The cup holders are all wrong. When we stop for coffee, the paper cup does not fit in the intended gap between the front seats. The cup holders are so narrow and deep that our cup of piping hot contents dangles precariously from the plastic lid the takeaway coffee shop printed on it. A cup holder that doesn't fit cups is something that avid coffee drinkers like us can grumble about for days. Do Citroën designers only drink cocktails from those narrow long drink glasses?
The Citroën e-C4 has a battery pack of 50 kWh (45 kWh net) and the same 136 hp and 260 Nm electric motor as the Peugeot e-2008 and Opel Mokka-e. It is located under the hood and drives the front wheels. All three models are also available with a petrol engine, where the absence of an expensive battery pack works wonders for the base price.
Colleague Gert previously tested the 'normal' Citroën C4 and noted that you have to press the wheel button with which you operate the machine very emphatically in the D or R position. In the e-C4, that also takes some getting used to. The Mokka-e has the same wheel knob, while the e-2008 has a familiar stick. So there are subtle differences between PSA's electric SUVs.
An important difference is the range. With 350 kilometers, Citroën promises a greater driving range than Peugeot (320 km), but we conclude grumbling that in reality it is the other way around. The e-C4 consumes slightly more power than the e-2008. At 100 km/h and summer coat temperatures, it travels 264 kilometers on a battery charge. The Peugeot with the same powertrain does 278 kilometers. So Citroën promises 30 kilometers more, but you get 14 kilometers less.
What also calls for a grumble moment is how much the remaining range on the digital instruments fluctuates. In the e-C4 you can leave with a full battery, only to find out after 75 kilometers that 150 kilometers of your range has disappeared. What makes this even more difficult is that the car does not express how full the battery is in percentages. Then you could calculate yourself: every percent will take you two kilometers anyway, so ... As it is now, you never know exactly how much power and/or driving range you have left. Hoping for a blessing then...
What would remove some of the uncertainty is a navigation system that tells you with what percentage of battery capacity you arrive at your destination and independently schedules charging stops if you don't make it otherwise. The navigation system in the e-C4 does none of that. The Mercedes EQA we tested last month can do that. Even a Nissan Leaf knows with what percentage you arrive. Unlike the Leaf, the Citroën e-C4 can charge quickly with 100 kW. Charging up to 50 percent is therefore very fast. Then the charging speed drops to the usual 50 kW and you have to wait longer or move.
After all that grumbling about its electrical quirks, it's time for compliments. The electric powertrain ensures a high level of driving comfort. The Citroën e-C4 accelerates smoothly and despite the quiet drivetrain, you notice little of tire and wind noise. Although 136 hp and 260 are not impressive numbers, you are rarely short of more power. In addition, you can choose from three driving programs and the step from Normal to Sport provides a noticeable performance boost.
Citroën paid a lot of attention to the suspension comfort, but did not shoot through. For example, the e-C4 easily rolls over speed bumps, without annoying swaying. We owe this in large part to Citroëns extra comfortable suspension system that every C4 from the Feel equipment has. The chairs with extra thick foam padding in which we like to drink our coffee require a small additional cost. The result is a driving experience that is ideal for a lot of comfortable highway miles.
The designers' most idiosyncratic choice, and potentially the greatest source of grumble material, is design. When we saw the first photos at the unveiling, opinions in the editors differed widely. Colleagues who sometimes charge large amounts back to guilders to make them even bigger, approved the roofline of the Citroën GS and the XM-like kink at the rear side windows. I saw an artistic chaos.
Now I'm all over. I enjoy looking at the C4 from every angle. There is so much going on that you cannot fathom the design at a glance. Take the good MG ZS EV for comparison: it just has the standard SUV shape with a large grille on the nose. Ready. But the Citroën e-C4 is a collection of conspicuous bumps, potholes and light units that you'd think wouldn't match. Yet it works. If you ask me, it looks more chic than the Peugeot e-2008 and the Opel Mokka-e.
The disadvantages of such a coupé-like roofline with tailgate spoiler speak for themselves: visibility to the rear is poor, as is the headroom in the rear. In the back seat, Citroën has tried to make the best of it, with notches in the ceiling. This allows the average Dutch person to sit exactly there.
Finally, we want to grumble a bit about the base price. It starts at 38,190 euros and our Shine version costs 40,740 euros. That's on the high side. Citroën sees that too and advertises a discount of 2000 euros. As a result, the prices are more in line with those of the Peugeot e-2008 (36,930 euros) and the Opel Mokka-e (35,399 euros). Provided that those brands do not also come up with their own offer. In any case, it pays to play the dealers off against each other in this sad car market. Then you should not show how much you want the car. It seems to help to grumble a little…
The grumbling I do is not complaining but teasing. The e-C4 can take it, because its comfort and design are rock solid. It offers the smooth and quiet driving experience that makes you prefer the electric C4 over a regular one. For an electric car, however, it is not lavish with information. As a result, you cannot fully trust the remaining range. It already goes wrong with the fact that a full battery does not take you 350 kilometers, but rather 250 kilometers far. Getting used to this will take time.
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