Long-term tests

Citroen e-C4 Sense Plus: long term test review

First report: our electric Citroen e-C4 family car ticks lots of boxes right from the start

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict

Our Citroen e-C4 has made a very decent start to life as a family car. It’s easy to use, comfortable, and spacious enough – while bringing the sort of ultra-low running costs that you can only really expect from a pure-electric car. We’re looking forward to getting to know the Citroen better over the next six months.

  • Mileage: 900
  • Economy: 3.1 miles/kWh

It’s perhaps the biggest question facing anyone buying a new family car today: should they go petrol, diesel or electric? The conundrum is obviously one that resonated at PSA (now Stellantis), because it developed its small-car platform (CMP) to be compatible with all three powertrains. And then some canny engineer at Citroen decided it would be a good base for the latest C4.

The vehicle here, then, is Auto Express’s latest fleet car, which will go into daily use as the McIlroy family runabout. And we have chosen zero-emissions motoring – the e-C4, in other words – reasoning that 99 per cent of our journeys will fall well within the comfort zone on range.

First a quick recap on specs: the e-CMP platform, stretched to its max for the C4, has a outright battery capacity of 50kWh, so there’s around 45kWh available for use. That delivers an official range on the WLTP test cycle of 217 miles, while powering a single 134bhp front motor that can take the car from 0-62mph in nine seconds.

The fully laden Shine Plus edition of the car comes with everything but the kitchen sink – wireless smartphone charging, heated leather seats, and the like – but we were keen to have the striking Elixir Red paint job, and the build slots guided us towards the most basic e-C4, Sense Plus, instead.

We shouldn’t feel short-changed, though, because the basics are all present and correct: LED lights and dual-zone climate control along with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android and Apple connectivity. There’s a digital instrument panel and a head-up display, too – and all for just under £31k after the Plug-in Car Grant. Our car’s paint is a £700 option, taking the total to £31,595, but on sensible PCP terms this e-C4 would cost you just over £400 per month – while offering you the chance to claw back a chunk of that in fuel savings.

The key test over the next six months will be whether the e-C4 is a good-enough family car as well as a solid-enough EV. But it’s off to a flying start, for I can scarcely recall another car that has fitted so neatly into a regular usage pattern. The e-C4 (already labelled ‘Jacques’ by my son, and referred to thus by the whole family) is used for all our urban miles – school runs, shopping trips and the like – and gets charged every third or fourth day, when the battery reaches half capacity.

Around town the car’s ride is more than acceptable – comfy, even – on Citroen’s trick hydraulic-cushion suspension. And the 380-litre boot and rear-seat accommodation have done a solid job of coping with our seven-year-old son too.

And what about longer journeys? The UK’s emergence from Covid-19 restrictions  has some way to go before these become regular, but on the outings so far I’ve learned that there’s not much to worry about. I could get distressed about how quickly the predicted range goes down on motorways, for example, but when the Citroen still has a third of its battery left at the end of the day, I know that I’ll be sitting back, happy at having managed a full day’s travel at a cost of about £1.80.

On fleet since:May 2021
Price new:£30,895 (£31,595) after plug-in car grant
Engine:50kWh battery, single electric motor, 134bhp
CO2/tax:0g/km/£0
Options:Premium metallic paint (£700)
Insurance*:Group: 22 Quote: £TBC
Mileage:900
Economy:3.1 miles/kWh
Any problems?None so far

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