Last updated on May 4th, 2023 at 02:06 pm
- Elegant fastback styling
- Comfortable ride on rough terrain
- Balanced interior with enough gadgets and load space
- Lack of wireless charging (as standard)
- Voice control not as complete as you'd wish
- Price feels high without electric seats and better audio
Range (WLTP): 222 miles Top Speed: 93 mph 0 to 62: 9.5 sec Cost/Mile (@34p/kWh): 8.3-8.8p
Cars are often the answer to a particular problem. In the case of the Citroen E-C4 X, the question being asked is, “How do we keep the 25% of our customer base who like saloon cars happy?”. The answer comes in the form of an attractive fastback design that manages to score a slightly better drag coefficient than its hatchback sibling – adding 3 miles of range in the process. We had the chance to test this EV on broken ground and motorways in Europe – as well as through the wet and winding country roads of Worcestershire. It scores high on comfort, even if the performance is uninspiring. That said, the acceleration to 60mph takes a little under 10 seconds (close to an entry level BMW) and the top speed of 93mph is well over the national speed limit. The WLTP range of 222 miles is also decent (it scores just over 300 miles WLTP for pure city driving) – and it will fast-charge to 80% in 30 minutes.
Here in the UK, this is the first mainstream Citroen that will only be offered as an electric vehicle – marking a significant step on the route to 100% electrification for Stellantis. We shot this Citroen on two different test drives, that's why some images show left-hand drive, but the car is still the E-C4 X.
Price and Options
The E-C4 X starts at £32,000 and there are three trim levels to consider, Sense, Shine and the Shine Plus – which is £35,500. Colour wise, you have the standard darker grey, lighter grey, black and two shades of white – as well as the interestingly named Elixir Red (see below). Pricing is based on Polar White and you'll need to add £720 for the Elixir option. If you take a test drive and register either E-C4 X Shine model before the end of April 2023, you can get an additional £500 off. The purchase price is OK, but business leasing is a different matter and it's the one area where the E-C4 X is less competitive.
There is a ‘Compare our trims‘ option on the Citroen site, but this is unnecessarily difficult to understand and makes you think that their web design team should have a chat with the PDF team about how they constructed the brochure – where side-by-side comparison is relatively clear and simple. If you need to see what the £3,500 price difference between the Sense and Shine Plus will buy you – then we suggest you download the brochure and head to page 30.
What we can tell you is that all models come with cruise control and a safety pack that includes video-powered active safety braking, lane keep assist and forward collision warning – but the Shine and Shine Plus augment that with radar assisted braking (useful at night time), blind spot detection and a head-up display – so you focus on the road ahead and not on an ‘iPad in the central console'.
The drivetrain is very familiar. The E-C4 X uses the same 100kW motor and 50kWh battery as so many electric vehicles from Stellantis. The Vauxhall Corsa-e uses this combination, as do the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008, the DS3 and even some vans from the group. It has a decent size boot of 510 litres, which is 130 litres more than the hatchback version – and the rear seats fold down to give you 1,360 litres.
All cars have the same 18in diamond-cut alloy wheels, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and sat-nav. The Shine and Shine Plus have a reversing camera as well as intelligent beam headlights. This is a £180 add-on for the basic model and we'd definitely be tempted.
Shine Plus has an Alcantara interior and heated steering wheel. You can add features to the entry level model, but they soon add up – making it much better value to just get the higher spec trim in the first place.
Bizarrely, wireless mobile phone charging is not included as standard on any model and only an option on the top of the range shine plus – where Citroen will ask you for an additional £150.
If you want to know a lot more about each and every option, Citroen has loaded a channel online with mini-answers to almost any question to might have about the E-C4 X.
The E-C4 X has similar ‘Citroen cues' to the hatchback version, but with a very distinctive rear – reminiscent of the much more expensive Polestar 2 and Jaguar i-Pace. We like the external styling and recently visited the main factory in Madrid, to see just how the E-C4 is put together. Overall, it is very smooth and likely to appeal to a broad range of drivers.
The E-C4 X is still a ‘C-segment' vehicle, so it's medium-sized. The alloys that are standard across all cars are bold and modern. It’s also surprising to see 18in rims as a standard fixture, further accentuating the value of the e-C4 X. Adding a panoramic sunroof will cost you around £800 and it's likely to make the interior feel even more spacious than it is.
