New Citroen e-C4 2021 review
The new Citroen e-C4 is a great entry point into all-electric family transport
The e-C4 is an excellent first attempt at an all-electric family car from Citroen, with a genuinely usable range and solid recharging capability. It’s a welcome return to form for the brand, focusing on – and delivering – good levels of refinement, comfort and practicality. Couple that with the e-C4’s affordable pricing structure compared with some competitors, and we think this electric version of Citroen’s new family hatchback is the pick of the range.
The Citroen C4 might have been a fixture in the brand’s range for close to 20 years, but it’s been an also-ran in a class full of great cars. Compared with the previous humdrum family hatch, though, this reimagined model feels much fresher – and in e-C4 form it offers early adopters an EV alternative with genuine ability.
The e-C4 is Citroen’s first passenger electric car based on the Stellantis group’s e-CMP architecture, and focuses on comfort and refinement with an easy-going nature. Its steering is light and there’s not much road noise, despite the fact that all models come with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.
All e-C4s also feature Citroen’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushions, which offer more comfort at the extremes of suspension travel for a more forgiving ride. It’s considerably softer than Volkswagen’s ID.3 family EV, for example, with only deep craters sending shudders through the cabin.
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What’s more, the electric model is more comfortable than the equivalent petrol car. The added 350kg from the 50kWh battery pack means the EV’s body isn’t so upset by rough tarmac, and because that weight is mounted low down in the chassis, there’s a bit less body roll through corners, too.
The e-C4 has a 134bhp electric motor that also delivers 260Nm of torque – enough for a top speed of 93mph and a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds. Performance is adequate, then, but maybe not all that relevant in a car so focused on efficiency and reducing its environmental impact. Where the e-C4 really shines is from 0-30mph; with all of the powertrain’s torque available from the moment you touch the throttle, it zips off the line – handy when driving in town.
This is minimal-effort motoring, especially with the powertrain’s ‘B’ mode engaged. The setting activates a more aggressive regenerative-braking mode, meaning that when you lift off the accelerator there’s enough deceleration to drive using only the right pedal to trim your speed. The set-up feels intuitive after only the first set of traffic lights. Providing you give yourself enough room, the regen brings the car to a controlled halt gracefully and all on its own, which fits well with this model’s relaxed driving style.
The e-C4’s 50kWh battery pack gives a claimed range of up to 217 miles. This isn’t as much as the entry-level ID.3’s 263 miles, but there’s still enough on offer to make the e-C4 a very usable family EV. Also, with 100kW rapid-charging capability, an 80 per cent top-up takes only 30 minutes, while a 7kW wallbox will fully replenish the battery in seven-and-a-half hours.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the entry-level e-C4 Sense Plus is over £1,000 cheaper than the base ID.3. Kit is still good, with auto LED lights and dual-zone air-con as standard, while the infotainment features a 10-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a 5.5-inch digital dash with a head-up display.
We tested the Shine Plus range-topper, which costs from £32,545 – almost £3,000 less than a mid-spec ID.3 Business. Despite this, it comes with heated leather seats, an upgraded stereo, wireless smartphone charging and a more extensive suite of driver-assistance technology, including semi-autonomous adaptive cruise, and AEB.
The 380-litre load space is a mere five litres down on the ID.3’s and, crucially, no less than the petrol model’s. The boot floor is also the same height as the rear bench, which creates a large, flat area for long items with the seats folded. There’s also a handy cubby underneath for the charging cables. We found only a couple of foibles during our time with the e-C4. Firstly, the funky spoiler impacts rear-screen visibility.
The sloping roofline also robs a little bit of back-seat headroom, but it’s only really a problem if you’re more than six feet tall. Otherwise, room in the rear is acceptable, and certainly enough for children. It means that, on the whole, the Citroen e-C4 makes for a solid choice of comfortable family transport in an increasingly competitive market.
|Model:||Citroen e-C4 Shine Plus|
|Price:||£32,545 (incl. PiCG)|
|Battery:||50kWh lithium-ion, single electric motor|
|Transmission:||Single-speed automatic,front-wheel drive|