Value for money is the goal with new saloon version of leisurely family hatchback

Find Citroen e-C4 X deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
New car deals
Nearly-new car deals
From £18,991
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

Plenty of car makers still seem intent on forcing SUVs into as many niches of the market as possible, but a few, such as Citroën, clearly now believe that at least some customers are ready to move back into lower, sleeker options.

It’s actually becoming quite difficult to keep up with the number of alternative crossover-style vehicles being introduced by Stellantis’s French brands. Citroën kicked us off with its jacked-up, fastback C5 X in 2021, which stablemate Peugeot then launched a sibling for, in 2022, in the form of the 408.

Comparing the ë-C4 and ë-C4 X makes me wonder if the latter was planned when the former was designed. Surely a more conventional design for the rear end of the C4, and a bigger liftback for this car, would have allowed Citroën to better appeal to a broader customer base?

The subject of this week’s road test is a more compact and accessible take on a similar theme and comes in electric-only form in the UK. The Citroën ë-C4 X is ostensibly an enlarged version of the ë-C4 hatchback, but the ways in which it has grown may not be quite the ones you’d expect on the basis of its model nomenclature. Rather than growing upwards, the ë-C4 X has been stretched a little lengthways, and given a bigger boot and more elongated proportions, in a way much more redolent of saloon adaptations of mid-sized hatches from the 1980s and 1990s than any modern crossover conversion.

Being something of a crossover hatchback in five-door form, the Citroën C4 has passed on plenty of SUV design DNA to this ë-C4 X in any case. The resultant car has an interestingly blended sort of body profile, being part crossover SUV, part hatchback and part saloon – but, quite typical of Citroën, also 100% unusual.

Back to top

Range at a glance

08 Citroen e c4x rt 2023 vestige of airbump 0

Citroën’s decision to make the ë-C4 X an electric-only model in UK showrooms keeps the range here simple. The car is offered over three trim levels, Sense, Shine and Shine Plus. Extra active safety functionality is the main lure to spend more, with Citroën’s Safety Pack Plus upgrading the AEB system and adding extra traffic sign recognition on mid- and upper-trim cars.

Three-phase AC charging, at 11kW, is an option (and unlikely to be in much demand in the UK), while the Hype Black interior ambience (£800, as fitted to our test car) could become a de facto trim level itself on mid- and upper-level models.



02 Citroen e c4X RT 2023 front cornering

Citroën’s intention with the ë-C4 X was to design a product for the affordable end of the family car market – one with more elegance than the typical big hatchback or compact SUV, greater aerodynamic efficiency and no less practicality. Quite a tough brief.

With small and skinny (by today’s standards) 18in wheels, a relatively high ride height and longish front and rear overhangs (as a consequence of the transverse-mounted motor and the extended rear), the ë-C4 X doesn’t have what many designers would call ‘stance’. It’s bulky – and borderline ungainly in some areas. But, like the C4 hatchback, it’s distinctive and the elongated silhouette does lend it a certain balance and sophistication in its overall proportions.

The ë-C4 X’s bumper and sill styling is a lot like that of the regular C4. Chunky plastic trims disguise the raised ride height a little, though. They’re kerb-friendly and Citroën is good at making a design feature out of them.

Underneath all that are familiar underpinnings. This is the biggest of Stellantis’s European-market cars to use the e-CMP model architecture that has so far sired most of the group’s electric models. Like the Vauxhall Corsa Electric and Peugeot e-2008, then, it’s driven by a front-mounted synchronous electric motor that supplies 134bhp and 192lb ft to the front wheels and is fed by a lithium ion drive battery carried under the cabin floor. The battery has just over 46kWh of usable capacity and can be rapid-charged at up to 100kW of power.

That’s a fairly modest capacity for a car of this size, but it also keeps weight down to a quietly reasonable 1623kg as tested (Kia Niro EV 1739kg, MG 4 Long Range 1692kg). Thanks to a more aerodynamic body design than the equivalent ë-C4 hatchback, the car has a WLTP combined electric range claim of 221 miles. That’s not enough to break down any psychological barriers but it may convince those who actually want a more energy-efficient option rather than necessarily the longest-range car they can afford.

