- Seats eight adults comfortably
- Lots of luggage capacity potential
- Smooth driving and manoeuvrable
- Expensive purchase price
- Limited range
- Needs a friend’s help to remove rear seats
Range (WLTP): 148 miles Top Speed: 84 mph 0 to 62: 13.1 sec Cost/Mile (@14p/kWh): 4.7p
Although EV car options are coming thick and fast now, there still aren’t that many electric passenger vans you can buy, even if quite a few have now been announced. However, Citroen now produces an electric version of its SpaceTourer called, rather unsurprisingly, the e-SpaceTourer. It looks the same as the diesel variants of the SpaceTourer from the outside and has the same ability to transport up to eight people inside, including the driver.
Price and Options
The first thing we should get out of the way immediately is that this isn’t a cheap vehicle, and it’s even less cheap now it no longer qualifies for the UK government plug-in grant. There are two body types available for the SpaceTourer – M and XL – but only the M can be purchsased with an electric drivetrain. And while there are three trim levels available with the SpaceTourer M, only the Business and Feel are available in electric. If you want the top Flair option, you will need to opt for a diesel manual or automatic.
Although the SpaceTourer starts at £37,020, the e-SpaceTourer starts at £48,615, so you’re paying £11,595 more for the electric motor and battery. In contrast, going from the basic Business to the Feel trim only adds £650 to the price. The Feel is a worthwhile upgrade, as it adds electric front windows, rear air conditioning vents with separate controls and dual zones at the front, plus 17in wheel covers that look better than the 16in one on the Business.
All vehicles have electrically folding mirrors, however, and rear parking sensors. A reversing camera is a hefty £840 extra for both trims, although it also adds front parking sensors and blind spot monitoring. Another option is the Safety Pack, which is £600 more. You can also specify various glass tints for £180, and curtain air bags for £250. Perhaps the most significant option is the satnav, which costs a further £400 and wasn’t included with our review vehicle.
The basic colour is white, but there are six sober beige, grey, brown, and black options. The only more vibrant shade is called Tourmaline Orange, and that’s still not very exciting. All the colour upgrades cost £545, and our review vehicle came in Cumulus Grey, which is a very innocuous, workmanlike paint hue.
Something you can’t get with either trim or as an option is keyless entry, which is perhaps a good thing for a commercial vehicle. You will definitely want to make sure your van is locked and doesn’t automatically open itself when you don’t want it to, which can happen with “smart” systems.
Despite the huge cost for electric driving, the e-SpaceTourer uses the same motor and battery combination we have seen in every Stellantis car we have reviewed so far – a 50kWh battery connected to a 136bhp motor. This is identical to the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Citroen e-C4, and Peugeot e-2008, amongst others. In theory, that seems a little underwhelming for such a big vehicle as the e-SpaceTourer. More on this later in the review.
The e-SpaceTourer is a van and that is what it looks like. It has Citroen’s current design motif of a front grille that integrates the Citroen logo, but apart from that there’s not much excitement to the exterior appearance. The lines are reasonably rounded, and it doesn’t look cheap, which is a plus if you are using it as a VIP transport or luxury airport taxi.
While the front doors are the usual hinged variety, the rear ones are much wider and slide open, which is especially useful for providing easier passenger access. It’s also a bonus that the sliding doors are on both sides, which not all passenger vans offer. This will make access even more convenient.
Sitting up front in the e-SpaceTourer is quite car-like, apart from being much higher up than even most SUVs. You only get cloth seat options, with a different type depending on whether you went for Business or Feel trim. The front seats are reasonably comfortable, although there is no electric adjustment, just mechanical.
There is no central cubby, just a space in the central front console to put your smartphone, which looks like it might offer wireless charging, but doesn’t. This isn’t even an option. Instead, you will need to use the single USB Type A port or an adapter with the 12V socket to charge your phone. There is another of these in the cubby below the glove compartment, which also provides the ability to turn off the passenger-side airbag using the car key.
