The number of electric cars on the market has grown exponentially in recent years, with the majority of manufacturers now having some kind of EV available to customers, or planned shortly.
But a missing name from this list has been Citroen. Sure, this French brand had the flawed C-Zero of the early 2010s and a range of electric vans, but no real EV to compete against the likes of the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen ID.3.
Until now, that is, with the new e-C4 – the electric version of Citroen’s funky new hatchback-crossover, which will be sold alongside petrol and diesel models. The cabin is also a bit different to the rest of the Citroen range, and paves the way for more things to come.
But in a competitive segment, does the new Citroen e-C4 have what it takes?
Underpinning the e-C4 is a powertrain already widely seen on models from sister brands Peugeot and Vauxhall – a 100kW electric motor producing 134bhp and 300Nm of torque, combined with a 50kWh battery. Performance isn’t especially brisk, but is what you would expect from a car of this size – 0-60mph takes 8.6 seconds, while it will reach a top speed of 93mph.
In terms of range, Citroen claims it can travel 217 miles on a single charge, while 100kW rapid charging capability means the battery can be topped up to 80 per cent in as little as 30 minutes. Citroen is also offering a free home wallbox charger (worth £500) to make plugging your EV in even simpler, not to mention cheaper.
Ride and handling
Citroens tend to take a softer and more comfortable approach to its cars while other manufacturers favour sportiness. And even as an EV, the e-C4 follows this path. The ride is very supple thanks to the brand’s progressive hydraulic cushions, while light steering makes it a doddle to use around the city.
But it’s the normality of the e-C4 driving experience that shines through – as it doesn’t feel too different behind the wheel (silent powertrain aside) to a conventionally-powered car. It doesn’t quite have the wow behind the wheel of other EVs – namely when it comes to acceleration – but it’s a very ‘normal’ model that would be an ideal first electric car.
Interior and equipment
The e-C4’s cabin feels a step above other current Citroen models, both in terms of quality and technology. The cabin is a mix of high-end screens, with a digital driver display sitting alongside a large touchscreen that’s easy to operate. There are a few cheaper plastics in places, though, which slightly let the side down.
In terms of spaciousness, the e-C4 offers a useful 380-litre boot that’s on par with rivals, and this rises to 1,250 litres with the seats folded flat. Charging cables can also be stored under the main boot floor – meaning they’re out of the way and not taking up extra room. Rear space isn’t the most generous though, with the coupe-like styling eating into headroom. A Nissan Leaf is a much roomier choice in this respect.
Three trims are available on the e-C4 – Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus.
All versions come well-equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera and large 10-inch touchscreen.
Upgrade to the Shine to get additional safety kit – including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and traffic sign recognition – along with keyless entry and start and a heated steering wheel. At the top of the range, the Shine Plus features a wireless smartphone charging pad, leather upholstery and an electric driver’s seat.
While the e-C4 does command quite a premium over a standard petrol C4, with prices starting from £29,180 it’s one of the more affordable EVs in the mid-size family hatchback, and only brings a small premium over more compact models like the Vauxhall Corsa-e. We reckon the standard trim level gets all the kit you’d need, though even top-spec Shine Plus versions still cost a reasonable £31,330.
Citroen has certainly brought some charm to the EV market with its e-C4 – offering an attractive price, long list of standard kit and promising electric range.
With its comfortable ride and ‘normal’ driving experience, it could prove to be the ideal first EV for those looking to switch out of their petrol and diesel car. Combine that with distinctive styling and a smart interior and it’s a very appealing prospect.Enquire on a new Citroen e-C4