Pros: Competitive pricing and spec, comfort and refinement, fast charging capability
Cons: More practical rivals, very light steering, some rivals have more range
Citroën’s new C4 has arrived in Ireland and it launches with striking new styling inside and out, but the big talking point is that it is now available with electric power for the first time. In addition to petrol and diesel variants of the C4, Citroën is offering a new all-electric ë-C4 model, boasting 350 kilometres of range, 100 kilowatt fast charging and a competitive entry price tag of €31,730. We recently tested the ë-C4 on Irish roads to see what it is like to live with and how it compares to the other popular electric hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen ID.3 and Nissan LEAF.
The ë-C4 is unmistakeably-Citroën from the outside, and it boasts a sharp front end design with slimline LED light clusters, a sloping roofline and a distinctive black-coloured boot lid. It rides quite high off the ground with 18-inch alloy wheels as standard and contrasting blue-coloured plastics on the bumpers, and as such it has quite a lot of road presence. Seven colour choices are available, and the Olbia Blue Metallic option on our test car is a vibrant option, although it is a €585 optional upgrade. Features that separate the electric model from the regular petrol and diesel versions include ë-C4 badges on the boot lid and quarter panels, while the charge port is located where you would normally find the fuel filler cap.
Inside, the ë-C4 is modernistic with a 5.5-inch digital display in front of the driver, a 10-inch touch screen infotainment screen on the dashboard and exceptionally comfortable seats with extra cushioning. The touch screen system is straightforward to use and it also features Apple Car Play and Android Auto as standard, though the screen is located quite far away from the driver and so you have to stretch to reach it. On the centre console there are physical buttons for controlling the air conditioning and other functions, while there are useful storage pockets for your smartphone with a built-in wireless charger, numerous USB charge points and an adjustable drive’s armrest with additional storage underneath. Our test car is fitted with a clever tablet device holder which is built-into the dashboard for the front seat passenger.
ë-C4 Rear Seats & Boot Space
The ë-C4 is quite spacious up front, though the sloping roofline means there is less headroom in the rear seats for taller passengers. That said, the rear seats offer good legroom with two sets of ISOFIX mounts and a folding armrest with cupholders built-in on this higher specification model. The ë-C4 has a 380 litre boot which is the same size as the Volkswagen Golf, and there is additional storage underneath the floor for stowing away the charge cable. Unlike many other electric cars which get storage space underneath the bonnet known as a ‘frunk’, the ë-C4 does not have a storage area underneath the bonnet.
ë-C4 Performance & Drive:
The ë-C4 boasts a 50kWh battery and a 100kw electric motor that sends 136 horsepower to the front wheels. Rather than prioritising performance and acceleration, Citroën has focused on making it relaxing to drive. There are three different driving modes available through a button on the centre console; Eco, Normal and Sport, but there is little need to adjust this as the deafult normal mode is ideal for daily driving. Regenerative braking can be adjusted by pressing ‘B’ on the drive selector, though the regenerative braking is gentle and one-pedal-driving isn't available like in other electric cars. Out on the road, it is easy and relaxing to drive, and the steering is very light which is great for parking manoeuvres but the steering feel is too light at faster speeds. The ë-C4 has a claimed range of 350 kilometres from a single charge, while it also offers 100kW rapid charging so it is possible to charge up to 80% percent battery capacity in just 30 minutes with a public rapid charger. A full charge at 7.4kW with home with a standard wallbox charge will take seven hours and 30 minutes. During our time with the ë-C4, we achieved 13.5kWh/100 kilometres in economy which is quite impressive and this was varied driving over mixed roads.
ë-C4 Pricing and specification:
Prices for the ë-C4 start from €31,730 in Ireland including the SEAI Grant and VRT relief and it is well-equipped with four grades of specification to choose from, Feel, Feel Pack, Flair and Flair Pack. The entry Feel model gets 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, automatic air conditioning, keyless entry, a reversing camera, parking sensors, rain sensing wipers, electric mirrors and lots more. Our test car is the highest specification Flair Pack model with a price tag of €36,603 including grants, and it gets various upgrades such as Highway Driver Assist, leather upholstery and an upgraded sound system.
If you are looking for an electric hatchback that is high on comfort, and offers decent range, coupled with fast charging speeds, then the ë-C4 is one to consider. It offers an ideal combination of spec, practicality and technology at a competitive price point. Other similarly-priced electric cars such as the MG ZS EV and Peugeot e-2008 offer more space and practicality, while the ë-C4 isn’t as fast as many other electric cars such as the Volkswagen ID.3. That said, Citroën’s has made a strong debut in the electric class with the ë-C4, and it is an encouraging example of what is to come from the French brand in the coming years as it focuses on electrification.
Model: Citroën ë-C4 Flair Pack
Prices from: €31,730 including SEAI grant and VRT relief
Price as tested: €36,603 including SEAI grant and VRT relief
Battery and drive: 50kWh lithium-ion, single electric motor, front-wheel-drive
Max charge speed: 100kW
Max range: 350 kilometres
0-100km/h: 9.7 seconds
Top speed: 150km/h