The glove compartment opens upwards and is decently sized, with another smaller compartment on the top of the dashboard that is clearly meant for documents. There are no central cupholders, but you do get these on the outer edge of the top of the dashboard, which is less convenient but perhaps safer for preventing accidental spillage.
Rear seating is obviously the key feature for the e-SpaceTourer, and this is accessed via those large sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle. There are two rows of benches in the rear, each with three seats. All three are adult-sized, too, rather than having a middle seat only a skinny child could spend any length of time in.
Head room is great for both rows, although you will need to balance out the knee room between the middle and rear rows, so everyone is comfortable. Also, while it is extremely easy to get into the middle row, you need to slide the middle row forward and drop a seat forward to get into the third row, which isn’t ideal. If you don’t really need seating for six in the rear, just five, it could be easier to remove the single outer middle row seat so there’s plenty of space for people to get into the third row.
With the Feel trim, there are separate ceiling air vents for all rear passengers, and separate controls for the air conditioning that middle row passengers can reach and operate. There’s even a regular 13a mains plug output for middle row passengers to use, and a 12V adapter socket but no USB. The rear row also gets a single 12V car power adapter socket but no USB.
Overall, this van can seat eight adults comfortably, which is a unique feature for an electric van. Nissan’s EV-N200 only has seven seats, and they are far more cramped.
Storage and Load Carrying
If you’re going to carry lots of passengers, you probably want to have lots of space for their luggage as well. If you take out the shelf in the boot, you have already got 989 litres, which is almost as much as a regular hatchback will give you with the rear seats down. There isn’t any under-floor space in the boot, but you don’t really need it.
If you do drop the rear seats forward – which you can do one by one – the rear space expands to 1,384 litres. This is a about as much as a small estate car with its rear seats down, and you have still got room for five adults including the driver. If you need more, you can remove the third row of seats entirely, which expands rear luggage space to 2,550 litres. It’s also possible to drop both rows of rear seats forward, although we don’t have a figure about how much space that gives you.
The final option is to remove the middle row of seats too, which expands the space to a huge 4,000 litres. All this can be performed without tools. You simply pull a loop at the bottom of a seat and pull it all the way back on the rails to remove it. The single seats on the right are light enough for one person to remove, but you will need two people to remove the two-seat benches on the left, unless you’re really strong.
If you do remove all the seats, the maximum weight capacity is a reasonable 1,000kg. With the average holiday suitcase weighing 20-25kg, there will be capacity for a lot of passenger luggage items before reaching full weight.
The e-SpaceTourer is the first EV we’ve driven yet that doesn’t have some kind of fancy start-stop button or completely keyless startup. Instead, you get the traditional key and keyhole, which feels rather retro and nostalgic.
The steering wheel also lacks any extra buttons to control anything. You do get the typical stalks for lights, indicators, and windscreen wipers. There’s a smaller stalk for the cruise control, which is standard across both trim levels. Behind the steering wheel is a conventional array of dials for speed, power delivery or regeneration, and battery status. In the middle is a digital trip display that gives you a more precise estimation of remaining range.
At the bottom of the central console is a rocker for selecting drive, reverse and neutral. Another rocker lets you select Eco, Normal and Power engine modes. There are small buttons for engaging park or B-mode for extra regenerative braking. There’s a separate electronic parking brake down to the left-hand side of the driver’s seat.
The air conditioning system has its own discrete set of controls and is dual-zoned. As we already mentioned, there is another set of controls for the rear air vents and conditioning that is for passenger use but can be reached by the driver as well if needed.
The small LCD panel provides access to the DAB and FM radio. As we’ve already explained, the satnav is a £400 extra that wasn’t installed in our review vehicle. However, there is support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play, so you could use those to provide a map view in the central screen. Also, a lot of taxi drivers use their phones for navigation anyway, particularly if their taxi firm uses a smartphone app for managing driver locations and jobs.
