An EV that offers zen
The new Citroen e-C4 is an electric version of the new C4. A five-door family hatchback, but with a higher-riding position (and cladding around the wheel arches and bumpers) to give it some SUV characteristics.
However this EV isn’t for off-road shenanigans, instead it’s more about relaxation. Citroen avoided the electric car industry inclination towards sportiness, and instead offer us a quiet and leisurely experience, that’s excellent for daily driving and family serenity.
The Citroen e-C4 is built on the same platform as the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008, Vauxhall Corsa-e and Mokka-e and DS3 Crossback e-Tense (and uses the same drivetrain), and because of its dimensions aims to tempt buyers away from electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen ID.3, and Hyundai Kona Electric (indeed, the Citroen e-C4 is somewhere in between a traditional hatchback – like the Leaf – and a crossover-SUV – like the Kona).
The Citroen e-C4 goes against the grain of so many other EV hatchbacks and disregards sportiness, in favour of being quiet, comfortable, and relaxing to drive. Which in reality is what most families want.
The electric C4 has a WLTP range of 217 miles, which is good compared to some small-battery rivals, but easily out-done by other electric cars in the running, such as the VW ID.3.
And of course, expect slightly less than the official WLTP figure of 217 miles, as real-world range is closer to 170 miles in mixed conditions. And this will be less in winter, but higher if you only do town driving.
As mentioned above, the Citroen e-C4 shares the same framework, battery pack, and drivetrain as sibling models within the parent company: the Peugeot e2008 and the DS3 Crossback E-Tense. As such, it has the same 50kWh battery pack, 134bhp electric motor, and the ability to charge at up to 100kW on a DC rapid charger.
Unlike the VW ID.3, which offers a huge array of options when it comes to the size (and therefore range) of the battery and power, the e-C4 is only available in this single spec.
The Citroen e-C4, in this single offering, is really rather efficient. Drive smoothly and thoughtfully in Normal mode and you’ll get upwards of 4 miles per kWh, which is very good, and more than we’ve seen from a Nissan Leaf or VW ID.3.
The top speed is 93mph and 0-62mph takes a relaxed nine seconds. A 0-80% charge takes half an hour (if you can find a 100kW rapid charger). And a full charge takes around seven and a half hours on a domestic 7kW wallbox.
An electric car with a refined ride
The suspension set up on the Citroen e-C4 has been tuned towards comfort, using what Citroen call “progressive hydraulic cushions”, which stay firm in the corners, and soft as a whisper on the bumps. This is a system that was originally invented for rally cars, but these days it works perfectly for a relaxed and refined ride.
The e-C4 waltzes over potholes and speedbumps and floats along in a laidback fashion, as a cruiser that encourages you to just go with the flow.
The powertrain is smoothly calibrated, meaning the Citroen e-C4 is easy and predictable to drive. And regenerative braking (even in ‘B’ mode) is gentle, and the actual brake pedal is progressive enough for smooth stopping.
There are three modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. The default is Normal, and sticking with this is usually all you’ll need. You might knock it into Sport once in a while to get the full 136bhp, for slip roads and busy junctions or roundabouts, but otherwise Normal steady and satisfying. Acceleration reduces after 60mph, but the e-C4 has enough about it to take care of most challenges, even if it isn’t as fast and zippy as many of its rivals.
One of the best things about the Citroen e-C4 are the outrageously comfortable front seats, that are flat, wide, and well-padded. The cabin itself is one of the best that Citroen have created in a long time. It offers a tranquil lack of wind and road noise, it feels solidly constructed, and it’s attractively styled.
The sloping coupé roofline means that the Citroen e-C4 isn’t amazing when it comes to headroom, but there’s just about enough for taller passengers, and the legroom is absolutely fine. While the boot space is also a reasonable size, and there’s storage underneath for your charge cables too.
To its advantage, and unlike some alternatives, the Citroen e-C4 has been designed so there’s no compromise on space. The electric version gives the same reasonably roomy passenger space and 380-litre boot as the standard Citroen C4.
A well-equipped electric car
The Citroen e-C4 comes in three trim levels: Sense, Shine and Shine Plus. LED headlights, head-up display, 18-inch alloys and climate control are standard on all models, as is touchscreen infotainment system and reversing camera.
The ten-inch infotainment touchscreen is very easy to use, more so than the VW ID.3. Partly because the climate control temps are always displayed down the side of the screen, to make air con easy to adjust. The screen is also at a nice eye-line height, and fairly easy to navigate through, and it offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
Higher spec Shine models add privacy glass and nice little extras such as keyless entry and heated steering wheel, but mainly it adds their ‘Safety Pack Plus’ (incorporating forward collision warning, speed limit info, collision mitigation braking and so-on), adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection and auto high-beam for the LED headlights.
While Shine Plus adds leather trim, a better sound system, wireless phone charging, and heated front seats.
Given the base-level Sense Plus trim comes with a head-up display, a rear camera, Apple CarPlay, dual-zone climate control, and those sensationally squidgy front seats, we think this trim level offers more than enough for your average buyer, but feel free to upgrade if you wish.
A fine family EV
The Citroen e-C4 starts at £28,495 (after the plug-in grant), which competes closely with the Volkswagen ID.3, Nissan Leaf, Peugeot e-2008, and Hyundai Kona Electric, which as alternatives can offer longer ranges, and/or be slightly cheaper.
However, the differences in cost are minimal, and the range offered by the Citroen-eC4 is more than enough for daily commutes, and rapid charging capability means it’s easy to do long trips too, without having to wait too long when topping-up at motorway services.
The reason to choose the Citroen e-C4 is for its unique style, and exceptional comfort. In terms of design, its strikes the balance between being conventional enough, but with some Citroen je ne sais quoi contemporary styling, to gently set it apart.
The Citroen e-C4 does all of the basics that you need in an electric car really well, and offers a high level of practicality and efficiency. The interior cabin is smoothly pleasing, and ready to offer a chilled-out and comfortable driving experience every time you get into this charming electric car.