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Citroen e C4X 2024 long-term test

Citroen eC4X front lead
Citroen eC4X front lead

Why we’re running it: To see if this electric fastback saloon can outmuscle the growing SUV market

Month 1 - Specs

Life with an E-C4 X: Month 2

Is this EV twice as good as a petrol C4? Jonathan Bryce isn't convinced - 3 March

Having driven and liked the Citroën C4 in petrol guise, I was intrigued to see if the electric version could continue the trend, which meant borrowing Jack Warrick's -C4 X saloon for a week.

It was clear very early on that it was one of the most comfortable cars I've driven. But is it a good electric car? I'm not so sure. Initially, I was pleasantly surprised to find it had a very practical interior, with enough space to store all my office jetsam.

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For instance, the door pockets are cavernous and there's even a coat hanger that pops out of the dash. It makes me think Citroën had high-mileage fleet drivers in mind during development.

If you're looking for a car to simply let you get in and drive away, though, the -C4 X (or at least our ë-C4 X) isn't the most welcoming. I pushed the starter button once and nothing happened. I pushed it again and still nothing.

A third time? You might get something (I often did, but a fourth try is never far off. And I was not alone in having this issue: colleagues have struggled with temperamental electronics, too.

I was also fighting to navigate an ergonomically troubled dashboard. Wrapping my head around Citroen's infotainment was difficult at first, and I didn't even notice the 'home' menu on the touchscreen until after three days with the car.

Even then, I only found it because somebody showed it to me. I assumed the button with a house symbol next to it would take me there, but after I pressed it, the screen did nothing

The car redeemed itself on day two, however. I had to get to Gatwick airport, which meant motorway driving and bumpy surfaces that would put the suspension to work.

I had heard good things from my colleagues, and suffice to say I wasn't let down. The e-C4 X soaks up bumps and potholes with a measure of relaxation that almost makes it characterful.

Meanwhile, the light steering makes it very easy to manoeuvre, if you can forgive the lack of engagement. It also has a boot big enough to swallow a large suitcase and several jackets, at 510 Litres, although the opening could do with being wider.

The cars range wasn't a huge concern that day, because it was a relatively mild morning (8deg C) and the driving was mostly on motorways. On the 52-mile round trip, I stayed below 65mph and it averaged 4.0mpkWh. I returned having reduced the trip computers range prediction by around 80 miles. Not the best.

I felt strong range anxiety a couple of days later. I was due to travel a 94-mile round trip to Bicester Heritage and made sure I left with a full charge. The car predicted 216 miles.

I wanted to see how far I could go without using any of its battery-draining systems, like the air conditioning and radio, and I stuck to 56mph the whole time on the M40, even slipstreaming trucks.

It was uncomfortable (I could see my breath most of the way), dull and not worth the hassle. I arrived at Bicester with a predicted range of 123 miles, so I had used 93 miles on a 47-mile trip with everything switched off. Oh dear.

A difficult pill to swallow, then, and it's made worse by the fact that this car costs nearly £40,000 - twice as much as the £19,495 petrol C4.

Love it 

Can kick back

It’s supremely comfortable and relaxing on long distances, so long as you know when and where you will be able to charge.

Loathe it

But can't relax

Cold weather and speeds above 65mph make the range drop faster than an anchor.

Mileage: 7255

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Life with an E-C4 X: Month 1

Outstanding comfort and superb urban efficiency make for a happy commuter - 21 February

The e-C4 X's comfort levels are really impressive.

In fact, Id go so far as to say it's one of the most relaxing cars I've driven. Not only are the seats plush and comfortable but also the cabin is well insulated from road and wind noise.

Even on the most stressful roads (looking at you, London's North Circular), the silent powertrain and easy-going steering make life much more serene.

This has made my crack-of-dawn journeys from north London to the Autocar office in Twickenham a particularly easy task - and the French EV's efficiency bolsters its pacifying credentials even further. On my 20-odd-mile urban commute, it regularly returns 4.5mpkWh.

With the battery having a usable capacity of 46.2kWh, that means it returns a range of around 208 miles on a single charge. Considering that I drive around with the air conditioning on (albeit on the lowest fan speed setting), I'm pretty happy with that figure.

Overall, it's averaging around 3.9mpkWh, which translates to a slightly more disappointing 180 miles of range on a charge.

But I have been quite lucky. This winter has been relatively mild, so I've not needed to crank up the climate control to clear ice from the windscreen, warm up the cabin or demist. I do wonder how badly the range will be affected if temperatures drop below zero - something all EVs really hate.

The e-C4 X is at its best in Eco driving mode, rather than Normal or Sport. Not only do you gain an additional 20 miles of predicted range as a result but there's also still ample acceleration and enough power for cruising at 70mph. It's perfect for London's 20mph zones.

While the cabin is all about driver relaxation, I've had some issues with its technology. The infotainment system is a pain to use on the move, because everything is navigated with onscreen swipes and drag gestures and the voice assistant pops up while I'm chatting with my passenger.

The resolution of the digital screen behind the steering wheel is also really poor compared with what you see in new cars from other Stellantis brands. It even cuts off some of the text on the right-hand side of the screen when you've plugged the car in to a charger.

I instead mostly just refer to the digital head-up display, which shows me all the information I need - even if, at 6ft 2in, I am slightly too tall for it.

