What Car? says...
The Citroën ë-C4 could be the electric car for you if you're struggling to decide whether to get a family car, an SUV or a coupé – it can justifiably claim to be all three.
You see, as you might have guessed from its name, the ë-C4 is the electrified version of the Citroën C4 coupé SUV and shares all the same styling cues.
That means it seats you as high above the road as electric SUV rivals such as the Kia Niro EV and has a similar amount of interior space to the VW ID 3 and other electric cars, but it tops those with a sleek coupé roofline for some added style.
When we tested the ë-C4’s petrol and diesel-powered siblings, we gave them a four-star rating, and were impressed by its comfy ride and good pricing. But has Citroën managed to make the C4 work as an electric car?
That's what we'll be telling you in this review, as we pitch the Citroën ë-C4 against its main rivals – including the Peugeot e-2008, Nissan Leaf and Smart #1 – in terms of performance, range, practicality and running costs. Read on to see how we rate it...
Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
Most Citroën ë-C4s come with a 134bhp motor and a battery with a usable capacity of 46.3kWh. That's quite a bit smaller than the VW ID.3 Pro Performance’s 58kWh battery, and is the reason the ë-C4’s official range is just 219 to 221 miles depending on the trim.
That’s fine for nipping around town, but if you want to go further afield, you might want to swap to the top-spec version’s 50.8kWh battery. That increases the official range to 260 miles – better, but still not a patch on the MG4 Extended Range, which can officially travel more than 300 miles.
So, the ë-C4 isn’t the best long-distance electric car for the money, but is it the fastest? Well, no, not exactly.
Its official 0-62mph sprint time of 10 seconds isn’t particularly impressive and acceleration starts to tail off between 50 and 70mph. In fact, even with the top-spec version’s more powerful 154bhp motor, the 0-62mph time is 9.2 seconds, way slower than the ID 3’s 7.4 seconds.
Suspension and ride comfort
If you want something that's cosseting, the ë-C4 is a car worth looking at. Citroën has set it up to be quite soft, making for a relatively settled ride over minor imperfections on motorways, while also cushioning you well over bigger ruts and speed bumps around town.
It's similar in that respect to the Peugeot e-2008, and is certainly less jarring than the firmer Smart #1 and ID 3.
It’s not perfect, though. If you hit something with a sharp edge, such as a particularly nasty pothole, it twangs loudly. Because it’s softer, there’s a lot more vertical body bounce along a country road strewn with lumps and bumps than there is in the ID 3. Mind you, it’s not as bad in that environment as the rather under-damped DS 3 E-Tense.
Don’t buy the ë-C4 if handling finesse is something you’re keen to enjoy. That’s not to imply it’s skittish – it’s an easy car to drive, with light, yet faithful steering and decent enough grip. It couldn’t care less about feeling sporty, though.
There’s quite a bit of body lean – although not as much as in the DS 3 E-Tense – and it’s nowhere near as agile as the ID 3. The Cupra Born and Kia Niro EV are even sharper to drive, and will appeal to those after something fun.
Noise and vibration
At motorway speeds the ë-C4 is very quiet. Rather like the e-2008, it cuts out a lot of the road roar you hear in the Niro EV and ID 3. There’s some wind noise, but it’s not intrusive.
We count brake pedal feel (rather than ultimate stopping power) in with refinement, too, because if you can’t stop smoothly, that’s not exactly refined, right?
The ë-C4’s regenerative brakes, which capture energy and feed it back into the battery when you slow down, do leave you with a light brake pedal, but they still have enough progression to let you stop gracefully.
Strengths Comfortable ride; refined at speed
Weaknesses Rivals handle better; not very quick; electric range isn’t impressive
The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
You sit lower down in the Citroën ë-C4 than in most SUVs, but it still offers a higher driving position than hatchbacks such as the Nissan Leaf and VW ID 3.
The seat is broader and more cosseting than in a DS 3 E-Tense or Peugeot e-2008, and because adjustable lumbar support is standard across the range, it’s great for long trips on the motorway. Side support in tight bends is a little lacking though.
Some of our testers found that it took quite a bit of fiddling with the seat height and steering wheel before they felt totally at ease – something to bear in mind if you have a partner with a different driving position to you. Getting comfortable is simpler in the Kia Niro EV and ID 3, both of which have a better arrangement of their driver’s seat, steering wheel and pedals.
More positively, the ë-C4 has physical knobs and buttons for controlling its air conditioning. Making small adjustments on the move is so much easier with these than with the ID 3’s frustratingly fiddly touch-sensitive controls.
All versions come with a digital driver display, and every trim except entry-level You! comes with a head-up display that projects the speed on to the windscreen.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The ë-C4’s wide windscreen pillars can cause problems at junctions. And, as in most cars with swooping, coupé-like rooflines, the view out of the rear window gives you a good idea of what it must be like to be trapped inside a post box. The Niro EV and ID 3 are easier to see out of.
That means you’ll need to rely on the ë-C4’s visibility aids. Thankfully, all trims come with rear parking sensors, with Max trim and above also getting front and lateral parking sensors and a rear-view camera.
Bright automatic LED headlights are standard across the range, while opting for Max or ë-Series trim adds intelligent high-beam.
Sat nav and infotainment
All ë-C4s have a 10in touchscreen but the quality of the display depends on the trim you go for – the top two trims upgrade it to a newer screen with a higher resolution display. Either way, the layout is largely the same, giving you two physical shortcut buttons and a volume dial but hiding everything else within the touchscreen.
We prefer the upgraded system, because its screen reacts faster to your prods and is easier to read at a glance. Smartphone mirroring (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) is standard across the range, so even if you have the entry-level car’s less competent system, you can use your phone apps instead of the Citroën software.
Speaking of features, You! trim also gets DAB radio and Bluetooth, while all other versions add built-in sat-nav and customisable menu widgets, making it easier to quickly find your favourite parts of the infotainment system.
This is one of Citroën’s best interiors yet, and mixes good build quality with a pleasing palette of materials. That makes the ë-C4 feel much swisher inside than the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe.
It’s also snazzier than the slightly sombre-looking Niro EV, and the materials feel much plusher than the ID 3’s, which are pretty much all hard plastic. On top of that, everything feels screwed together well, too. In this class, it’s only really the Mazda MX-30 and Smart #1 that feel noticeably posher.
Strengths Attractive, good quality interior; physical air conditioning controls
Weaknesses Visibility isn’t great; entry-level infotainment system isn’t very intuitive
Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
While the Citroën ë-C4 isn’t especially spacious up front, it’s roomier than it feels. The close proximity of the windscreen pillars can leave you feeling a little hemmed in but six-footers fit easily enough.
That’s true even if you specify the optional panoramic glass roof, but if you’re super tall you'll find you have a little more space in the front of the VW ID 3.
There are some thoughtful storage touches, including a dedicated area for your smartphone and a tray that slides out of the passenger’s side of the dashboard. You can clip a tablet computer to the tray.
Two adults will fit in the back of the ë-C4 with greater ease than they would in the cramped Mazda MX-30, and they’ll have plenty of room for their feet under the front seats. However, they won’t have as much head or leg room to spare as they would in the Kia Niro EV or ID 3.
Shoulder room becomes tight if you add a middle passenger, too, and there’s a good chance that they will have to duck, because head room is tighter for anyone sitting on the raised-up centre seat.
Seat folding and flexibility
The ë-C4’s rear seats don’t do anything clever, such as sliding or reclining. But, as with most small electric cars, you can fold down the 60/40 split backrests by pulling levers next to the outer rear head restraints.
A ski hatch, to help when transporting long items, is available if you go for one of the two top trims. Annoyingly, you can’t even add it as an option with the other trims.
We were able to fit five carry-on suitcases beneath the ë-C4’s parcel shelf. That’s better than the MX-30 and Smart #1, and the same as the ID 3, but less than the seven you’ll fit in the Niro EV.
The ë-C4’s boot floor is height-adjustable, with only a small lip to lift luggage over when it’s in its highest position. If you raise the floor, it levels out the extended boot area when the rear seat backs are dropped down. The DS 3 E-Tense doesn’t have that feature, leaving you with an awkward step, while it's an optional extra on the ID 3.
There’s some useful under-floor storage for the charging cables, so the boot is free for luggage. Again, that’s not something the DS 3 has.
Strengths Decent boot space; loads of front storage
Weaknesses Sloping roof reduces rear head room; less front space than rivals
Buying & owning
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
When viewed against similarly-sized electric cars, such as the Kia Niro EV and VW ID 3, the Citroën ë-C4 is competitively priced. However, if you care about range and versatility more than an elevated driving position and style, the less-expensive MG4 SE Long Range, which goes further on a charge, could be more appealing.
The ë-C4 predicted to lose its value significantly faster than its rivals. That can have an effect if you’re purchasing on a PCP finance deal, pushing up the monthly costs, so you’ll want to make sure you get the best price by checking our new Citroën deals page. As with all electric cars, the ë-C4 will be cheap to fun as a company car because of the very low benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax rate.
Both versions of the ë-C4 have a maximum charging speed of 100kW, which, if you can find a charger at a service station, will get you from 10-80% charged in around 30 mins. A 7kW home wall box will charge it from empty to full in around seven and a half hours.
Equipment, options and extras
We’d stick with entry-level You! trim, because it keeps the costs down and makes for a decent town cruiser. It gets plenty of standard kit too, including 18in alloy wheels, automatic dual-zone air conditioning, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, cruise control and keyless entry and start, and a 10in infotainment touchscreen.
Stepping up to mid-spec Max spec adds a few extra toys, including heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, extra visibility aids and a higher quality touchscreen.
Top-spec ë-Series trim adds wireless phone-charging, swathes of Alcantara around the interior, massaging seats and gives you the option of the bigger battery. The thing is it’s expensive and puts the ë-C4 in the crosshairs of some much better rivals.
Although the ë-C4 didn’t feature in our 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey, Citroën as a brand was right in the middle of the pack, coming 14th out of 32 car makers. That put it below Hyundai, Kia and Mazda, but above Ford, Nissan, Peugeot, Volkwagen, Renault and MG.
Similarly, the three-year warranty that you get is pretty average, and no match for Hyundai’s five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty or Kia’s seven-year, 100,000-mile package.
Safety and security
The list of safety equipment you get as standard across the ë-C4 range includes automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assist and speed-limit information. Stepping up to Max trim adds blind-spot monitoring and a more advanced AEB system that can detect cyclists. The upgraded AEB can also be added to entry-level You! models as part of the pricey optional Safety Pack Plus.
Disappointingly, the ë-C4 only gets a four-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, whereas rivals including the ID 3 get the full five. There were concerns over passenger leg injuries in the frontal crash test, and the potential for the front-seat occupants to collide with each other in side impacts because of a lack of central airbag between the two.
An alarm and immobiliser both come as standard on all versions.
Strengths Lots of standard kit; entry-level trim is well-priced
Weaknesses Higher trims too expensive to recommend; fast depreciation; so-so safety rating
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The overall range depends on which version you go for. Stick with the entry-level 50kWh battery and you get an official range of 219-221 miles, while upgrading to the 54kWh battery increases that to 260 miles.
Versions with the entry-level 50kWh battery have a 134bhp electric motor, while ë-C4s with a 54kWh battery get a more powerful 154bhp motor. Either way, the ë-C4 is never particularly quick.
|RRP price range
|£19,565 - £37,265
|Number of trims (see all)
|Number of engines (see all)
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)
|electric, petrol, diesel
|MPG range across all versions
|50.7 - 60.4
|Available doors options
|3 years / 60000 miles
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)
|£64 / £1,635
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)
|£129 / £3,269