ElectricDrives takes Citroen’s new e-C4 electric car for a test drive
The French carmaker’s first all-electric car delivers style, comfort and an impressive family drive
The new e-C4 is Citroen’s first fully-electric car and uses the same design as the C4 petrol and diesel versions only it’s completely emissions-free. Citroen refers to the e-C4 as a compact hatchback but it really sits in the blurred crossover category that lies between a hatchback and a compact sports utility vehicle. It’s a stylish looking ride with its curved edges and sculpted bonnet with tiered headlamps and chrome chevrons.
Once inside the e-C4 somehow feels larger with plenty of space for a family of five to spread out. Citroen offers a range of interior colour choices to suit all tastes but we liked the subtle black in our test car. In the back there’s 198mm of knee room which is impressive and the 380-litre boot area (1250-litre with the seat down) offers plenty of storage space. There’s even a dedicated charger cable space under the boot floor.
The e-C4 is instantly comfortable and with the press of a button driving couldn’t be simpler. The ride is smooth and silent from the off. In the cockpit it has all the technology you need yet it’s laid out in a simple and user-friendly way that makes life easy. It features several intuitive interfaces including a 10-inch central touch screen unit that’s easy to navigate, along with several driver digital displays that show speed and battery levels.
We found having several speed displays helpful when it came to driving within legal speed limits. This is because the ride is so quiet and silky that makes it feel like you’re driving slower than you really are. This thanks to the electric power and typically smooth Citroen suspension system.
Even after a few hours behind the wheel you feel like you’re sat in your favourite armchair. This is the sort of car you’d happily drive to the south of France without a second thought.
The e-C4 has a 50kWh battery to power its electric motor that delivers 135 horsepower. This takes it from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in 9.7 seconds with a top speed of 93mph (150mph). The e-C4 has three driving modes Eco, Normal and Sport. These vary the engine power and can be used to boost the driving range.
These modes and the battery size will suit most families. The overall drive and acceleration are smooth. Those that like to punch the accelerator might feel the top-end growl is missing, but for most who want a family car this shouldn’t be an issue. It’s by no means a slug but for many the range and getting the most from a charge will be more important than trying race around in the e-C4.
When it comes to range the e-C4 has more solid credentials offering up to 217 miles (349km) of motoring from a full charge. It can also be charged up to 80 percent in 30 minutes with a 100 kWh fast charger.
The price of the new e-C4 ranges from £29,000 to £31,500 (including Plug-in Car Grant) in the UK depending on trim level. When compared to its rivals, such as the BMW i3 or Hyundai’s Kona Electric, the price is competitive thanks to being well equipped and such a comfortable drive.
Citroen’s first all-electric car is stylish and in keeping with modern design, but the comfort and easy driving experience are where the e-C4 shines. The drive is typically Citroen in that it’s smooth and easy on the body, yet everything remains contemporary and user friendly. The e-C4 is a cosy, pleasurable and sensible car that is ideal for zero-emissions sustainable family driving.