3.11.2021Citroen e-C4 review
Citroen’s first crack at the mainstream EV market is with an electric version of its C4 family-sized hatchback. The notable thing here is that group stablemates such as Vauxhall and Peugeot have started off with supermini and compact crossovers, so Citroen’s starting point is with a larger car altogether.
Review by Chris Lilly
CITROEN E-C4: PERFORMANCE
With a 100 kW electric motor powering the front wheels, the Citroen e-C4 can cover the 0-62mph time in 9.0 seconds, which is reasonable for its size and class. The model is about a second slower than the Nissan Leaf e+, but loses out on 60 kW to the Nissan. The performance is best accessed in Sport mode where all the power is available, whilst Normal and Eco settings lop 20 kW off the output with each stage you select.
With a middling power output, the Citroen can deal with most situations comfortably, but never feels as though it has loads of excess power. Even powering the larger car, the electric motor can cope with steep hills in a laden car, but it feels as quick as the sprint time suggests.
The C4 is a hugely comfortable car for its class, and the e-C4 continues that work - in fact it accentuates it. With less noise from the electric motors than compared to a petrol version or example, the e-C4 is one of the most refined cars you can buy this side of £40,000. It’s all down to the Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, which provide a buffer at the bump-stops of the springs, soothing everything out over the harshest of surfaces.
With these, Citroen has returned to its roots, and the e-C4 excels on longer trips over smoother, faster roads - unusually for an EV. It’s adept around town with harsh surfaces soaked up and shrugged off, but the e-C4 is a comfortable cruiser, even if its range suffers in this scenario.
Striking rather than stylish, the e-C4 nevertheless is a car that could never claim to be boring to look at. It might have crossover design cues, but it’s essentially a conventional hatchback disguised to look taller than it is.
Occupant space is good, with ample room for four adults, though the boot shape suffers a little from the fastback-inspired styling. It’s not as practical as you might expect, though this will only be discovered when packing the Citroen to the gunwales.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Although not a plush or luxurious interior, the e-C4 is certainly a nice place in which to sit, and an improvement on previous generation models. There’s a large touchscreen system controlling most elements, and a digital instrument panel for the driver.
Materials used throughout feel decent, and switchgear is minimalist in design, creating a clean centre console. Even the drive selector isn’t a gearstick or equivalent, rather a rocker switch. One simple but clever thing is the addition of a pop-out shelf to hold a tablet, allowing the front passenger to set up their iPad etc when on a long trip.
CITROEN E-C4: RANGE & RUNNING COSTS
With an official WLTP range of up to 217 miles on a charge, the Citroen e-C4 is towards the top of its shared-battery ‘rivals’ within the group. It leads the likes of the Hyundai Ioniq, sits between the Leaf and Leaf e+, and lags behind the VW ID.3, when looking at competitors.
In real-world conditions, the Citroen e-C4 performed better than most of the group rivals from Peugeot, Vauxhall, and DS. Surprising considering it’s a larger car than all of them. I was averaging 170 miles on a charge for the most part, and even on a longer run with a packed car, the e-C4 was returning 145 miles when calculating distance covered compared to battery percentage used.
Citroen’s 50 kWh batter pack provides the range, and can be recharged using the CCS inlet. A 7 kW on-board AC charger is fitted and the e-C4 can accept up to 100 kW from DC units, keeping charging times to around half an hour for a top-up. An optional 11 kW on-board charger is available for those that regularly use faster AC points.
A B setting on the drive selector allows the driver to switch between light and strong levels of brake energy recuperation. Strong gives decent braking strength, but certainly not strong enough for ‘one-pedal’ driving in town. It’s effective on the open road however, and can help extract more range from the battery.
Citroen offers the e-C4 in three trim levels - Sense Plus, Shine, and Shine Plus; all are well equipped. Fitted as standard are 18-inch alloys, rear parking sensors and reversing camera, air conditioning, 10-inch infotainment system with smartphone integration, head-up display, LED headlights, and automatic headlights and wipers.
All also get a safety pack with driver assistance systems, whilst models up the range get 360-degree parking sensors, heated steering wheel, Citroen Connect Nav, and rear privacy glass.
CITROEN E-C4: MODEL SUMMARY
Despite the car buying public turning increasingly to crossovers, the Citroen e-C4 shows there’s still life in the conventional hatchback - particularly if it’s dressed up to look like a crossover. It offers a quick recharging times with reasonable range, at an accessible price for many, and offers one of the most comfortable rides you will find in this market.
Model tested: Citroen e-C4 Sense Plus
Body-style: Family hatchback
Engine / CO2: 100 kW electric motor / 0 g/km
Trim grades: Sense Plus, Shine, and Shine Plus
On-road price: from £30,895.
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars