Whilst some car manufacturers launch electric cars that are completely different to their petrol & diesel models, the PSA Group has taken a different approach. Both the Peugeot 208 & e-208 & the Vauxhall Corsa & Corsa-e, re offered with a choice of petrol, diesel or electric engines. Whichever you choose, the electric version is almost almost identical to their petrol or diesel brethren, with just a few subtle indicators on the electric versions, that make them visually different. The latest PSA model to receive this treatment, is the Citroen C4, launched simultaneously with the all-electric version, the e-C4.
The latest C4 & e-C4 model features an all-new body shape, which combines the shape of a hatchback, with some SUV design forms, including side cladding & wheel arch extensions. The rear quarter is also raised, thanks to 156mm of ground clearance. There’s new LED V-shaped front & rear lighting signatures & the rear end features a high-level rear spoiler, a split rear screen & a chunky rear bumper.
The e-C4 has short front & rear overhangs, which creates a long wheelbase of 2,670 mm. The car itself measures 4,360 mm long, 1,800 mm wide & 1,525 mm high. Thanks to its elevated stature, it offers a higher “eye-point” than the competition at 1.22 m, increasing visibility while driving & giving front seat passengers an SUV-like feel.
Because the electric battery is spread underneath the car, the e-C4 boot matches the space of the standard C4 with 380 litres available. A two-position boot floor enables a flat load floor when the rear seats are lowered, while the e-C4 has an underfloor compartment for keeping its charging cables in.
The e-C4 is power by a 100% electric 100 kW engine, with 136 bhp & 260Nm of torque. It offers a WLTP range of 217 miles, with zero tail pipes emissions & a 0-62 mph time of 9.7 seconds when in Sport mode & a top speed of 93 mph. The 50 kWh battery pack is rated as high-voltage 400 V Li-ion.
When piloting the e-C4, you can choose from three driving modes; Eco, Normal or Sport, allowing the driver to choose between performance or eco-driving. Charging at a public charging station using a 100 kW charger, will see 80% of charge completed in 30 minutes. At home using a 7kW 32 A wallbox charger, a full recharge would take 7.5 hours.http://www.rolecserv.com/home-chargingThe battery can also be recharged using a standard domestic socket.
Inside, the e-C4 is very DS-like, featuring as it does, softly shaped door panels & multiple storage compartments. There is a new chevron grain pattern on the dashboard & the interior colour schemes coordinate the seats with the door panels. And, e-C4 features the Citroën Advanced Comfort® programme, first seen in the C5 Aircross, so you get large comfortable seats with plenty of adjustment options.
The wide dashboard contains some clever storage areas. For example, above the decent sized glove box is a pull out dashboard tray, which is a Smart Pad Support (CitroënTM) with mobile phone storage. In effect, it’s an iPad holder so that front seat passengers can watch a film or TV programme whilst on the move. A clever as well as a useful addition.
In the centre, at the top of the dashboard, you’ll find the 10″ touchscreen, with a physical chrome dial & chevron motif. Traditional dual-zone automatic climate control buttons, are located underneath this, so there’s no fiddling with the touchscreen to turn the temperature up or down. There’s also a digital instrument panel & large colour head-up display.
Buyers have their choice of three trim-levels on the e-C4: Sense Plus, Shine or Shine Plus. All models feature LED headlights, 18″ alloys, a 10″ touchscreen, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, plus rear parking sensors & dual-zone climate control.
The e-C4 Sense Plus cost’s from £29,180. This version adds a head-up display, SatNav, a Smart Pad Support (CitroënTM) with mobile phone storage, LED interior lighting, two USB sockets, a rear parking camera & power-folding door mirrors.
Next up is the e-C4 Shine, which costs from £30,130. With this model you also get tinted rear windows, adaptive cruise control, active blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry, front & rear parking sensors & a heated steering wheel.
Range topping Shine Plus costs £31,330, with further goodies, including a wireless smartphone charging pad, leather & textile upholstery, heated front seats, a premium stereo system with a subwoofer & Citroen’s highway driver assist system, which can automatically adjust the speed & direction of the vehicle under motorway driving conditions.
Customer’s are able to configure their car to suit their preferences, with 31 exterior colour combinations & six ambiences inside the cabin. One of those colour packs – Anodised Blue – is exclusive to the e-C4 variant & features on the doors & on the dashboard. e-C4 also gets its own exclusive design of 18″ diamond-cut wheels & a monogrammed “ë” on the front doors & the tailgate of the vehicle.
Build quality is good & features quite a lot of the design details you’ll find inside both the DS3 & DS7 models. It’s certainly the best quality interior of any C4 this far.
As with the petrol C4, all the car controls are within easy physical reach & the menu options & functions accessed via the 10″ touchscreen, are simple to understand. The separate heating controls are an added bonus, so you can adjust the to your liking, whilst keeping your eyes on the road ahead.
We sampled the DAB radio & connected our iPhone to Apple Car Play. The connection was seamless & a couple of hands-free calls were made en route. It’s certainly a nice cabin to be in & with the added tablet holder fitted to our test car, passengers can be entertained as well.
Like all EV’s, the e-C4 is deathly quiet on the road, so you do tend to feel most of the bumps as you move along. On the motorway, a little road & wind noise is noticeable, primarily because there’s no engine noise to blank this out.
As far as difference to the standard C4 automatic, there’s a starter button to the left of the steering wheel & a gear switch rather than a lever, where you can activate the regeneration function. You can select from Drive, Neutral or Park. When you’re in Drive, you pull the stick back once & you go into B, which creates more brake regeneration. It’s very simple to use & when activated doesn’t feel at all jerky nor spoil the drive & if used regularly, will top up the battery as you make your way around urban areas.
The e-C4 comes with a choice of three driving modes. Eco, which slow’s everything down & is perfect for the motorway. Normal, which gives you a bit more get up & go, useful in urban traffic & Sport, which sharpens up the throttle response & the steering, making it the most enjoyable on winding, undulating roads. The drive mode selector is located on the console of the automatic gearbox, so it’s easy to change these.
Past experience tells that, if driven carefully a 200 mile range in the e-C4 is infinitely achievable. However, we would caution that if driven at constant motorway speeds, this is more likely to be around 170 miles.
Fitted with the same battery technology & range as the smaller Peugeot e-208 & Vauxhall Corsa, what the e-C4’s got going for it over & above these, is that it’s a larger family sized car, has a bigger more useful boot & there’s somewhere to store your charging cables. The e-C4 maybe electric, but it’s unmistakably a Citroen. For me, that has to be a good thing as it’s refreshingly different from the usual five-door electric hatchback fare & does what Citroen has always done & that’s to think outside the box.
Whilst the Kia e-Niro & Hyundai Kona EV both offer a better range than the e-C4 – in our experience around 225 miles – & both are slightly more practical, for us the Citroen would be a more interesting choice & price wise, works out cheaper head to head. It’s also far more interesting to look at & will stand out in a crowd.
If you’re a company car driver who drives 200 miles per day or less, then the e-C4 with a 7kW home charger could work for you & of course, would currently offer you 1% BIK & a substantial personal tax saving. With it’s price, it’s range & it’s quirky look, we feel that it’s certainly worth your consideration.