Citroen's upcoming compact crossover spotted testing

Citroen might have just started it's Indian innings with the C5 Aircross but the French brand is already gearing up to mix it with the big boys in the coming years.

Leading the charge would be the car you see here. Spotted testing on two separate occasions several weeks apart - once inside Chennai city and the next time on the busy Chennai-Bengaluru highway - these test mules are likely to evolve into Citroen's entry-level offering for the Indian market. Codenamed CC21, Citroen has based this compact crossover on Stellantis' Common Modular Platform (CMP) that's shared with Peugeot and an army of other brands the group has in it's umbrella.

Likely to be badged the C3, Citroen's smallest and most-affordable crossover will feature the same quirky styling elements like the C5 Aircross that the French brand is synonymous with in Europe. Despite the camouflage, the split light clusters at the front, the stubby rear end and the distinct C-pillar can clearly be seen. Also visible are old-school flap-type door handles, signaling Citroen's intent to get the pricing right in the cut-throat sub-4m crossover segment the C3 would be in. One of the spy shots capture the C3 next to the Hyundai Creta which gives a fair indication of the Citroen's size.

Though not much of the interiors can be seen, the floating touchscreen in the center console is making its presence felt in a couple of shots. Expect good quality and intelligent features to be thrown in to go with Citroen's premium aspirations. 

PSA is said to be working on a 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine to power the C3 while a 1.5-liter diesel engine might also join in due course. A 5-speed manual transmission is likely to be the mainstay with an automatic option also being planned. While the powertrain would be manufactured at PSA's joint-venture plant with Avtec near Hosur, the car will be assembled at a facility in Thiruvallur near Chennai that PSA bought from Hindustan Motors.

With Citroen India's plans to launch a new crossover every year from 2021 until 2023 out in the open, the C3 is likely to play an integral role in establishing the brand amongst the masses. When launched, the C3 will be pitted against a bunch of successful and competent crossovers like the Maruti-Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport, Renault Kiger, Nissan Magnite and Mahindra XUV3OO. 

Will typical 'French' quirkiness prevail and make an impact? Let's wait and watch.