Citroen hedged its bets when it launched the all-new C4 in 2021. A cross between a hatchback and a crossover, it’s available with a choice of conventional petrol and diesel engines, plus a pure electric version (badged e-C4).
Priced from £30,995, the attractive e-C4 is at the affordable end of the EV market, where its most obvious competitors are the Volkswagen ID.3 and Nissan Leaf, plus newcomers, the MG4 and ORA Funky Cat.
The electric powertrain at the heart of the e-C4 is the same as the one used by its Stellantis sister brands, Peugeot and Vauxhall.
In other words, there’s a 100kW electric motor producing 134bhp and 192 lb-ft (300Nm) of torque, combined with a 50kWh battery.
Performance isn’t brisk by EV standards, but it can still out accelerate most ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) family hatchbacks on the road. For the record, it can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.0 seconds and reach a top speed 93mph.
Officially, it can travel 217 miles on a single charge, while 100kW rapid charging capability means the battery can be topped up to 80% in as little as 30 minutes (53 minutes using a 50kW charger). If you have a home wallbox fitted, it will fully charge overnight.
There’s virtually no difference between the e-C4 and its ICE siblings. Both sport distinctive SUV-coupe styling and a slightly raised ride height, and both are front-wheel drive.
Citroen says the raked roofline is a nod to the popular GS of the 1970s, and there’s no doubt that the new design is much more appealing than the previous generation C4.
Inside, the cabin has also moved on in terms of quality and technology. It’s spacious too, front and back, while the boot offers 380 litres of luggage capacity, rising to 1,250 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
A 10-inch floating infotainment touchscreen in the centre console with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility gives access to everything from audio to climate control and sat nav.
It all works well enough, and it’s good to see that there are shortcuts for the air con and heated seats below, but the navigation system’s graphics aren’t the most sophisticated and could be bolder and the screen size is on the modest side.
Comfort is one of Citroen’s USPs these days and the e-C4 is no exception. Its generously padded ‘Advanced Comfort’ seats tick all the right boxes.
It’s also well equipped with goodies such as LED headlights, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and speed sign recognition all standard.
On the road the e-C4 is a breath of fresh air (literally) and easy to drive – just select Drive using the dinky little gear selector in the centre console and you’re away.
It feels swifter than its official acceleration time suggests, while its top speed of 93mph is academic, because driving at that sort of pace saps your range, as with any electric car.
The ride is supple thanks to Citroen’s patent ‘Progressive Hydraulic Cushions’, while light steering makes it ideal for city driving too. Naturally, it’s also refined.
There are three driving modes – Eco, Normal and Sport – and the latter certainly ups the fun factor. If you have a healthy inner Scrooge, then Eco or Normal will do just fine, along with a dedicated ‘B’ mode for ramping up the regenerative braking on downhill stretches.
On faster, flowing roads it’s more comfortable than sporty. For instance, there’s some body lean if you hustle it, but let’s be honest, the e-C4 is more about the smooth driving experience than burning rubber.
Frankly, we only have a few gripes. A range closer to 250 miles would be good, because in real world driving you can expect closer to 160 miles.
Some of the plastic in the cabin feels a bit scratchy, while the little gear selector is a little fiddly at times and the rear view is compromised by the slim window and large spoiler.