The first test drive of this year was the Citroen C4 X crossover sedan – and now the “double chevron” is the first again! If I’m not mistaken, this is the first Ukrainian test drive of the Citroen e-C4 electric car with a 156-horsepower engine and a 54-kilowatt-hour battery. It is important to clarify the technology, as this Citroen e-C4 electric car opens up the future not only for itself but also for other related models on the Ukrainian market: that is, the first one again? Let’s formulate the main questions about the Citroen e-C4 and look for answers to these questions. So…

Design: what are the features of a hatchback body in general and an electric car in particular?

Not just a hatchback, but a cross-hatchback! The new generation of the Citroen C4 model exploits the crossover theme in all its manifestations, and the Citroen e-C4 electric car is no exception. In addition to the large hood and dynamic rear window tilt, there is an increased ground clearance and many plastic protective plates. In addition, in the case of the electric vehicle, we will add a couple of details: a stylized letter “e” and 18-inch wheels – I have seen many different versions of the Citroen C4, but this is the first time I have seen such wheels on the CAMELIA.

The overall design of the Citroen C4 model is already known: it is a fairly compact hatchback (4.35 meters long, the rest of the dimensions are almost identical to the Citroen C4 X sedan), plus cross-hints and a double rear window. The Citroen eC4 electric car differs only in the wheels and the “e” logo on the front doors and trunk lid. Finally, the rear bumper of the electric car is slightly different – there are no exhaust pipes.

Inside, everything is also familiar from other incarnations of the Citroen C4 model: here is the front panel with a drawer and a tablet holder, here are numerous niches-pockets and a separate climate control unit, here is the steering wheel with an almost square center and soft Advanced Comfort seats with an additional layer of foam, here is the central horizontal touchscreen display. The differences of the Citroen e-C4 electric car are hidden in the graphics of the central display and the graphics of the digital instrument panel: they are “sharpened” for specific information that is important for electric cars.
An electric car can also be recognized by the presence of the “B” (Brake) button: that is, more intensive regeneration and speed reduction due to the use of the electric motor. This is also important for electric cars, as it allows you to switch to “B” mode on descents and collect more energy. It’s all the more surprising that the Citroen e-C4 is so inconveniently designed: in the form of a small button that you can’t find quickly. That is, you either need to immediately switch on the “B” mode when you start driving, or you have to press the brake pedal more carefully to increase the intensity of the recovery, but not yet cross the limit of the standard brakes (disks/pads). By the way, on a long downhill run, the regeneration can give you up to +2 km of range – not a record, but still.

Everything is generally familiar up front, with only a few specific details distinguishing the Citroen eC4 electric car. Rear passengers will not notice the difference between the gasoline or diesel versions of the Citroen C4 and the Citroen eC4: there is enough space, ventilation deflectors, plus an armrest with a pair of cup holders. Finally, we pay attention to the 380-liter trunk: the feature of the electric car is a large recess that will be useful for storing the charging cable; the feature of the hatchback is a large lid with double glass, which you notice every time you look through the center mirror.

Technology: what’s interesting about electric vehicles?

The Citroen e-C4 electric car started out like most of its “relatives”: SMR/eSMR platform, independent front suspension and semi-dependent rear suspension, front-mounted electric motor (100 kW or 136 hp) and front-wheel drive, 50 kWh battery within the wheelbase. However, later the Citroen e-C4 SHINE electric car appeared – usually, the word “SHINE” in the Citroen brand means the maximum equipment, but in this particular case it also meant a significant improvement in technology.

First and foremost, the 100 kW electric motor is now being replaced by a new one with a capacity of 115 kW or 156 hp and 260 Nm of torque. And this is not an update, but a completely new electric motor with the M3 designation, manufactured by another contractor: EMotors, where Stellantis is one of the co-owners. The new electric motor is made using HSM (Hybrid Synchronous Motor) technology instead of PSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor): the rotor has both permanent magnets and an excitation winding. This should not only increase power but also reduce energy consumption.