At 4.6m in length, the car is 240mm longer than a C4 hatchback, but the entirety of that extra length is within the rear overhang. Extra rear cabin space has been created, claims Citroën, via a greater angle of recline for the rear seats, but most of the space yielded for the car is delivered in the boot.

Suspension is via coil springs all round, with MacPherson struts at the front axle and a torsion beam at the rear. Citroën’s Progressive Hydraulic Cushion bump stops also feature and Citroën claims this system’s progressive damping control, at the limit of travel, permits softer coil spring rates for the car overall, and better general ride comfort. (In this instance, those bumps stops work for both compression and rebound at the front axle, but for compression only at the rear.)


09 Citroen e c4X RT 2023 dashboard

It’s a shame Citroën didn’t extend the C4’s wheelbase at least a little for this car but perhaps that would have been more than the platform allowed. As it is, the ë-C4 X isn’t really any more spacious than the regular hatchback and, according to our measurements, offers less second-row occupant space than either a Volkswagen ID 3 or an MG 4. For a car sold so squarely on how well it affords on-board comfort, that’s not the greatest start in this section, although passenger comfort is about much more than just room to stretch out in.

With their memory foam construction, the ë-C4 X’s Advanced Comfort seats come with quite the billing. In our test car’s case, they also came with fairly lavish part-leather upholstery and, in the front, an electronic massage function – neither of which you might expect in a £35,000 family car. They were certainly soft enough and wide, although a little flat and lacking in lateral bolstering. They omitted to offer an adjustable cushion angle in the front or any cushion extension, which were both slight bugbears for the longer of leg.

The big boot is where the ë-C4 X delivers: there’s 510 litres of space back here, although it’s quite sparsely kitted out and there’s no flat-floor easy-loading option.

Seats and outright space aside, the ë-C4 X offers decent visibility in most directions, especially from the second row. Up front, the car’s B-pillars can seem somewhat obstructive when negotiating T-junctions and roundabouts, but your view forwards and rearwards is clearer.

A slightly over-simplified but very readable digital instrument screen is easily visible through the orbit of a medium-sized steering wheel, with a head-up display relaying a little information more usefully close to your natural line of sight. You can choose exactly which information (trip computer data, motor power/regen, navigation instructions or driver assistance info) that instrument screen contains, but combining elements from different modes is beyond it.

There’s an average but useful amount of cabin storage around and about the driver. Further rearwards, that expanded boot is accessed via a notchback-style bootlid rather than a hatch. It’s a shallower space than the C4 hatchback offers but still quite long and wide and well able to swallow bigger suitcases and storage boxes, although it’s a little sparsely provisioned. (There are no power sockets or retention nets.)

Does it all amount to a particularly comfortable or appealing interior for a mid-sized family car? The cabin’s standard varies from average to respectable to good, depending on what you are judging it on, but for the ë-C4 X’s price, it passes muster.

Multimedia system

17 Citroen e c4x rt 2023 infotainment 1

Mid- and high-trim versions of the ë-C4 X get the latest MyCitroën Drive Plus infotainment system, which has already been seen on the C5 X. It’s a 10.0in touchscreen system with integrated connected navigation and wireless smartphone connectivity for both Apple and Android devices. Wireless device charging is supposed to be an option on range-topping Shine Plus models only, but our mid-spec car had it anyway.

There are limited physical menu controls for the system, and no cursor controller, but the touchscreen interface is fairly well structured and easy to navigate – and there are separate climate controls.

Voice control works consistently well when entering navigation destinations, and the navigation system plots routes intelligently and with good live traffic information, although we did find the mapping’s ‘north up’ auto zoom settings unhelpful and persistently hard to disable.



19 Citroen e c4X RT 2023 underbonnet

The ë-C4 X has 83bhp per tonne – a little less than a mid-range 1.6-litre Citroën ZX hatchback had in 1991. It’s enough for decent day-to-day progress but it doesn’t make this car explode your notions of what an electric motor might do as an aid to performance or drivability.

The powertrain’s key dynamic strengths are its smoothness and refinement, its responsiveness and linearity, and the modest but accessible muscle it affords when picking up from low speeds. It could be improved by better driver controls for battery regeneration, and a slightly firmer and more progressive-feeling brake pedal. More power would be nice but, for a car that targets dynamic qualities other than athleticism, it’s far from necessary.

