Add a big boot to an already very good electric hatchback and make it a bit butcher looking with some SUV inspired styling and you get the ‘X’ variant of the Citroën ë-C4. Is it any good? Yes, but it’s not perfect. The ë-C4 X has a handsome exterior with plenty of design touches and bulges to make you give it a second look. The wheel arches get the crossover touch and in many ways the car is similar to ‘All-Road’ versions of cars we used to be offered a decade or two ago. The car has a niche appearance and is quite striking, dare I say handsome presence on the road. The ë-C4 X saloon/sedan body form gets attention on the road – especially in a sea of SUV inspired sameness. The saloon car has rapidly fallen out of favour with most buyers who these days prefer taller SUVs in this area of the market, and this is a concern for Irish ë-C4 X sales.
The ë-C4 X is relatively cheap for the amount of space you get. Pricing starts from €41,455 for the entry ‘Feel’ model and rises up through the ‘Feel Pack’, then its the ‘Flare’ grade at €43,507 and the range topping ‘Flare Pack’ which costs from €45,160. The ë-C4 is a classic five-seat hatchback and the X variant adds a bit of chunky crossover styling and of course a big saloon boot without having do anything much to the platform underneath. In terms of carrying capacity both versions sit up to five, with the X only differing really from the C pillar/rear wheels backwards. X’s boot capacity is impressive holding a whopping 510 litres (v 380). The boot lid features two large internal U hinges that can snag on fuller loads but otherwise it’s huge. I was able to fit an electric bass (in its case) without lowering the seats. The only loss next to a ë-C4 is that of hatchback versatility, some rear window visibility and the loss of a rear wiper – in every other sense the X is a better car for a family.
Inside the four door car the interior is well laid out with a mixture of good quality materials and hard plastics. The cabin is unfussy and offers good functionality. There are analog buttons, and of course obligatory centre touch screen that houses lots of information and secondary controls. The car offers good connectivity with USB and USBC sockets. The drivers gets a small backlit digital display which is both efficient and functional. The steering wheel on our high grade test car has multifunctions and is pleasant to touch. The centre console houses switchgear for the drive modes and the finger operated gear selector. There’s plenty of cubby storage and the passenger can get a tablet holder housed neatly above the glove box.
The ë-C4 X shares its its underpinning with a range of Stellantis group cars, so the drive train at its launch featured the familiar 50kW rechargeable battery pack. The single electric drive motor pushes out 136hp and 260nm of torque to the front wheels. 0 to 100km/h takes 9.5 seconds. 100kW charging is available, although during our test we never got more than 80kW from high power chargers. In theory a charge from 10% to 80% charging can take as little as 30 minutes. It has a 7.5kW onboard charger. This relatively small 50kWh battery has a max range of 360km and is best suited to those who do urban daily driving and can charge overnight. There is good news with a new option of a larger 54kW battery (with greater density) that delivers a greater maximum range of 420km (WLTP). Versions with this battery also get a more powerful 156hp electric motor.
The driving experience is very pleasant as you would expect from an electric car. Its automatic powertrain is easy to use and the car makes progress effortless. You get a number of drive modes although in truth there are very few EV drivers who like to lash around the place – most tend to drive economically. When under load the 50kW battery simply cannot deliver the driving range you’d expect in a vehicle this size. A one car family user will be stress free in the urban environment but longer runs will require planning and frequent interaction with the public charging network. The ë-C4 does what nearly all Citroëns do, and that is deliver a good, comfortable ride performance at a relatively cheap price. Think of the ë-C4 X as the electric equivalent to the ground-breaking, car of the people, Skoda Octavia when it first landed on the new car market with its big boot and low price. Depending on the trim you select, you can have a comfortable, up to a near luxurious, interior. With X you will enjoy a feeling of contentment, knowing that you have a car with acres of space without breaking the bank. Note, it’s a given that all EVs in Ireland are too expensive but we can only buy what is put in front of us!
The ë-C4 X is a spacious, accommodating car that is comfortable to drive and while it could never be called a dynamic driver’s car it ticks lots of boxes as a family machine. We like it.