Citroen C3 vs Tata Punch Comparison Review: Which Is Better Value For Money?
The mini-SUV segment is quickly gaining momentum in India, as the newest entrant in the segment, Citroen C3 challenges the Tata Punch for dominance. We try and find out which is the better value for money.
SUVs have for the longest time, dominated the food chain. While the bigger SUVs have been preferred for a while now, it is the smaller SUVs, which are driving sales now and have rightfully carved out a place for themselves. The mini-SUVs, or micro-SUVs as companies prefer to call them, are the smallest of the family. And while there have been a few options on the market in recent years, none has done as well as the Tata Punch, selling over 10,000 units per month since its launch almost a year ago. It’s a well-rounded product that’s peppy and fun to drive, and its small proportions make it a good buy for anyone looking for a family car under Rs. 10 lakhs. But the Citroen C3 is crashing the party. It is positioned as a hatchback, but with enough SUV flair to spice things up. While you can read Kumkum’s reviews of both the Tata Punch and the Citroen C3 on our website, we try and find out which is the better value for money.
If we’re talking about cars with small proportions, we should start with their real estate. The Citroen C3 is 154 mm longer than the Tata Punch, as shown in the table, but the latter is 9 mm wider and 11 mm taller while riding on a significantly shorter wheelbase. The Punch also has better ground clearance, slightly more boot space, and even a marginally larger fuel tank. It is also the only one of the two to offer alloy wheels on top-spec models, which is an option on the C3.
The Citroen C3 and Tata Punch both have a distinct design language, with the split headlamp and DRLs effect adding to the funky and youthful appeal. The Tata Punch stands out with its athletic, stylish, and alluring SUV-like tall stance. It even resembles the larger SUVs in the company’s line-up while maintaining its own identity. From the front, the C3 looks like a baby C5 Aircross. To complement its sporty character, the Chevron pattern takes precedence, with large claddings at the lower section. Unfortunately, neither the Punch nor the C3 has LED headlamps, instead opting for halogen units with LED DRLs.
The Tata Punch looks attractive in this dual-tone skin with ample black cladding across to depict its SUV-ness.
The Tata Punch has ample SUV flair, such as hefty claddings and sporty 16-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, whereas the C3 has 15-inch steel wheels. The C3 has a chunky rear SUV-like crossover posture because the company wants you to think of it as an SUV. There’s nothing wrong with it either. The rear door handles hidden within the black plastic element on the Punch are a nice touch, but the clamshell door handles on the C3 feel dated. Overall, the Tata Punch exudes quality in terms of the shut lines, and the paint job and everything appear lustrous and trendy. Add to that the very stylish and appealing design.
The C3 is positioned as a hatchback but the styling gives an impression of a SUV.
But the Citroen C3 also appeals to a large chunk of the audience with its strikingly attractive looks, with a clever design to conceal some of the cost savings. If you want colour options, both cars have them. Tata offers a total of 12 exterior paint schemes- 5 monotone and 7 dual-tones compared to the 4 monotone and 6 dual-tone options on the C3.
Tech & Interior
Both the Citroen C3 and the Tata Punch have a well-designed cabin with excellent fit and finish of the materials used. Despite being on a tight budget, it speaks volumes about both brands’ dedication. Tata and Citroen offer numerous customisation options to deck out the cabin to your liking, but it is the French that offers a selection of nearly 70 optional accessories. Not only that, but the C3 is also quite technologically advanced, with a fully digital instrument cluster as opposed to the Punch’s part-digital setup. A big miss though on part of the C3 is the absence of a rev counter while the Punch has a MID at the centre of its instrument cluster offering loads of critical information.
A superior fit & finish compensates for a mediocre looking cabin.
Then there are the touchscreen units, where Tata falls short with its smaller 7-inch unit versus Citroen’s larger and more seamless 10-inch display. To be honest, this has been an issue with the current crop of Tata cars, along with a cluttered graphic interface, and needs immediate attention. Both cars benefit from Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but Citroen outperforms the competition by connecting wirelessly.
The C3 in fact scores high on decking the car with a unique design that seems quirky.
The Punch gains points for automatic climate and ORVM adjusters while the C3 loses points because both are manually regulated here. The Punch also has an added advantage with puddle lamps that are offered as standard fitment on the top-spec Creative trim. It is quite practical, especially for elderly drivers. Cornering lamps also add to its long list of features, which is sadly left out on the C3.
Rear Seat Space
Passenger space is important in any car but is vital in a car this size. While both cars provide ample space for both front and rear passengers to relax on shorter and longer journeys, the C3 has a slight advantage over the Punch due to a longer wheelbase. As a result, the rear passengers have more leg and knee room, with equally decent headroom inside both cars. The Punch’s front seats are more comfortable, but the C3’s rear seats provide better back support. Quite spacious and ample, but not for three adults. Perhaps a child!
Both cars are generous in knee & headroom for rear passengers.
But it lacks an AC vent for the rear passengers, along with a three-point seat belt for the middle seat, but you do get two USB ports. That is something that many people will appreciate. The same cannot be said for the Punch, but it does have a drop-down armrest, which is merely a consolation. The ingress and egress on both vehicles are smooth and comfortable; more notably, it is unchallenging for people of all ages.
