4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

All-electric family hatch is comfortable and stands out from the crowd

Citroën e-C4 Hatchback (21 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £32,180 - £34,330
Used price £24,335 - £27,555
Used monthly cost From £607 per month
Fuel Economy 3.7 - 4.1 miles/kWh
New

PROS

  • Refined drive with excellent comfort
  • Striking styling means it stands out
  • Ample interior room and luggage space

CONS

  • Disappointing battery range
  • If you want a sporty car, look elsewhere
  • Doesn't feel as nippy as its rivals

Citroën e-C4 Hatchback rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

The all-electric Citroen e-C4 is being launched alongside the petrol- and diesel-powered C4 hatchback, and is part of its maker's strategy to launch its new cars simultaneously with internal combustion engines and EV drivetrains. The first thing you'll notice is that aside from a few detail trim differences, the two cars look identical – ideal for those looking to move to electric without shouting about it.

This is a tactic that Citroen's sister companies, Peugeot and Vauxhall, are employing with the e-208, e-2008, Corsa-e and Mokka-e – which is no surprise as these cars extensively share under-the-skin technology. Citroen will be unique for now in offering its mid-sized family hatchback in petrol, diesel and electric forms from launch.

The e-C4 doesn't actually have many direct rivals, with the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen ID.3 being the only electric family hatchbacks for now. But if you extend your horizons to small SUVs, you could include the Peugeot e-2008 and even the MG ZS EV, which major on style and comfort or value respectively.

Stylish new take on the family car

The styling of the Citroen e-C4 is definitely a talking point. It's a sleek fastback design with lots of Citroen's current design cues. 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 a high-level rear spoiler, which gives it a dramatic profile.

Citroen says it's highly aerodynamic, which should mean low wind noise at speed and maximum battery efficiency on the motorway. It will be interesting to see whether buyers see it as a sleek SUV with a sloping roof or a chunky hatchback. Customers have the option of choosing up to 31 combinations of body colours and colour packs.

What's it like inside?

The C4 gets an all-digital dash and infotainment set-up, which is standard fare for Citroen. But it's more integrated and far more stylish than its sister cars. You will need to make extensive use of the 10.0-inch touchscreen for many of the car's functions – no chore as its display is bright and crisp, and the smooth ride means you won't make a meal of operating it on the move.

There's plenty of space in the centre console, easily-accessible USB-C 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.

You'll feel relaxed thanks to the latest version of Citroen's Advanced Comfort seats. They're wide and heavily padded, with high-density foam below a thick 15mm layer of textured foam just beneath the upholstery. If they're similar to those in the C5 Aircross, then the C4 will be very comfortable on a longer run.

It has a 380-litre boot area with the seats up, which rivals that of the latest Volkswagen Golf, with a two-level boot floor. That split boot floor means that with the panel in its uppermost position, there is no lip to get your heavy objects over.

Citroen e-C4 charging and range

The e-C4 features a 136hp electric motor and 50kWh battery. It has an official WLTP range of 217 miles and supports up to 100kW rapid 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.

For regular home charging a Type 2 charging cable is included as standard, allowing a 7.4kW public or domestic wallbox charger to reach a 100% charge in seven hours and 30 minutes. From launch, all customers will be offered a Pod Point Solo Smart Charger for free.

In our brief drive, we found the range would readily deplete more quickly than the miles covered, which given the car's already modest range could be a concern if you regularly take the car on longer journeys or are reliant on public charging. We'll test this more thoroughly in the coming weeks, as our first drive was quite limited and was mainly conducted on faster roads – in the city and driven gently, the range situation may improve markedly.

What's it like to drive?

It should come as no surprise that Citroen has built a serene and refined environment for the driver, and a hugely comfortable ride for passengers. The bright and airy interior create a good impression, which continues when you sit in the soft and surprisingly supportive driver's seat.

Acceleration from rest lacks the immediacy of response you get with some rival electric cars – an impression borne out by its 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds. That's perfectly acceptable in the context of petrol and diesel rivals, but feels off the pace compared with electric alternatives, such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Hyundai Kona Electric, which will do the same run in less than eight seconds.

But for a car that is so biased towards comfort, its smooth and linear power delivery is perfectly fine. Refinement at speed is impressive, with low levels of wind and road noise, while insulation from the road is very effective. Ride quality is – as you'd expect – excellent, and seemingly squashes road imperfections out of existence.

Handling and roadholding are as you'd expect for a car with such a smooth ride. In corners it can feel a little unwieldy and unwilling to turn-in – but this doesn't detract from the overall levels of grip, which are safe and secure. There's a little bodyroll, which could discourage you from driving too quickly. It's better to drive than the Nissan Leaf by some margin, though, which is probably its closest electric rival.

What versions are available?

The e-C4 comes in three flavours, all powered by the same 136hp electric motor. The entry-level Sense model gets LED headlights, a 10.0-inch touchscreen for the infortainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. it also comes with a impressive suite of safety it including Automomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Assist and Driver Attention Alert.

You can move up to the Sense Plus, which adds Citroen Connect Nav, a tablet computer holder for front seat passengers, LED interior lighting, and a rear parking camera. The range-topping Shine model gets dark tinted rear windows, Citroen's Safety Pack Plus (with adaptive cruise control), keyless entry and start, and automatic high beam headlights.

The e-C4 is available to order now with deliveries to UK customers commencing in February 2021.

Read on to see how we rate the Citroen e-C4...

Citroën e-C4 Hatchback rivals