Citroen e-C4 review
If style and comfort sit high in your list of priorities for an electric car then the Citroen e-C4 should be strongly considered
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It sits somewhere in the middle between a more traditional hatchback model, like the Leaf, and a crossover-SUV such as the Kona. There is clear SUV inspiration in its styling, while there’s also a coupe-like roofline at the rear. It’s a bit like somebody’s chucked a load of ingredients from different car classes into a stew, and produced this.
The Citroen e-C4’s interior isn’t as unusual as the one in the old Citroen C4 Cactus nor the C3 Aircross, however. It’s more traditional, with dark, soft-touch materials and a large 10-inch media system with sat-nav and smartphone connectivity.
Although some may miss the wackiness of Citroen cabins of old here, it’s actually one of the best overall cabins the brand has turned out for quite some time. Quality seems to be up there with VW’s electric car range, and while the technology isn’t the most advanced out there it’s a lot easier to use than it used to be. The dash has a more dramatic design as well, with sweeping lines rather than the flat and practical set-up in other Citroens.
A big selling point of the Citroen e-C4 is that, unlike some alternatives, the car has been designed so there is no compromise on space whether you opt for one with an engine under the bonnet or an electric motor. That means the e-C4 gets the same reasonably roomy passenger compartment and 380-litre boot as the standard C4. There is also a lower section of the boot that’s ideal for storing the e-C4’s charging cable.
The e-C4 looks good but its official 217-mile range is decent, rather than exceptional
Unlike the C4 there is no entry-level Sense trim level in the e-C4: you get the choice of Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus. This helps offset the increase in price for the electric version over the regular C4.
All models come with LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 10-inch infotainment system with smartphone connectivity, autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist and dual-zone climate control. Sense Plus is probably the best combination of kit and value, too.
Powering the Citroen e-C4 is a 136hp electric motor mated to a 50kWh battery. The power output might not sound like much, but it feels pretty sprightly on the move thanks to the instant punch of 260Nm of torque that comes as soon as you prod the throttle. The top speed is a modest 93mph, however.
The 50kWh battery offers an official range of 217 miles. In our experience it’s better to expect a real-world range of about 160-180 miles, but that’ll drop lower in cold temperatures. That’s entirely acceptable for the e-C4’s price, but not exactly remarkable. Handily, the e-C4 can be charged at speeds of up to 100kW, allowing an 80 per cent battery top up in 30 minutes.
On the road, it’s clear that Citroen has set up the e-C4 with comfort in mind. It’s soft ride and cushy seats iron out the worst Britain’s roads can throw at it pretty well, but the trade off is it rolls around a fair bit in the corners and doesn’t feel anywhere near as planted as something like a Volkswagen ID 3.
If sporty handling isn’t high on your list of priorities for a new electric car, why not check our how much you can save on a Citroen e-C4 on our deals page?
The e-C4 offers just as much passenger and boot space as the regular C4, so there’s no compromise for going electric
Often when an electric car is based on a traditional petrol and diesel car, the huge battery packs can be a struggle to squeeze in. This means that, like the Hyundai Kona Electric and Mercedes EQA, space is compromised.
Not so on the Citroen e-C4. The car has been cleverly designed so that the batteries fit in the space left behind by items such as the fuel tank. This means that the C4 and e-C4 are exactly the same inside and in the boot.
Despite the steeply raked windscreen making the dashboard feel quite close there’s plenty of room for six footers to get comfortable in the driver or front passenger seats. The optional panoramic sunroof doesn’t dent headroom too much, either, and because Citroen doesn’t have the same small steering wheel layout as its sister brand Peugeot most shapes and sizes of driver will find good adjustment and be able to get comfortable.
In the back, too, you’ll find two adults with long legs won’t struggle for knee or foot space. However, taller folk might take issue with headroom, which is a little less generous than you might hope due to that coupe-like sloping roofline.
That’s more of an issue if you try and squeeze three passengers in the back, as adults will likely find their heads against the roof. Still, there’s a nearly completely flat floor so nobody needs to play footsie to get their legs comfortable.
