Citroën e-C4 long-term test: report 6

Citroën has reinvented its family hatchback, turning it into a coupé SUV and introducing an electric version for the first time. We're finding out what it's like to live with...

Citroen e-c4 long term

The car Citroën e-C4 50kWh Shine Plus Run by Allan Muir, managing editor

Why we’re running it To find out whether Citroën has finally got the recipe right with its new family hatchback cum coupé SUV, and to see how well the battery-powered version stacks up against its small electric car rivals 

Needs to Deliver on Citroën's promise of exceptional comfort while being easy to live with and having a long enough range to be viable as an only car

Mileage 3515 List price £34,995 (not including £2500 gov’t grant) Target Price £33,799 Price as tested £35,540 Test range 160 miles 

6 September 2021 – Go west, young man 

Being the experienced electric car driver that I (mostly) am, a road trip from London down to west Somerset and back in my Citroen e-C4 held no fear for me. Having said that, I had no intention of going unprepared and risking a repeat of an incident in 2020 when I pushed my luck too far with my MG ZS EV’s range and found myself stranded for hours with an utterly dead car. 

Citroen e-C4 long term

While jotting down a list of preferred rapid chargers to call upon en route, I realised I’d be able to do the whole trip using only the InstaVolt network if I wanted to. Which I did, because the provider came top for reliability and second overall (behind Tesla) in our recent survey of the UK’s public charging network.

With a couple of detours planned, my first stop was in Shepton Mallet, roughly 110 miles into my trip. This turned out to be the best public charging experience I’ve ever had. The InstaVolt charger – located in the quiet car park of a posh hotel on the outskirts of the town – was super-easy to use, with contactless payment, and didn’t take long to boost the e-C4’s battery capacity from 33% to 80%. 

Citroen e-C4 long term

After some time in the Cheddar and Burnham-on-Sea areas, I headed down to Taunton with the intention of getting another top-up before veering farther west to Porlock, my destination. To my surprise, the InstaVolt charger in a leisure centre car park refused to accept payment from any of my cards, and a hard-to-find GeniePoint device at a Morrisons supermarket needed a remote reboot before I could use it, but eventually I got the top-up I wanted.

As it turned out, the place where I was staying near Porlock – a stunning Grade II listed building called Bossington Hall – had a Type 2 charging point installed in its car park that was free for me to use. As a result, I started days two and three with a full battery – an unexpected bonus that allowed me to roam Exmoor without having to think about range.

Citroen e-C4 long term

Here, as on the rest of the trip, the e-C4 excelled in many ways. The instantaneous response of its electric motor came in handy when opportunities arose to overtake slow-moving vehicles. And when the spectacular roads were clear, the e-C4 proved quick, composed and surprisingly good to drive, using its regenerative braking effectively to slow itself down for corners and steep descents. This was welcome, because the e-C4’s regular brakes aren’t great, managing to be both spongy when you first hit the pedal and then snatchy when you press harder. 

The 170-mile homeward leg might have been doable on a single charge, but I opted for a quick ‘splash and dash’ at a service station in Longbridge Deverill. In the time it took to use the bathroom and eat a sandwich (okay, two sandwiches; I was hungry), the car had taken on enough extra juice to ensure I got home easily. 

Citroen e-C4 long term

Despite the charging hiccups in Taunton, I was pleased at how smoothly the 450-mile round trip went overall, with the e-C4’s modest real-world range (about 160 miles) not proving to be too much of a hindrance. And I was impressed all over again at the level of comfort on offer; it really is exceptional for a car at this price. 

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