Citroën will start to be renewed in Brazil from next year. After eliminating all the cars from its line, except for the C4 Cactus, the French brand is preparing an unprecedented line of vehicles made in Porto Real (RJ), changing its position now that it needs to align itself with Fiat, Jeep and Peugeot for being part of the Stellantis. And the first model will be the new Citroën C3, which will make its global debut on the 16th, first in India.
Even if the national debut takes a few more months to happen, the various incidents and information that circulated in India advance much of what to expect from the new Citroën C3. We have gathered all the information that circulates both in Brazil and in Asia, from its design and positioning to the engine and changes that will be applied to the Brazilian variant.
To achieve strength in markets outside Europe, Citroën adopted an old strategy that was widely used in Brazil, investing in the creation of a line of cars for emerging countries. The family, known as “C-Cubed” (previously called “Smart Car”), will be based on a simplified version of the modular CMP platform. So much so that the development took place mostly in India, where the new C3 was seen several times.
The C3 will be the first in this line which, according to previous information, would have a hatch, a sedan and a crossover. That seems to have changed, as the model that will be unveiled next week looks more like a subcompact SUV than an actual hatchback. The original idea was to launch one new vehicle per year from this family until 2023, always starting with India.
Citroën has already confirmed that it will introduce the new C3 on September 16th and sales will begin in India shortly thereafter. The development of the car happened all over there and the brand is investing to create an operation in the country, where it currently sells only the C5 Aircross. As it will be a global presentation, the first details should be more focused on the offer to Asia.
In the case of Brazil, the debut was delayed. The manufacturer even prepared the factory in Porto Real (RJ) to assemble the model and had promised the launch in the 2nd half of this year. However, sources linked to Stellantis reveal that the schedule has changed and the new Citroën will only start sales in April of next year. The problems are many, such as the lack of components such as semiconductors, but there is also a good reason for that: Fiat engineering is giving opinions about the vehicle.
That’s right, Fiat has a hand in the C3 project for Brazil. One of our sources explains that with the merger of Fiat-Chrysler and PSA Group, the synergy between the brands will be greater and Citroën can take advantage of the development center in Betim (MG) to improve the compact SUV. So much so that it was caught in tests both in the city of Minas Gerais, as shown by the photos sent by an anonymous reader, and in the region of Goiana (PE).
Our source denied rumors that the car would have been “failed” when it was evaluated by Fiat engineering, explaining the situation. The idea is to take advantage of the entire experience of the Italian brand, which is well acquainted with Brazilian tastes, in addition to using the new features within Stellantis, such as the security center inside the Betim hub.
Another change is in the positioning of the C3 in relation to its Indian variant. The national car will be a little more refined, as it will end up coexisting with models from Fiat and Peugeot – the latter will even have a derivative version called 1008, expected for 2023. Expect better materials in the finish and more equipment than in India (where there are cars without front airbags, for example).
The C3 made in Brazil will also be different in terms of motorization. In India, the safest bet is to use the 1.2 petrol turbo, with around 130 hp and using a 5-speed manual transmission – there are rumors about an automatic option, which would be a double clutch. Despite India having invested a lot in diesel cars, the C3 will not have a version with this type of fuel.
In the case of the national version, Citroën will repeat the strategy of the Peugeot 208 and will use the 1.6 four-cylinder aspirated, generating 118 hp at 5,750 rpm and 16.1 kgfm at 4,750 rpm. It couldn’t be very different, as it is still used in other national models like 2008 and C4 Cactus, in addition to being prepared to accept ethanol and work with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
It gets more interesting in the versions above, as everything indicates that it will take advantage of the 1.0 turbo from the Firefly family, which Fiat will launch with the Pulse this year. It will be a way to replace the 1.2 turbo, opting for a national engine instead of an imported one with close performance. Rumors about the Pulse talk about 130 hp and torque around 20 kgfm, which is not far from 1.2 for the Indian version.
The screenshots of the C3 prototypes show the car still well camouflaged, to the point of making it difficult to identify its design. Luckily for us, photos of a miniature of the car were leaked, revealing the inspiration from the brand’s latest launches in Europe, as well as the look of an SUV, even if it is a very small car.
The front will have the same identity as the new C3 Aircross and C4, using two chrome bars that form the Citroën logo, but without actually being a grille, as the air intake is just below. Alongside these lines will be the extremely final LED lighting, while the headlamps actually sit a little lower, but without encroaching on the bumper.
The test model photos also confirm the look of the flashlights we saw in the thumbnail, with a red “C” and arrow lights in the center. It will have a very straight roof and a functional rack, so much so that the prototype in the images even uses the bars. Obviously, expect a two-tone body paint, with the roof in a different color.