I like the boldness of the ë-C4 X’s efficiency: more range would have meant a bigger, heavier battery, and diminishing marginal returns. But if I could have better manual control of battery regen, I’d enjoy driving it quite a bit more.

You can disable the electronic traction control when starting from rest (it re-engages automatically above 30mph), but on a dry surface there’s no chance of even a hint of wheel slip if you do. From rest to 60mph takes almost 10sec, a figure that might have been marginally quicker but for Stellantis’s decision to fit a longer final drive ratio to its e-CMP electric drive unit last year after it realised that EV buyers shopping at the value end of the market care more about efficiency and range than acceleration.

That was a sensible decision. Because while it’s unlikely to excite, the ë-C4 X has good drivability and is adequately fast, and as a calm and relaxing means of getting from A to B it’s breezily simple to drive, quiet and fairly efficient.

It could have been made more efficient still, however, if Citroën had offered greater driver control of energy regeneration. As it is, you can cycle the ë-C4 X’s drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) but none of those makes an appreciable difference to how hard the car harvests kinetic energy on a trailing throttle. There’s a ‘B’ transmission mode that blends in maximum motor regen instantly, but there are no paddles, toggle switches or touchscreen controls to dial it down to nothing, to allow the most efficient conservation of momentum on an open road.


20 Citroen e c4X RT 2023 front cornering cropped

The low-effort, comfort-centred dynamic character that Citroën aims for with its cars has been given another outing with the ë-C4 X and executed fairly competently, although not exceptionally well.

Handling precision hasn’t been totally cast aside, though, because the truth is that this simply wouldn’t feel like a modern family car if it went down the road anything like a 1980s BX or even the 1990s ZX we referenced earlier. There is softness and absorption about the ride gait, but there aren’t extremes of float or body roll. Transverse ridges that work the suspension identically across the axles are absorbed really gently but asymmetrical axle inputs like sunken drains and smaller bumps aren’t dealt with so calmly.

The drive motor is mounted on the front axle and the drive battery is carried under the cabin floor. Our test car’s weight was distributed 55% front, 45% rear. (For comparison, the C4 1.2 Puretech 130 was 62% front and 38% rear.)

The way the ë-C4 X wriggles and fidgets around its roll axis as it bobs down a country lane reveals that its suspension has greater lateral stiffness than vertical – softish springs, but firmer anti-roll bars, in other words. And while the latter prevent it from rolling around corners and ensure the high-speed stability Citroën wants for the car, they also prevent it from gliding along quite like the modernised classic, downsized French luxo saloon you might wish it was.

Grip levels are medium light, but still strong enough to allow the car to carry brisker cornering speeds around smoother bends. Steering that’s particularly light at low speeds is recalibrated for greater weight at higher ones, and especially so in Sport mode. So there’s no great risk of any sense of flightiness or sensitivity about the car’s handling – but equally, no risk of any contact patch feel either.

Get too ambitious with your rate of progress (that electric powertrain doesn’t make it easy) and you will find the margins of the car’s roadholding quite subtly but effectively guarded by its always-on stability control system. The car is stable and understeers at the limit, but the electronics don’t allow you to find that out without a lot of commitment.

Comfort and isolation

21 Citroen e c4x rt 2023 rear cornering cropped

This is where the ë-C4 X feels like it should have excelled. In the end, it’s good – if a little way short of exceptional.

Having low rolling resistance for a modern passenger car and being fairly aerodynamic, it is generally quiet-riding. On Millbrook’s high-speed bowl, it generated 62dBA of cabin noise at a 50mph cruise, where an ID 3 an MG 4 were 2dBA and 3dBA noisier (in less clement test conditions in the MG’s case).

Road surface noise is quite low, wind noise likewise. But Citroën’s hydraulic bump stops don’t always seem adept at filtering out ‘bump-thump’-style axle noise as the car crosses ridges and broken asphalt, so the suspension can at times feel a little under-damped and excitable.

With the reservations noted earlier, Citroën’s front seats offer decent space, adjustability and comfort, with the driver’s side offering some motorised adjustment and adjustable lumbar support in the case of our test car, which had an optional seat upgrade. The lane keeping system makes for fairly relaxed long-distance motorway driving (although you will want to turn it off on winding A-roads) and its other driver aids are mostly unintrusive.

