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 £33,395 - £35,545
Used price £22,935 - £28,545
Used monthly cost From £572 per month
Fuel Economy 3.7 - 4.1 miles/kWh
Insurance group 22 How much is it to insure?
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 WR Jones on

Launched alongside its petrol- and diesel-engined C4 siblings, is this all-electric Citroen e-C4. It's part of its maker's strategy to launch its new cars simultaneously with internal combustion engines and EV drivetrains.

One of the first things you'll notice about the e-C4 is that aside from a few detail trim differences, it looks identical to the regular C4 – 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.

Something the e-C4 is short of are direct rivals, with the Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen ID.3 being the only electric family hatchbacks for now. Slightly leftfield is the estate-only MG 5 EV, which majors on value for money.

Stylish take on the family car

The styling of the Citroen e-C4 is definitely a talking point. It's a sleek coupe-like design with lots of Citroen's current design cues. It gets the interesting split-level lighting arrangement up front first seen on the facelifted C3, side cladding and wheelarch extensions that echo the company's SUVs, and a high-level rear spoiler, which gives it a dramatic profile, as well as slightly spoiling rearward visibility. It will be interesting to see whether buyers see it as a sleek SUV with a sloping roof or a chunky hatchback. 

Citroen says it's highly aerodynamic, which equates low wind noise at speed and maximum battery efficiency on the motorway, the former at least certainly rings true when driving.

Customers have the option of choosing up to 31 combinations of colour packs, although this is a tad misleading as there are only seven shades for paintwork itself.

What's it like inside?

Almost exactly like the petrol and diesel C4s, save for a handful of differenes specific to the electric model.

The C4 gets an all-digital dash and infotainment set-up, which is standard fare for Citroens of late, but it's more more stylish than its close relations. 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, save for the outdated sat-nav graphics, and the smooth ride means you won't make a meal of operating it on the move. 

Plus there's a good voice control system for many functions as well as - make sure you're sitting down for this - the return of physical buttons and knobs for the climate control. Praise be.

Drive is selected via a silvered toggle in the centre console, which looks slick enough, but is far larger than necessary - dash-mounted push buttons would have sufficed and created another storage cubby between the driver and passenger.

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 brackets 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.

It has a 380-litre boot area with the seats up, 1,250 litres with them folded, so there's no compromise on space compared with its petrol and diesel siblings - a result of the car being designed to be available as a battery version from the outset. You can also vary the boot floor height, which 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.

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.

Like most electric cars, how rapidly the batteries' reserves deplete depends on how you drive it. Confine yourself mainly to urban journeys and the distance covered is very closely aligned with the amount the overal range has reduced by, but at higher speeds it does drop more severely, so bear that in mind if you plan on covering longer journeys - you may well need to stop at motorway services for an en route recharge.

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 passengers. 

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. While the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Volkswagen ID.3 will do the same run in less than eight seconds, this doesn't really put the Citroen at a disadvantage. Neck-snapping acceleration might be a hoot once or twice in a family car, but it soon provides little substance other than draining your battery more swiftly.

For a car that is so biased towards comfort, the e-C4's smooth and linear power delivery is perfect. 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, although it's ever so slightly inferior to that offered in petrol C4s.

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 traction, 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 considerable margin, though VW's ID.3 feels more conventional to drive, walking a measured line between good handling and comfort.

Which versions are available?

The e-C4 comes in three flavours, all powered by the same 136hp electric motor driving the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. The entry-level Sense Plus 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 Shine, 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 Plus model gets dark tinted rear windows, Citroen's Safety Pack Plus (with adaptive cruise control), keyless entry and start, and automatic high beam headlights.

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

Citroën e-C4 Hatchback rivals