The second difference is that the battery capacity has been increased. The base battery has a capacity of 50 kWh, but the new one now offers 54 kWh: it seems like a small difference of 8%. But together with a more economical electric motor, this allowed for a significant gain in the range – instead of 350 km, 420 km (WLTP) is now claimed. It is interesting that the battery is made using Li-Ion NMC technology: that is, lithium plus nickel, manganese, and cobalt. But if earlier the NMC 60/20/20 battery was used (the numbers indicate the ratio of chemical elements in %), now the NMC 80/10/10 battery is used, which means that the change in the proportion of chemical elements has increased the capacity. The battery consists of 102 cells divided into 17 blocks.

The battery is charged using the built-in charger with a capacity of up to 11 kW: that is, it takes about five hours to fully charge the battery using a Wallbox-type AC device. Charging from a household outlet takes about 21 hours. It is also possible to charge at fast charging stations with direct current (DC), where the Citroen e-C4 can receive power up to 100 kW: in this case, it takes 30 minutes to charge the battery between 20-80%.

The basic versions of the Citroen eC4 electric vehicle in Europe are still offered with a 100 kW (136 hp) electric motor and a 50 kWh battery. However, the maximum version of the Citroen eC4 SHINE will receive updated technology: a more powerful 115 kW (156 hp) electric motor and an increased 54 kWh battery; this is the electric car that became the hero of the article. That is, this is not just an introduction to an electric car – it is also an introduction to a completely new technology for the eSMR platform and numerous “relatives” – electric cars (Peugeot, Opel, DS) on this platform that have already appeared or will soon appear in Ukraine.

Behind the wheel: how does the Citroen e-C4 electric car drive?

As for me, any incarnation of the current generation Citroen C4 is an example of comfort and softness of the suspension in its class. Small bumps disappear altogether, medium and large ones are carefully hidden so as not to disturb the driver and passengers once again. Yes, yes, of course, all this means swaying the body on the waves of uneven asphalt, which means the presence of large rolls in the turns. However, comfort fans will forgive everything for the incredible softness of the ride: a full justification of all expectations of traditional Citro-comfort!

And the main feature of the electric drive is that it fits this character perfectly. The Citroen e-C4 electric car is as comfortable as possible not only in terms of its suspension or light steering settings, but it is also as comfortable as possible in terms of acceleration and powertrain operation. After all, everything that designers are trying so hard to achieve with careful soundproofing of the internal combustion engine and settings for soft shifts of the automatic transmission is already present in electric vehicles from the very beginning. Therefore, driving the Citroen e-C4 electric car is very smooth and soft – like a flying feather…

Sorry for the somewhat childish comparisons, but I really liked the Citroen e-C4. A wonderful harmony of comfortable suspension and comfortable electric drive! It does everything easily, it relaxes and soothes, you don’t want to rush and accelerate sharply. And, frankly speaking… The Citroen e-C4 electric car offers three driving modes, but only in the sport mode is it possible to get 115 kW of power and 260 Nm of torque, only here you can count on maximum dynamics. The standard mode already means reduced power – a maximum of 80 kW and 220 Nm of torque can be obtained. And the economy mode offers only 60 kW of power and 150 Nm of torque. Although the maximum speed is the same for all driving modes – 150 km/h.

The electric motor ensures maximum smooth acceleration control, which is ideal for the smoothest possible suspension. The promised acceleration figure of 0-100 km/h in 9.2 seconds is achieved without any problems at all, even on winter tires! But only if the battery is fully or almost fully charged – because when the battery is about half discharged, the electric car loses some dynamics and loses half a second to itself. The change in driving modes affects the predicted range – the difference reaches plus or minus 10% up or down. I had a case when, after a cautiously economical driving style and a full charge, an electric car in economy mode had a predicted range of 436 km with a declared maximum of 420 km! But…

But the predicted range in economy mode was never fulfilled: I drove less than promised. In the worst cases, the ratio was 2/3 of the promised one – that is, it would be as if the promised 436 km in reality turned out to be 291 km. Normal or sport mode gave more realistic power reserve figures.