Performance and Driving
You’re not going to buy an eight-person passenger van and expect an enthralling driving experience. In this respect, the e-SpaceTourer is as innocuous as its looks. But that’s actually a good thing. It’s a very smooth and unassuming drive, and when not heavily laden even has a decent pickup in Eco mode. While 13.1 seconds to reach 62mph isn’t fast by car standards, it’s not too bad for a big van.
The smoothness of power delivery from an electric powertrain will also be great for passengers, as there are no jolting gear changes to make the drive lumpier. We drove the e-SpaceTourer through some narrow London streets and, although you do need to be careful of the size, the great all-round visibility linear power delivery meant that weaving in and out of gaps between parked cars was quite effortless.
Our review vehicle didn’t have the rear parking camera, but the visibility is great with the large side mirrors and sizeable central mirror, so it’s not a disaster. With a perfectly acceptable turning circle, the e-SpaceTourer isn’t hard to perform three-point turns in (although they were usually more than three points). The standard rear sensors help prevent accidental knocks.
Overall, the e-SpaceTourer is quite stress free for a large van when city driving, and the top speed of 84mph will mean it can handle motorways adequately as well. However, there is a problem in this respect, which we will address in the next section.
Range and Charging
We said there would be some limitations with the e-SpaceTourer using the same drivetrain as Stellantis’s smaller vehicles. While this isn’t a problem for driving experience, it is when it comes to range. The e-SpaceTourer is only rated for 148 WLTP miles, which is rather meagre. This will probably be just about enough for city taxi work and runs from a city hotel to a local airport. But driving this van from London to Newcastle will be a painful, multi-stop experience, particularly as the range drops considerably on motorways.
On the plus side, 100kW DC charging is supported, so you can replenish back to 80% in just 32 minutes. On a 7.4kW AC wallbox, it takes 7.5 hours for 100% capacity, so overnight recharging will be fine. The e-SpaceTourer also supports 11kW AC as standard, and that only takes 4 hours 45 minutes to recharge back to full.
The limited range means that by electric standards, the running costs are high at 4.7p a mile on a 14ph per kWh supply. However, that’s still likely to be many times cheaper per mile than the diesel versions. This alone won’t be enough to make the total cost of ownership for this electric van less than the diesel versions, but you won’t pay any VED either. The real differentiator, however, will be if you use the e-SpaceTourer in a city that charges per day but has concessions for zero emissions vehicles, such as London. The London Congestion Charge is £15 daily, so assuming a typical working year, you will be saving around £3,500 annually. Being an EV, the e-SpaceTourer could also be written off entirely against corporation tax in the first year and could qualify for VAT relief too.
This is, obviously, a limited use case but still worthwhile. The e-SpaceTourer could be a net saving after a couple of years running passengers from London hotels to the airport, for example. The insurance group is 38E, which isn’t massive for this vehicle class and price. The basic warranty is three years or 60,000 miles – reasonable but not generous. You also get the typical eight-year, 100,000-mile battery warranty for 70% capacity.
As standard, the e-SpaceTourer’s safety features are basic, merely consisting of ABS, driver and front passenger front and side airbags, and non-adaptive cruise control system.
If you want more advanced capabilities, the £840 Visio Park 1 pack adds the reversing camera, and also includes blind spot monitoring. The £600 Safety Pack adds lane departure warnings, speed limit recognition, and intelligent speed adaptation, which essentially turns the cruise control into the adaptive version. It also adds driver attention alerts and smart beam headlines.
|Price:||Business – £48,615; Feel – £49,265|
|Range (WLTP):||148 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||7 hours 30 minutes|
|Charge time (11kW):||4 hours 45 minutes|
|Charge time (100kW, 80%):||32 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||11kW|
|Cost per mile*:||34.7p|
|Cargo:||989 litres; 1,384 litres with rear seats down; 2,550 litres with third seat row removed; 4,000 litres with both rear seat rows removed|
*based on electricity costs of 14p per kWh