In 2022 - that is, just two years ago - Citroen brought to India a car that could’ve changed the company’s fortunes. It was called the C3, and it seemed to bring back some vigour to the hatchback segment. It did have a few SUV-like design cues, but Citroen was clear that it wasn’t one. This was followed by an all-electric version of the same car last year, and more importantly, a larger crossover SUV a few months later.

With three products based on the same platform, a steadily growing brand presence, and a fairly decent response from automotive journalists, one would assume that the French carmaker (now a part of the Stellantis conglomerate) got it right. Alas, not quite. This year, Citroen gears up to launch yet another product based on the C3’s platform, showcased in the form of the Basalt Vision. We take a brief look to understand if prospective Citroen customers finally have something to get properly excited about.

The right choice

The Indian automotive market is a tough nut to crack, and if you want the buyer to go against the usual choices in the segment, the product has to offer not just quantity but also quality. This has been showcased by many carmakers in the last few years. Kia, for instance, brought out products that may not have been the best of value propositions, but the Indian market loved them and as a result, the Korean carmaker wasn’t just inundated with praise but commercial success, too. Similarly, Tata Motors, having had a fairly rough period in the mid-2010s, brought itself back from a poor state to its current highly successful position. For a fairly fresh entrant like Citroen, it’s not too late to reinvigorate itself, and the Basalt Vision seems like the right choice.

 It’s a nice mix of SUV traits and the dynamic styling of a coupe,

 It’s a nice mix of SUV traits and the dynamic styling of a coupe, | Photo Credit: Photographs by Stellantis 

Based on the platform which underpins the C3, E-C3, and C3 Aircross, the Basalt Vision will be made exclusively for India and South America. It’s a nice mix of SUV traits (large wheels, good ground clearance) and the dynamic styling of a coupe, and as a result, it looks good in photos. In an initial announcement that Stellantis has made, the company has left a few crucial bits out, like what will power the car, how its interior will look, and more importantly, the standard list of features — the latter being a crucial bit for the Indian market, especially considering Citroen hasn’t done very well in loading its cars up with features. That improved with the C3 Aircross, and we expect the Basalt to be better equipped than the former.

The other thing that Citroen failed to deliver on is crash-worthiness. In the Global NCAP tests, the Indian-market E-C3 performed dismally, in line with its Brazil-produced C3 that was tested last year. Both cars scored zero stars, with inadequate protection offered to occupants. The carmaker has been quite serious about the Indian market, and an improvement in the Basalt will be appreciated.

Promising look

It’s going to be a new segment, the SUV-Coupe, especially among locally manufactured cars, and it’s safe to say that the Basalt will be one of the first to grace it. The other entrant will be the upcoming Tata Curvv, which is expected to be offered with a variety of engine choices and features. That said, the Basalt Vision looks promising, and while the production version may possibly be toned down in terms of styling, if the squared wheel arches, projector headlamps, and the overall stance of the SUV-Coupe make it to reality, it will definitely be the centre of everyone’s attention.

©Motoring World