styling cues and bright colours, you won’t take the Citroen for anything else on the market. The company also says that the car is aimed at a younger demographic.
Citroen has also given the model plenty of SUV styling cues, what with its upright stance, raised bonnet line, elevated driver’s position and a ground clearance of 180mm.
Another trait that’s central to the French brand is comfort – something which it promises to deliver with the upcoming product. To that effect, the carmaker says that it has tuned the suspension to offer a cushy ride. The C3 also holds the promise of a roomy cabin, with a length of 3.98m and a substantial 2.54m wheelbase.
Citroen even claims that the hatchback has “among the largest leg room in the segment”. Boot space, meanwhile, is pegged at a respectable 315 litres. The cabin is also decked out with a number of handy storage bins.
Citroen has equipped the C3 with a large, 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And there are enough charging ports in the cabin to keep everyone’s gadgets juiced up. By betting big on connectivity, Citroen seems to have stuck to its product brief of catering to a younger audience.
Citroen C3 prices to be aggressive
While the C3 might be big on space and connectivity, it is pared back in some other areas. For instance, the model unveiled by the company was missing a fair few frills, including powered outside rear view mirrors, automatic climate control and push button start. It was equipped with lift-type door handles, instead of the pull-type ones, and fixed headrests for the front and rear occupants. The rear windscreen also did not show a wiper system and the rear power window switches were located on the center console to be shared with the driver. Thus, the conservative features list does indicate a competitive positioning. Lending further credence, Cobee said India is a very cost sensitive market, adding, “You have to make sure that you are always at the right level of frugality so that the cost of your cars enables a very attractive value proposition for the customers. So, we have done that.”
As such, the C3 can be expected to rival the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Ignis and the upcoming Tata Punch. However, with a larger, almost 4m-long footprint, the Citroen – at least in its higher variants –will potentially also level up with the entry-level trims of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Tata Altroz.
And unlike other crossovers, like the Ford Freestyle,the C3 has been endowed with enough SUV flavour and could tempt buyers away from some of the compact SUVs in the market, like the Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger.
Citroen to launch 3 India-focused cars by 2024
“We are not coming with one car, but a family of three cars. We will launch them at a regular frequency to make sure that we continuously feed the brand growth and network development,” said Cobee.
The C3 is just the first model under the carmaker’s ‘C Cubed’ programme which will see three cars being developed and produced in India. The subsequent products will likely include Citroen’s compact SUV that is expected to share its platform and powertrains with a Jeep counterpart. And, as we’ve previously reported, Citroen is also developing a Creta rival to expand its presence in the mass market segment.
The company has confirmed that all three India-focused models will be launched by 2024.