New Citroen C4 offers petrol, diesel and electric

  • New Citroen C4/e-C4 available in petrol, diesel and electric forms
  • Striking new styling marks it out from the crowd
  • Excellent ride comfort and refinement promised by Citroen

Citroen has revealed a two-pronged attack on the family hatchback market, launching the C4 in conventional petrol and diesel plus electric forms. Known as the C4 and e-C4, the new car follows parent company PSA's strategy of launching its cars simultaneously with internal combustion engines and electric drivetrains.

The C4 has its work cut out – the rivals are particularly strong in the family hatchback market, with the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Kia Ceed all setting high standards to beat.

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But Citroen will be unique in this market sector in offering its mid-sized family hatchback in petrol, diesel and electric forms from launch – beating PSA sister brand Peugeot. PSA brands Peugeot and Vauxhall do offer their smaller 208 and Corsa in electric form, whereas Citroen's C3 is petrol/diesel only.

New Citroen C4 and e-C4: engines and performance

Citroen e-C4 (2020) charging

Citroen’s e-C4 will feature a 136hp electric motor and 50kWh battery. Citroen claims a 217-mile range and up to 100kW fast charging, allowing 80% of the battery to be charged in 30 minutes. Citroen says the e-C4 is capable of 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds and has a top speed of 93mph. The e-C4 joins the C5 Aircross Hybrid, Ami, e-Berlingo and e-SpaceTourer in its electrified line-up.

Alongside the electric version, the C4 will be avaliable with three petrol engines and two diesels. Your choices are the same as the Peugeot 208 and DS 3 Crossback, so there is a 100, 130 and 155hp petrol or a 110 and 130hp diesel. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the higher powered petrol engines and 130hp diesel optionally available with an eight-speed automatic.

The C4 twins should be refined long-distance cars, as they benefit from features from what the company calls its Citroen Advanced Comfort programme. So, like the C5 Aircross, you get Progressive Hydraulic suspension and Advanced Comfort seats (with optional massage function). In the larger SUV, you get a soft, squidgy ride, low noise levels and supportive seats.

Citroen C4 (2020) interior view

Citroen C4: design and interior

The styling of the C4 and e-C4 is going to be a talking point. It's a sleek fastback design with lots of Citroen's current design cues. Citroen says its highly aerodynamic, which should mean good fuel consumption and low wind noise at speed. It gets the interesting split-level lighting arrangement up front first seen on the C3, side cladding and wheelarch extensions that echo the company's SUVs, and and a high-level rear spoiler, which gives it a dramatic profile.

Inside, it gets a development of C5 Aircross's all-digital dash and infotainment set-up – which means extensive use of the touchscreen for many of the car's functions. The screen looks big, and as is on-trend, it sits proud of the dashboard to become a styling feature in its own right. There appears to be plenty of space in the centre console, easily-accessible USB sockets and storage bins between the seats, too. Citroen also points out a range of accessories and options that includes a wireless phone charger, head-up display and tablet stands for the front passenger.

Citroen also claims a 380-litre boot area, which rivals that of the latest Volkswagen Golf, with a two-level boot floor.

What this means for you

For those who want a family car that isn't an SUV, but hints at them, there are plenty of hatchbacks to choose from. The Citroen C4 will need to be good to stand out in a crowd of excellent choices. However, with its bold styling and the option to go electric, it should certainly attract some attention. It replaces the C4 Cactus, which although flawed, was highly efficient and comfortable.

The option of an electric version is very interesting – and since we lost the Volkswagen e-Golf, it is one of very few electric choices in this class. Its main rival will be the Nissan Leaf, which although ageing in several areas, does still offer a competitive range and efficiency. And that's before the Volkswagen ID.3 comes on stream.

Citroen hopes that the new C4 and e-C4 will appeal to a wider range of buyers as a more-rounded product than the old Cactus. It follows on from a fine line of small family cars from Citroen – but in today's competitive market, being stylish and comfortable won't be enough. What Citroen needs to do is also get the quality and the solidity right.

>> Read more: The Parkers guide to electric cars

Citroen C4 (2020) front view