There’s some thoughtful storage touches in the Citroen e-C4, mainly located in the front.
In the centre of the dash is a well-placed wireless smartphone charging pad (in many cars these are clearly afterthoughts) flanked by two USB-C connectors for further devices. Below this is a handy storage stray that stops things rattling around.
While there is the usual small glovebox – Citroen doesn’t bother moving the fuse box for right-hand drive cars, so it takes up a big chunk of space – above it is a really handy tray that slides out to reveal another storage space. Citroen will also supply a mount to clip a tablet to it – although the tray doesn’t come in entry-level models.
There’s also a couple of cupholders beside a flip-up armrest, and the door bins are a useful size. In the back you’ll find cupholders in the centre armrest, too.
The boot in the Citroen e-C4 is also the same as the regular petrol or diesel C4.
It offers 380-litres of space, which is reasonable but matched (and in some cases beaten) by a number of conventional hatchbacks or similarly-sized crossovers.
You’ll squeeze five carry-on luggage cases beneath the C4’s parcel shelf – about average for this size of car, but beaten by a number of alternatives including the Skoda Scala and Nissan Juke. At least the boot floor can be adjusted to allow a bit of underfloor space and reduce the loading lip, or to maximise outright capacity.
There’s no sliding or reclining cleverness with the C4’s rear seats, sadly, but they do at least split-fold pretty easily thanks to levers within the boot you can pull to fold them down. You’ll get a largely flat load bay if you do that, too.
The Citroen e-C4 has an even more comfortable ride than the regular C4, but handling isn’t a strong point
The e-C4 doesn't suit hooning about in any way. But it's great if you want a chilled-out, comfortable daily driving EV
You’ll have little anxiety about which version of Citroen e-C4 to choose, as there is only one electric option in different trim levels.
The e-C4 shares is 136hp front-mounted electric motor with cars such as the Peugeot e-2008 and new Vauxhall Mokka-e. While its power output and 9.7 second 0-62mph time might sound about as exciting as taking the bus, it actually feels pretty sprightly on the road thanks to the instant supply of 260Nm of torque at any speed.
As with all lower-power EVs, the performance at lower speeds is markedly better than at motorway speeds. The modest top speed of 93mph reflects that. Put simply, this isn’t the ideal car to take for a trip on derestricted German autobahns.
Charging to 80% on a 50kWh public fast charger will take around 50mins, but the e-C4 comes with 100kWh charging as standard. if you can find one, the time drops to 28 minutes – a useful boon.
A charge on a domestic plug will take 20 hours, and that home charge will translate to around £7 in cost, which versus a petrol car over the same distance will save you around £16. If you can’t charge at home, take a look at our charging map to find your nearest public charger.
Citroen likes to do things a little bit differently to most other car companies, with a much greater focus on comfort than making the car feel sharp and agile in corners.
All versions of the e-C4 use fancy-sounding ‘progressive hydraulic cushion’ suspension. Basically, all you need to know is it lets Citroen set up the e-C4 really softly but is meant to stop the car feeling bouncy or wallowy.
And they work, to a point. Comfort is clearly the priority here, and the Citroen e-C4 cushions most of the typical about-town potholes, speed humps and scarred roads really well. It’s actually better than the regular petrol or diesel C4 in this respect, oddly thanks to it being substantially heavier: the extra 300kg or so of batteries means the car is less unsettled by really large or sharp bumps.
The special suspension doesn’t completely remove the feeling of bounciness on fast, undulating roads, though. Turn into a corner at medium speed and you’ll notice the body rolls about a lot more than a conventional, lower-to-the-ground hatchback.
Still, it’s perfectly good enough if you’re not driving it enthusiastically. Road and wind noise are well-isolated and the controls are light and easy. The e-C4 also has a good turning circle, so it’s a doddle to drive about town.
Forget Citroens of old: the new e-C4’s interior is well-made and attractive, and the infotainment is getting better
Citroen e-C4 colours
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