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New Citroen e-SpaceTourer Business Edition 2022 review

Business Edition trim brings some significant savings to the Citroen e-SpaceTourer line-up, but the 50kWh battery limits range

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

Replacing the UK fleet of diesel commercial vehicles with models using lower emission powertrains needs to happen sooner rather than later, and the ë-SpaceTourer’s smooth, quiet nature makes it more pleasant to drive than fossil fuel powered alternatives. This Business Edition trim is much cheaper than the top spec Flair model, too. However, a 50kWh battery limits its range quite severely.

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Citroen’s commercial vehicle department is pushing to phase diesel powertrains out of its lineup, and as a result we’ve seen a recent influx of fully electric powertrains to sit alongside - or replace completely - the old combustion options. That includes the brand's range of van-based people movers, like the ë-SpaceTourer

Based on the Dispatch van, the ë-SpaceTourer is equipped with nine seats, making it an alternative for large families seeking something from the dwindling MPV market or, much more likely, as zero-emission transport for private hire firms.

Citroen has tapped into the Stellantis group’s electric car knowhow here; the electrical architecture in this large people-mover is the same as you’ll find beneath the skin of the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot e-2008, among others. 

What this means is that a single electric motor drives the front wheels, and its energy is supplied by a 50kWh battery located in the floor. It supports 100kWh rapid charging through a CCS plug on the front wing, which means that, in ideal conditions, a charge from 0-80 per cent can take a little over 30 minutes. 

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The extra charge port is one of very few subtle ways to tell the electric model apart from the previous combustion options. From the outside, the grille panel above the number plate is faired-in because the electric powertrain has reduced cooling demands, while there’s very subtle badging, too. Inside, the dashboard is near-identical, but a power reserve gauge takes the place of a rev counter. 

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From a driving point of view, the electric powertrain’s changes compared to the diesel engines most drivers will be used to in Citroen’s vans are all positive. The motor is nearly silent, which combined with a complete absence of vibration, makes it much more relaxing to drive. Then there’s the throttle response, which is much keener when you need acceleration, and much easier to modulate when you just want to drive smoothly or creep into a tight parking spot. 

Even in the lower powered Normal and Eco modes, performance is fine but to access the full 134bhp and 300Nm you need to engage Sport mode via a small switch beside the gear selector. It’s great for darting away from traffic lights, but probably not the most comfortable sensation for the other two rows of occupants sitting further back.

The rest of the ë-SpaceTourer experience is fairly unremarkable. It’s reasonably comfortable both for driver and passengers, and the light steering and tight turning circle make it quite manoeuvrable even in tight spots.

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So it all sounds positive so far, but there is one downside, and that’s range. While that 50kWh battery officially gives over 200 miles of range in a Corsa, the ë-SpaceTourer offers only 135 miles. That larger, heavier, less aerodynamic body really takes its toll on the distance it can travel between recharges. On an admittedly cold day, when single-figure Celsius temperatures reduce the effectiveness of the battery, we were struggling to get near two miles per kilowatt-hour, and we were looking at a range of around 85 miles between plug-ins. 

And that was with just one person on board; nine-up, that figure is likely to drop significantly. Considering that a journey from Heathrow Airport to central London is about 20 miles, even a gentle right foot isn’t going to see the Citroen cover many trips. 

In this Business Edition trim, however, it’s much better value than the Flair model - after the government plug-in grant, it costs £31,795 to the top spec model’s £47,495. In terms of standard kit, this Business Edition has most of the basics, including air conditioning, and a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  For a vehicle this size, we’d certainly recommend the optional rear parking sensors, which cost £180 while the 11kW on-board charger (£300) will enable quicker top-ups for businesses that have their fast charge facilities.

Model:Citroen ë-SpaceTourer Business Edition
Price: £31,795
Powertrain: 50kWh battery, single e-motor
Power: 134bhp/300Nm
Transmission: Single-speed, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 13.1 seconds
Top speed: 81 mph
Range: 135 miles
Charging: 100kW (0-80% in 32 mins)
On sale: Now
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Chief reviewer

Alex joined Auto Express as staff writer in early 2018, helping out with news, drives, features, and the occasional sports report. His current role of Chief reviewer sees him head up our road test team, which gives readers the full lowdown on our comparison tests.

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