Engine & Gearbox
Both the Citroen C3 and the Tata Punch offer petrol engines, however, only Citroen provides a turbocharged unit in addition to a naturally aspirated variant. The Punch must settle with a NA unit, but Tata is likely to introduce a turbo version, so the comparison between the more powerful models will have to wait. For the time being, we have the less powerful variants with nearly comparable power outputs. While the Punch has both manual and automatic transmissions, the C3 does just with the manual arrangement for the time being.
The C3’s engine is the least powerful in this shootout.
The Revotron does well for a three-cylinder engine, and it’s very snappy overall. At higher rpm, you can hear some of the clatters that come with a 3-cyl unit, but overall sound dampening could’ve been improved. Otherwise, the Punch punches beyond its weight in terms of refinement levels! Similarly, the C3 will not fulfil your inner enthusiast. This variant is great for those looking for something more subdued. However, it has flaws that are identical to those felt with the Punch. Nonetheless, it will not bore you and provides a nice driving experience.
There is only a single petrol option on the Punch.
While the Punch has both manual and automatic transmissions, the C3 does just with the manual arrangement for the time being.
Despite being available exclusively with a manual transmission, Citroen’s mileage figures for the C3 are better than Tata’s for the Punch. While the NA version has a claimed 19.8 kmpl, the turbocharged version returns 19.40 kmpl, compared to 18.97 kmpl and 18.82 kmpl for the manual and AMT, respectively from the Punch. However, the Tata Punch benefits from the start/stop functionality, which comes in handy in traffic. Realistically, there isn’t much of a difference, which is commendable for both manufacturers.
|Fuel Efficiency||Citroen C3||Tata Punch|
|MT||19.8 kmpl (NA)
19.4 kmpl (Turbo)
Ride & Handling
In terms of driving characteristics, both cars have a similar ride quality that is both mature and comfortable. The C3 handles nicely, and once you get over the initial lag, the car will surprise you with how comfortable it feels on the road. Even on terrible roads, across potholes, and through speed bumps. For most typical users and consumers, the C3 ticks all the boxes required from a budget car.
The steering is not the most precise on the C3 around corners but handles body rolls quite well.
The hatchback is pleasingly tuned, as is usual for Citroen. It’s not a C5, but it gets the job done. Even the manual gearbox performs admirably, with rapid gear changes and a polished feel. The steering could’ve been a little crisper, but the brakes are excellent courtesy of the front disc brakes and rear drum brakes.
The Punch is a little sluggish straight off the line. However, the gearshift is a huge improvement over previous Tatas, and it is neither cumbersome nor difficult to use, instead provides a seamless transition between shifts. It is well-matched to the engine and provides plenty of low-end torque. So, ultimately, with respect to suspension, steering, ride quality, handling, and overall performance, the Punch exceeds expectations.
The feedback on the Punch’s steering exudes confidence.
The Citroen C3 meets all the basic safety criteria with twin airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse parking sensors, front seat belt reminder, high-speed warning system, and manual child lock on rear doors as standard across both trims. As an added safety feature, the Feel trim has a speed-sensitive auto door lock. However, the lack of a rear defogger and wiper may pose a safety concern, particularly in the Northern section of the country as winter approaches. The car does not yet have a Global NCAP certification, however, it did obtain a 4-star rating from Euro NCAP in its prior European form.
The Tata Punch improves on safety by including two airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchors, a rear-view camera, and ‘Brake Sway Control,’ in addition to front fog lights with cornering function and rain-detecting wipers. To dispel any misgivings, the Tata Punch has received 5-star safety certification from Global NCAP. Furthermore, the firm sells the iRA Pack with the highest trims, which allows you to connect with your car and operate many features of the Punch remotely.
Prices & Variants
The Citroen C3 is without a doubt the most economical vehicle in this segment, and feature reduction is critical. The C3 is available in both NA and turbo variants, but only with manual transmissions since the company does not yet offer an automatic version. The compact hatchback outperforms the Tata Punch on both the low and high end of the price spectrum. As a result, the C3 appears to be an appealing offer with excellent riding comfort.
The Tata Punch, on the other hand, has more options, more safety features, and an equally pleasant riding quality that rivals the French car. Add to that the availability of automated versions and a plethora of unique editions to pick from, and buyers are spoiled for choice.
So, here’s the bottom line. Both vehicles have a lot of appealing features, and there are also several things you may criticise. The Tata Punch is a contemporary small SUV from a firm with a tried-and-tested recipe that has done wonders for the company in recent years. Tata has packaged the Punch rather well, with comprehensive after sales service, a 5-star crash test certification, and a plethora of versions to pick from. Citroen has taken a conservative yet aggressive approach with the C3. It struck off certain features to reduce the asking price, and we’ve seen how that has worked in its favour. Its Achilles heel, though, is its limited reach.
Nonetheless, Citroen has set a cat loose among the pigeons. Having said that, our road test reveals that the Tata Punch is a more enticing overall package than the French hatchback with its bold styling, sophisticated cabin, heaps of features, and comfortable yet stable ride.