Love it 

X-Rated

The 510-litre boot is a decent size and some 130 litres bigger than that of the ë-C4 hatchback.

Loathe it

Letting it slide

The seats adjust electrically but not for moving back and forth, which I always forget.

Mileage: 5739

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Welcoming the E-C4 X to the fleet - 7 February 2024

The Citroën e-C4 X is a hard car to classify, even when you've spent a bit of time with one, as I have since ours arrived on the long-term test fleet.

The EV sits intriguingly within the increasingly blurred lines that separate different car categories, riding slightly higher than a traditional saloon but not quite by enough that you could call it an SUV. Coupé-SUV hatchback?

Raised fastback saloon? One of those descriptions is probably correct. Citroën itself calls the car a "fastback with the modern look of an SUV", so that's cleared that up...

One absolutely clear thing is that Citroën has stayed true to its comfort-biased roots because the e-C4 X has already made a case for it being among the Stellantis group's most relaxing cars to drive.

This electric fastback prioritises comfort above all else - a point emphasised by its gloriously plush seats and bump-absorbing ride.

To that end, it's equipped with the French brand's Advanced Comfort suspension, which features dual hydraulic stops at the front and rear. In some ways, it feels like a Rolls-Royce Spectre for the everyman.

Okay, so obviously it's not going to be taking on the £330,000 ultra-luxurious Spirit of Ecstasy in any forthcoming comparison tests, but it is jolly nice inside and it comes with a 10.0in touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a crisp head-up display, as well as a 5.5mm digital screen behind the steering wheel.

It feels very quiet on the move too. There are no rattles inside, road noise is kept to a minimum and I've struggled to detect the sound of wind rushing past, even on faster roads.

The C4 X uses the same e-CMP platform as several other Stellantis models, including the DS 3, the Peugeot 2008 and the smaller Vauxhall Corsa, and it also shares much of its internals with the electric versions of those cars.

You could even, in effect, think of this car as an electric version of the Peugeot 408, which was run by chief sub-editor Kris Culmer towards the end of last year.

Anyone eyeing up an -C4 X is probably looking for an EV with practicality in mind, and it doesn't disappoint on that front. There's 510 litres of boot space with the rear seats raised and that increases to 1360 litres when they're folded. That compares favourably with the 425 litres offered by the Tesla Model 3 and the 405 litres of the Polestar 2.

There's room for three adults to fit comfortably in the back too. Where the e-C4 X is widely outclassed, though, is on range. Its 50kWh battery (46.2kWh usable capacity) is claimed to offer just 221 miles on a single charge, although Citroen says this can rise as high as 303 miles in the city. That's a figure I'll certainly be putting to the test, because my driving will be split mostly between London use and longer stints on the motorway.

Power looks relatively modest on paper as well. A single, front-mounted permanent magnet synchronous motor supplies 134bhp and 192lb ft of torque. However, so far I've found it to be more than adequate in most situations. It helps that the 1623kg kerb weight is fairly light for an EV.

Besides, the e-C4 X is a car to be driven in a manner befitting its aura of calm, rather than ragged around corners. It's certainly no driver's car and nor is it intended to be one, as its leisurely 0-62mph time of 10.0sec attests. In that respect, it will be a marked contrast to the 308bhp BMW iX1 that I ran most recently.

The e-C4 X is priced from £32,195 but in Shine Plus form starts at £35,495, rising to £37,140 with the options fitted to ours. Beneath this range-topping model are the more affordable Sense and Shine trims.

Owners get a lot of equipment for their money. In addition to LED headlights, a reversing camera, dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers and a heated steering wheel (which are all standard), our car features optional metallic paint, wireless smartphone charging and a tablet cradle to keep your passenger entertained on the move.

The optional Hype Black interior ambience pack fitted to our car is also worth mentioning because it's all very Citroën. It adds grey stitching, heated front seats, a plusher leather steering wheel, four-way adjustable electric seats and electric lumbar support and massage functions.

By spanning the saloon and SUV classes, the e-C4 X finds itself up against a huge range of competition from both segments. Our job over the coming months is to see if it's up to that task. First impressions suggest it could be a good option for those seeking an affordable electric company car, so that will be on our radar too.

And that's not all. While this electric version of the C4 X has been on sale since 2022, Citroen has now also decided to bring its internal combustion equivalent to the UK this year in response to customer demand.

So we plan to switch to a petrol car down the line, which should make for an interesting comparison of two comfort-driven sibling models. But we're in no rush to find out which C4 X is best. This simply isn't that kind of car.

Second Opinion

It flies under the radar and it’s so very comfortable – two favourable qualities compared with big, bulbous SUVs. I hope Jack has more luck in coaxing a decent range out of it, though. In my experience, it stopped far short of the manufacturer’s claim, even with ‘wasteful’ systems turned off.

Jonny Bryce

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Citroen E-C4 X 50kWh Shine Plus specification

Specs: Price New £35,495 Price as tested £37,140 Options Hype Black interior ambience pack £800, Platinum Grey metallic paint £595, wireless smartphone charger £150, Citroën Smart Pad Support £100

Test Data: Engine 1x front-mounted electric motor Power 134bhp Torque 192lb ft Kerb weight 1623kg Top speed 93mph 0-62mph 10sec Fuel economy 4.4mpkWh (claimed) CO2 0g/km Faults None Expenses None

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