The car is 4.6m long, 1.8m wide (just over 2m with wing mirrors included) and it's around 1.5 metres tall. It can carry a payload close to half a ton, but there is no towing capability.
The Sense and Shine trim levels have an Urban Grey Ambience. Shine Plus has the same colour scheme, but with Alcantara leather-effect seats. There is an £800 option on the Shine Plus to upgrade to a ‘Hype Black' interior. Alongside the improved look/feel of the Hype Black option – it also provides a massage function in the driver's seat – so that could be £800 well spent if you are planning regular long-distance trips.
All models come with a decent, six-speaker audio system, but the Shine and Shine Plus can be upgraded to a Citroen HiFi system that gives you the warmth, detail and solid ‘thunk' that can only be achieved with five sub-woofer speakers (at a cost of £350). For us, audio is the biggest bugbear for most EVs. We know that a battery pack will typically add £7-15,000 onto the price of a fossil-fuelled variant. That means you are getting the hi-fi from a £22,000 car – but in a model that costs £32,000 or more. We wish that car makers would automatically upgrade the hi-fi by £350 when charging all that additional money for the battery pack etc.
The glove compartment is small and won't store much. Capacity that would be useful for everyone has been taken up by the need to include Citroen's Smart Pad system. This includes a drawer within which you can stow your tablet in a special holder. Above this is a mount that also slides out of the dashboard. You then attach the tablet to this mount for the passenger to view – kind of a DIY Tesla media screen.
The headroom in the front is excellent and rear-passengers will also be happy to sit in the back for a couple of hours. We all like nooks and crannies for our various devices and the E-C4 X offers more than 60 litres of ‘ad hoc storage' inside the car. Your coins, wallets, paperwork and drinks will be well cared for.
The car offers Type A and Type C USB ports for phone charging plus a 12V car power adapter socket. Again, we wish the front occupants had a wireless charger each – so you don't need to dangle metres of cable across the front dash. Only the top end model with an additional payment will get you a single wireless charger.
The rear has plenty of knee room – an area where Citroen strives to be ‘best in class'. The headroom isn’t so much as the front nor as much as many high-riding electric vehicles, including the VW ID.3, due to the fastback-style rear. If you’re under six foot tall, you'll be comfortable enough. There are the usual magazine holders, and in the Shine Plus you get a central fold-out arm rest with integrated cupholders and somewhere to push your skis through.
A welcome touch is the air conditioning, which can be individually adjusted and there are extra vents in the rear – useful as miserable children, clients or passengers can create stress for the driver.
All models have USB A and C in the front and a pair of USB A charge ports in the rear. Rear seats also have ISOfix points for child car seats.
Storage and Load Carrying
This isn't a hatchback, so storage won't be as flexible, but it still offers 510 litres with the seats up and 1,360 with the seats folded. There is a ‘step' with the back seats folded – which you'll need to take into account when trying to insert large items from Ikea etc. The rear seats can be tipped forward with the usual 60/40 split.
The fastback design is appealing, but will have an effect on visibility when driving as the rear glass is relatively small.
There are loads of internal storage locations.
The steering wheel is conventional and includes well-designed switch groups left and right. The left is primarily for adaptive cruise controls while the right is for media centre control and accessing the functions of a Bluetooth-connected phone. There are traditional stalks for lights and indicators on the left, and windscreen washers on the right. All very typical, but well executed and there’s a clear view of the smaller screen behind the wheel. This is entirely digital, with a big numerical speed display, clear remaining battery charge information, and simple symbols for other functions.
If you choose the entry-level model, then you'll be looking at the instruments directly, but the Shine and Shine Plus have the standard Stellantis HUD (head up display) integrated into the driver's side. There is a small control wheel for the HUD, allowing you to change the angle – which is useful when a car is being shared by drivers of different heights.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all models and they all have a 10in touchscreen in the centre of the car, but there's added functionality for the Shine models – with My Citroen Drive Plus. That pack brings a host of features, including SatNav with a 3 year subscription for updates, real time traffic and speed camera detection (useful if you're sitting nervously on endorsement points). It also allows you to customise the screen and respond to voice commands. We met with mixed success in this area, as My Citroen didn't seem to want to adjust the air conditioning or heated steering wheel on a voice-only command.
Overall, the Citroen system for screen control is clear and simple, and should only take you a short time to get to grips with. Also, it has the capability of saving multiple layouts for certain menu options – so different drivers can get an interface that's better suited to their personal needs. These shots also show single zone air con.
