The arrival of the C-Élysée in France was an astonishing adventure. Citroën has communicated little on the subject, or not at all. Worse still, the concessions are not rushing to propose any. The fact is that it is not selling well. Is it because it’s a bad car or because no one knows it exists?
It was this reflection that led me to ask DAP Citroen Poitiers to lend me a C-Élysée. So here I am in the dealership’s demonstration vehicle parking lot in front of this Chinese Citroën, worthy heir to the Fukang that was already on the road in Beijing in 1992. However, my Chinese woman has a strong Spanish accent. Yes, it was assembled in Vigo and not in Wuhan.
World car but not ordinary
If you have read the E-Mehari’s essay, you know that I have a fondness for Citroëns that are out of the ordinary. In this case, the three-box herringbone sedan doesn’t really shine through its design, especially in profile. However, I find its optics rather nice and the trunk well integrated.
If the exterior is acceptable, the interior is more questionable. Slightly isolated, this car does not do my ears any good when I open or close a door. As I settle in, I have the unpleasant feeling that the interior mirror will stay in my hand and it took me 15 minutes to find the control to adjust the exterior mirrors… It’s hidden under the steering wheel! A good point for the central location of the power window controls at the front and rear. As a family man, I appreciate it. Coarse, the plastics are nevertheless well assembled, suggesting serious work. Low-cost yes, sloppy no!
While the dynamics of the dashboard remind me of what PSA was doing 15 years ago, I notice a great and beautiful habitability (including in the trunk with 506 litres in the 5-seater version). This will be confirmed by spending a few minutes in the back. There is room for more than just a surprising level of equipment! My C-Élysée Comfort (only level of the range) has manual air conditioning, speed limiter, 12V socket, Bluetooth connectivity… All this is standard! In addition, there is the urban pack with its rear parking radars and rear power windows. You can’t find all that in a Dacia unless you add to the pot.
Driving the C-Élysée
The Citroën C-Élysée is available with an 82-horsepower PureTech petrol engine or a 100-horsepower BlueHDi diesel engine. Both are combined with a 5-speed manual gearbox. It is with this version that I walked around in the Vienne. With 100 horses, I expected to play a lot with the gearshift knob. But in the end, the weight/power ratio is not so bad, provided that the road does not rise with its 254 Nm of torque and 1,090 kg. Yes, the C-Élysée does not filter noise very much and the direction could be more precise. However, its worldwide suspension allows it to remain comfortable despite the potholes!
Dynamism is not the vocation of the C-Élysée; I quickly felt it as soon as my driving became a little sportier. Its niche is to take you from point A to point B in a rather comfortable way, without fuss or excessive expense. In this sense, the Citroën C-Élysée is an excellent alternative to the Dacia Logan and Fiat Tipo. At €15,990 (it starts at €13,450), it is not the most expensive at a comparable level of equipment. It remains to be seen whether, at this price, there is not something better to do on the second-hand market.