The Citroen e-C4 is the all-electric version of the firm’s new C4 family hatch range – and for many, it could well be the pick of the range…
The Citroen C4 range marks the famous French brand’s return to the family hatchback sector dominated by the Volkswagen Golf. It is a five-door hatchback with plenty of passenger space and a large boot – and Citroen, almost uniquely amongst rivals right now, is offering it in petrol, diesel and the pure EV guise we’re testing here
Citroen keeps the EV side of things simple. There’s just a single 134 motor and 50kWh battery. This ensures prices are competitive, starting from just under £31,000. Indeed, the firm actually lowered pricing of the best-selling Shine Plus variant to make sure it still remains eligible for the revised Plug-in Car Grant.
The Citroen e-C4 supports CCS rapid charging: find a 100kW ultra-rapid public charger and an 80% charge will take just 30 minutes. Owners also get a Type 2 charging cable included for home charging – via a 7.4kW wallbox (which Citroen currently includes for free, from Pod Point), a full charge takes 7 hours 30 minutes.
The electric range is officially quoted to be 217 miles. In testing, we saw just under 200 miles with a fully-charged e-C4 in chilly weather, so this seems realistic in ideal conditions. You can toggle between driving modes if you want a more relaxed power delivery to save battery charge.
The Citroen e-C4 is an interesting-looking car. Compared to regular hatchbacks, it has much more of a crossover SUV style, with chunky black plastic wheelarches and a raised ride height. The features are bold and distinctive, while the rakeish rear harks back to famous Citroens of yore, such as the popular 1970s GS.
Citroen has intentionally kept the differences to regular petrol and diesel C4 models subtle and discreet. It wants to normalise EVs, making choosing them as natural as possible. The best way to spot an e-C4 is from its blue accents on the lower body panels – and, of course, the green stripe on the registration plate.
The interior is a pleasant surprise, because Citroen has really upped its game in terms of quality in recent years. The dashboard has a modern, sophisticated look, with a clear touchscreen mounted high up on the dash, supported by a smaller electronic display ahead of the driver. We like the use of physical controls for the air con, and the novel ‘drawer’ ahead of the passenger that slides out to hold a tablet computer is an interesting option.
As it’s a bit higher off the ground, it’s easy to step in and out of. Front seats are very comfortable – a Citroen trademark – and rear seat space isn’t bad. The boot is the same size as a regular C4, meaning no everyday loss of space. All that’s missing is the hidden compartment beneath the boot floor.
It says something about modern EVs that the Citroen e-C4 delivers almost identical performance to the turbo petrol alternative. Flick the driving mode switch into Sport mode and 0-62mph takes 9.7 seconds, while the top speed has been restricted to 93 mph in the interests of range (and protecting driving licences…).
Power is delivered smoothly and silently, in contrast to the rattly diesel. For car buyers test-driving both, it’s like night and day. Accelerator response is sharp and an EV-familiar ‘one-pedal’ drive is available, where easing off the accelerator starts to regenerate power and slow down the car. Even at higher speeds, the e-C4 has appreciable punch: it’s a good motorway cruiser.
Comfort is the name of the game with modern Citroens, and what a refreshing change it makes to many sportier hatchback rivals. The ride is intentionally soft and supple, rather than clamped-down and taut, with the e-C4 riding bumps beautifully well. On pothole-riddled city streets, it’s a delight.
It does mean the car leans over a little more in corners, something accentuated by the higher seating position, but it’s far from uncontrolled. Rather, it serves up a pleasant, soothing drive, perfectly complemented by the silent-running electric motor and easy power delivery. It’s both sophisticated and likeable – you’re sure to find it appealing during a test drive.
The Citroen e-C4 is a mainstream family electric car that aims to bring EV motoring to everyday motorists. It’s less quirky than something like a Volkswagen ID.3, with Citroen targeting EV-curious buyers who might consider one alongside regular petrol and diesel versions.
With distinctive styling, a nice interior and a very soothing drive, it’s a great introduction to family-friendly EV motoring, with an appealing price and range of over 200 miles only adding further to the appeal.