The drive controls are in the central console. A rocker switch selects forward, reverse and neutral, with an extra button to select B-mode for extra regenerative braking. Another button selects park, but there is an entirely separate lever for the electronic parking brake. Another rocker selects between the power modes, which consist of eco, normal and sport.
The Citroen E-C4 X has the right amount of controls. In terms of options and complexity, it sits comfortably between the spartan Tesla layout at one extreme and the starship effect that you get with Mercedes EQ series. We found driving comfortable, without the need to constantly fiddle through the various screens to access every day functions.
Performance and Driving
Performance is average for an EV, with a 9.5 second time to 62mph and a top speed of 93mph. How does that compare to other affordable EVs? Well, the MG4 has similar range, less storage and is 1.5 seconds quicker to 62mph with a top speed that's 6mph faster than the E-C4 X – and it delivers all that for £4,000 less.
The VW ID.3 will give you MG4 levels of performance, but that costs more than the Citroen.
Compared to other Stellantis cars (with the same powertrain technology) the Vauxhall Corsa-e is more than second quicker to 62, but then the E-C4 X is not an exact competitor – given the ‘exec' exterior styling of the Citroen.
Life isn't all about speed though and the E-C4 X is pleasant to drive. The steering is light, which doesn’t make for a particularly involving experience, but is very easy going. It’s particularly handy when driving at low speed or parking. We pulled off a multi-point turn in a very narrow road without strain. The suspension is great and really makes light work of poor country/city roads with potholes.
The e-C4 X sits comfortable at motorway speeds – while the safety features can help ensure you stay in lane and at a safe distance from the car in front.
Range and Charging
The average performance is matched by average range and battery specifications. The WLTP combined rating is 222 miles, which is considerably more than what the Peugeot e-2008 manages with 18in wheels (191 miles) – but, as mentioned, it is less than the MG series.
Charging is performed via the now nearly universal CCS port. With a 7kW AC supply, you can charge the car from empty to 100% in 7.5 hours, so an overnight or working day replenishment will be guaranteed. If you’re lucky to have three-phase AC and the E-C4 X's 11kW upgrade, this will drop to 5 hours, and DC is supported up to 100kW. With a charger capable of delivering this level of power, you can restore 80% capacity in 30 minutes and it will pick up 60 miles in around 10 minutes when you're desperate to get to your destination.
With a WLTP range of 222 miles from a 50kWh battery, efficiency sits at a decent 4.4 miles per kWh. If you charged at 10p per kWh overnight, that would be 2.3p per mile, but a 75p per kWh public charder would be closer to 17p per mile, which is still quite competitive. It sits in a fairly low insurance group 22, below the Vauxhall Corsa-e or Peugeot e-2008, but the warranty isn’t up with what Kias and Hyundais offer, with a basic three years or 60,000 miles of general warranty. However, the battery warranty is the standard EV length, stretching to eight years or 100,000 miles for 70% capacity. The service interval is every two years or 16,000 miles, which is another benefit of electric cars.
The e-C4 comes with lots of safety features as standard, including Active Safety Brake, ABS, ESP, Hill Start, speed limit information, and even Lane Keeping Assist – which would have been a ‘premium extra' only a couple of years ago. A Driver Attention Alert and Forward Collision Warning are also included.
All versions come with cruise control, but the Shine adds in adaptive technology and the Shine Plus has a highway driver assistance option to make cruising on motorways as easy as possible – especially in variable speed sections where it's far less stressful to have your car do the ‘following at a safe distance and speed' for you. The top end model includes a more advanced version of lane keep assistance – where it aims to keep you centralised on the road, rather than playing a game of Pong with the left and right-side markings.
All cars come with rear parking sensors. Shine and Shine Plus have a reversing camera with ‘top rear' vision. Adding a camera to the base spec is £180.
|Price:||Sense £31,995; Shine £33,995; Shine Plus £34,495|
|Range (WLTP):||222 miles|
|Charge time (7.4kW):||7 hours 30 minutes|
|Charge time (optional 11kW):||5 hours|
|Charge time (100kW, 80%):||30 minutes|
|On Board Charger:||7.2kW (11kW option)|
|Efficiency:||4.4 miles per kWh|
|Cargo:||510 litres / 1,360 litres with rear seats down; Maximum load 450Kg; No towing capability|