Another interesting observation: energy consumption is stated at 14.7-16.5 kWh per 100 km. By the way, the figures are quite honest – in the city I got 15-16 kWh per 100 km, and the same consumption of 15-16 kWh was also observed when driving on the highway at a speed of about a hundred. But taking into account the battery capacity (54 kWh), even the declared passport indicators of energy consumption give us 327-367 km of range. Moreover, we still need to subtract a certain amount of battery capacity that is not usually used. So, the conclusion is that you should really expect a range of about 300-320 km, plus or minus another 10% for driving style or driving conditions.

However, I should note that the test drive took place in early spring and we had to turn on the “climate”, which means energy consumption (although the Citroen e-C4 is designed with a heat pump to compensate for this). In addition, the electric car has just started operating and its battery may not yet have reached the best full charge/discharge operating modes. In addition, at the time of the test, the electric car was “shod” with winter tires, which usually have increased rolling resistance compared to summer tires. Finally, the last “besides”: if you drive as smoothly and carefully as possible, you can sometimes achieve energy consumption of 14 kWh per 100 km. This is all to say that the possible maximum range in summer and under optimal operating conditions will be greater.

Cost: how much does the Citroen e-C4 electric car cost?

In the Ukrainian market, the Citroen e-C4 electric car is available in only one SHINE version. And this means not only the highest possible technology, but also the highest possible equipment: Adaptive cruise control with full stop function, lane keeping assist, mirror blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, front and side airbags, side curtain airbags, RNS suspension, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera, 10-inch touchscreen display, standard navigation, ECO LED headlights, adaptive high beams, fog lights with side beam function, 18-inch alloy wheels, etc. The cost of an electric car Citroen eC4 SHINE in Ukraine – from UAH 1.29-1.34 million or about $33-34 thousand, depending on the year of issue (2023 or 2024).

Of course, in such cases, the question of overpaying for an electric car always arises. For example: a gasoline hatchback Citroen C4 PureTech 130 SHINE automatic transmission costs from UAH 1.08 million, and a diesel car Citroen C4 BlueHDi 130 S&S SHINE automatic transmission is estimated at UAH 1.12 million; in both cases, to approximately equalize the list of equipment, you need to add wireless charging and contrasting roof painting – which is almost UAH 20 thousand more to the above prices. Therefore, if we compare gasoline/diesel cars in 2024 costing at least UAH 1.1-1.14 million against an electric car costing UAH 1.34 million, we get an overpayment of UAH 200-240 thousand.

The electric car comes with a good range of equipment: 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights with automatic high beam switching, climate control, heated seats and steering wheel, a 10-inch widescreen display, numerous security systems, a rearview camera, wireless charging, and more. The seats are covered with a combination of fabric and eco-leather. The red trim around the fog lamps is an optional Anodized Red package; the red pearl body color is also an option; but the contrasting black roof color is standard.

Test drive results: should you buy the Citroen e-C4 electric car or not?

The new Citroen e-C4 has joined the list of “official” electric vehicles, and it looks and feels very nice. I specifically used the word “official” to clarify. After all, for the price of the Citroen e-C4, you can choose many electric vehicles (even quite well-known brands) with Chinese origin. All of them will offer larger batteries and range, larger dimensions, and more powerful engines.

However, they will not offer the service support of authorized dealers and a full factory warranty. In addition, authorized dealers usually offer a variety of profitable financial programs – for example, there is now leasing for electric vehicles with a -20% discount on the amount of financing. And don’t forget about the advantages of the Citroen e-C4 already mentioned above: comfort on the go, comfortable interior, maximum equipment. All in all, it turns out that this is a very comfortable electric car in literally every way: from the initial purchase process to the ease and softness of driving to mental comfort thanks to the support of official service.

That is why the appearance of the Citroen e-C4 on the Ukrainian market is not about a race for maximum power or mileage: these indicators are clearly not “record-breaking”, but let’s just say “sufficient”. The appearance of the Citroen e-C4 electric car on the Ukrainian market should be considered comprehensively: driving comfort, high level of equipment, favorable financing, and support from “officials”. Is this your option? Then the new Citroen e-C4 SHINE is your electric car.

Test drive of the Citroen e-C4 electric car: key questions and answers

The car is provided by Representative office of Citroen in Ukraine