Assisted driving notes

22 Citroen e c4x rt 2023 assisted driving

The entry-level ë-C4 X has Citroën’s Standard Safety Pack, which includes a lower-tier autonomous emergency braking system with pedestrian detection and lane departure warning. Only on mid- and high-trim cars is this upgraded to include AEB with cyclist detection and after-dark functionality, as well as a traffic sign recognition system that actually recognises posted speed limits.

The lane keeping assistance defaults to on with every restart and there’s no physical button to deactivate it, just a three-stage process via the central touchscreen. And you’ll become familiar with that because while the system works well enough on motorways, it’s a little too intrusive and inconsistent to be worth using on minor A- and B-roads.

A prod of a button just under the infotainment screen brings up a menu via which you can manage the other systems, but most are unobtrusive enough to be left on.



01 Citroen e c4X RT 2023 lead driving front

The ë-C4 X is quite a lot of electric car to be available from £31,995. With one or two exceptions, most EVs at the price point are supermini-sized and only one or two offer cabin space fit for two rows of adult passengers. Indeed, the way that Volkswagen UK has now abandoned sales of cheaper ID 3 derivatives shows how hard it is to make money out of sub-£35,000 EVs, if you’re not very careful about how and where you make them.

So any car the size of, say, a Polestar 2 with an electric range that is at least broadly comparable but a price a good 30% lower should attract plenty of attention. Our mid-spec ë-C4 X test car came in within a few hundred pounds of £35k but had plenty of equipment (wireless device charging, networked navigation, heated leather) and still felt like relatively good value.

Spec advice? The entry-level Sense doesn’t miss out on much important kit. Have that and add metallic paint (£595) and a rear parking camera (£180).

Its usable range was a slightly poorer advert for it, but shouldn’t deter too many. A remaining range indicator that tends to overestimate slightly typically promises a little over 200 miles on a full charge, but you will need to stick to urban motoring or 50mph country roads to get close to achieving that. In more typical UK motorway touring, 150 miles is likelier. That’s better than a lower-end Nissan Leaf and plenty of other rivals, but it is still not massively reassuring – especially given the car’s DC rapid-charging performance, which, as we verified it, is slower than that of key rivals.


The ë-C4 X invites you to dismiss it as a niche derivative of an electric hatchback that itself hasn’t found huge commercial success, but it deserves better than that.

First and foremost, it’s one more better-value option among a fast-growing field of family-friendly EVs – and we should welcome it. It has added variety to that emerging field of cars, too, and as such is equally welcome. Citroën’s ability to take an alternative tack on a compact family car concept, serving a customer base with their own tastes and priorities, has made this car unlike so many competitors. If you appreciate something different, you may very well like it and, very creditably, find it to be affordable.

It’s a shame that Citroën isn’t being as bold with its suspension technology and tuning as it is with its styling because that has prevented it from carving out an even clearer hyper-comfortable dynamic identity for the ë-C4 X. Likewise, it’s a pity that it didn’t create more cabin space, a little more range and better rapid-charging performance.

Even so, for the price, it’s quite hard to quibble with what Citroën is offering here: something well priced and a bit different.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders Autocar
Title: Road test editor

As Autocar’s chief car tester and reviewer, it’s Matt’s job to ensure the quality, objectivity, relevance and rigour of the entirety of Autocar’s reviews output, as well contributing a great many detailed road tests, group tests and drive reviews himself.

Matt has been an Autocar staffer since the autumn of 2003, and has been lucky enough to work alongside some of the magazine’s best-known writers and contributors over that time. He served as staff writer, features editor, assistant editor and digital editor, before joining the road test desk in 2011.

Since then he’s driven, measured, lap-timed, figured, and reported on cars as varied as the Bugatti Veyron, Rolls-Royce PhantomTesla RoadsterAriel Hipercar, Tata Nano, McLaren SennaRenault Twizy and Toyota Mirai. Among his wider personal highlights of the job have been covering Sebastien Loeb’s record-breaking run at Pikes Peak in 2013; doing 190mph on derestricted German autobahn in a Brabus Rocket; and driving McLaren’s legendary ‘XP5’ F1 prototype. His own car is a trusty Mazda CX-5.

Citroen e-C4 X First drives