First Drive: The Citroen e-C4 X is a fresh addition to the electric car segment
Citroen is expanding its EV line-up with the e-C4 X. Ted Welford headed to Madrid to try it out
What is it?
There was a time when many new family cars were saloons, with dominant models such as the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Vectra proving popular with buyers. But habits have evolved, and outside of the premium segment, the average saloon market has been pretty much decimated in the UK.
But there’s a chance they might be making a comeback, albeit in a slightly different form. That’s what Citroen is hoping for anyway with the arrival of its SUV-inspired e-C4 X – a name that looks like the start of a randomly generated password. Let’s find out what it’s like…
Citroen’s latest C4 arrived in 2021, bringing a smart new design and new SUV-style bodykit to this family hatchback, as well as an important electric model.
The e-C4 X is a development of that and is essentially a new saloon bodystyle of the C4 – bringing a more elegant shape that sees the model grow in length by 25cm. While other markets will get a C4 X with petrol engines under the bonnet, in the UK it’s being launched purely as an EV, which is a first for a Citroen.
What’s under the bonnet?
The e-C4 X unsurprisingly uses the same powertrain as the standard C4 hatch, as well as a multitude of models from Vauxhall, Peugeot and DS too.
It’s not a powertrain of big, silly figures, but more everyday numbers – there’s a relatively compact 50kWh battery combined with an electric motor producing 134bhp and 260Nm of torque.
Getting from 0-60mph takes just under 10 seconds, with the e-C4 X maxing out at 93mph. As for range, Citroen claims 222 miles on a full charge, which is ever so slightly more than its less aerodynamic hatchback sibling. It’s capable of charging at up to 100kW, too, meaning an 80 per cent recharge could take place in 30 minutes.
What’s it like to drive?
Behind the wheel, the e-C4 X is a car that absolutely majors on comfort. As with most modern Citroens, it’s equipped with the brand’s clever ‘Advanced Comfort’ suspension setup and cushioned seats, and the result is fantastic. Even rougher roads are dealt with in a remarkably refined fashion, while you can tackle urban speedbumps without having to come to a near-standstill.
However, all that is offset by the fact it’s not the most engaging car around. There’s little feel through the steering wheel, while there’s a bit of roll through the corners – not helped by the flat, unsupportive seats. It lacks the initial zip of some EVs, too, feeling much more leisurely with its power delivery, albeit improved by the ‘Sport’ driving mode. The brake pedal also has a certain level of sponginess to it.
How does it look?
It’s ultimately the way the e-C4 X looks that will either make you love it or loathe it. Admittedly, saloons aren’t fashionable, but Citroen has undoubtedly made it look trendier thanks to the plastic cladding and raised suspension that runs around the exterior. You could think of it as a budget Polestar 2 in that respect.
To our eyes, this ‘X’ model is the more handsome choice. The extended length gives it more elegance, while the rear is much less fussy than the regular hatchback. It’s worth noting, though, that until you reach the C-pillar, there’s no difference between the two cars from a styling perspective, it’s just the back where the changes come into play.
What’s it like inside?
Head inside the e-C4 X and it’s much the same as the regular C4. That means you’ve got a smart 10-inch touchscreen cut into the dashboard, as well as a range of textured materials. The infotainment screen itself uses Citroen’s latest software, and while we’ve been impressed by it on the brand’s other models, our test car suffered from various glitches – the most annoying being the parking sensor screen stuck on the touchscreen for the majority of our driving. And yes, we tried turning the car on and off, before you ask…
Rear space is slightly more generous than in the C4, with loads of legroom on offer, but headroom might not suit some taller passengers. The 510-litre boot is also considerably larger in terms of volume than the hatchback’s and offers a large, square load area. The narrower saloon opening isn’t quite as useful, however, and it’ll be no use for dog owners who transport their pets in the boot.
What’s the spec like?
The e-C4 X mirrors the regular hatchback in terms of spec, with three models on offer. The Sense grade kicks things off, being very well equipped with LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels and 10-inch touchscreen. If you want more, the Shine grade brings a head-up display, adaptive cruise control plus a reversing camera, with the flagship Shine Plus model adding heated and electric front seats and a Highway Drive Assist package.
While the e-C4 X was originally meant to be around £1,000 more expensive than the hatch, Citroen has now changed its mind, with the two versions now priced identically – starting from £31,995 for the Sense and rising to £35,495. By EV standards, it’s decent value for money.
The Citroen e-C4 X is a welcome addition to the EV segment and offers something different in that it’s the only truly more affordable electric saloon on the market, albeit with the SUV styling cues to go with it.
Citroen’s focus on comfort remains a selling point, and the fact it’s priced the same as the hatchback makes this ‘X’ model more enticing, as you’re quite literally getting more car for your money. While it’s not an EV that will be bought for driving pleasure, if you want a comfortable and well-equipped electric car that won’t cost the earth, the e-C4 X is worth a look.