Citroën eC4: this electric car has a surprise for your iPad

Citroen eC4
(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Citroën eC4 is the fully electric version of the French firm's new compact, crossover SUV, the C4. 

With slightly sportier styling and a raised - but not overly high - ride height the eC4 stands out from Citroën's Aircross SUV models.

The standard, petrol-powered C4 starts at £23,005 but, for the fully electric car, the price starts at a loftier £33,395 (before the government grant discount). We drove the top-of-the-line Shine Plus model, which bumps the asking price to £35,545 (before the government grant discount).

It means the eC4 is similarly priced to the all-electric Kia eNiro and Hyundai Kona - all three of which are compact SUVs, giving consumers a greater choice at this more affordable price point. 

Citroën eC4 design

We drove

Citroen eC4

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Citroën eC4 Shine Plus
: 136bhp (100KW)
Battery: 50kWh
Top Speed: 93 mph
0-62mph: 9 seconds
Range: up to 217 miles
Price: £33,090 (with grant)

As we've mentioned already, Citroën has styled the eC4 in a sportier way, with a slightly more aggressive stance, sweeping roofline and angular bodywork with slender headlights peering out from beneath the hood.

The new C4 series stands out from the rest of the Citroën range, and its design could attract new demographics to the brand who may not be sold on the more-boxy options across its other vehicles.

Move inside and you'll find a spacious cabin with pleasingly comfortable seats featuring heating functions, plus our eC4 model came with a heated steering wheel - which is always a nice extra on those cold mornings.

There's a decent amount of storage too, with a storage compartment - for your phone, keys, wallet and associated pocket items - at the base of the center console, sitting below a wireless phone charging platform. 

You also get dual cup holders which can be covered to hide anything valuable you may choose to leave there, plus there's more storage under the armrest between the two front seats.

The rear seats are accommodating too, with a suitable amount of leg and head room. A central armrest folds down from the back of the middle seat and has two cup holders in it, plus behind this is a hatch providing access to the boot. 

The door pockets aren't the biggest we've seen, but there are magazine pockets on the rear of the front seats allowing passengers to stow reading material and devices.

Citroën eC4 drive, range and charging

As we've already mentioned, you get a slightly elevated driving position in the Citroën eC4, but don't expect the usual SUV levels of height. However, the extra altitude you are afforded does make for a better view out of the vehicle.

Give the start/stop button a hard press and the eC4 turns on, with the dual displays - one behind the wheel, the other atop the center console - coming to life.

The electric motor produces the equivalent of 136bhp, and the Citroën eC4 has decent pick-up, with smooth acceleration that gets you from 0-62mph in a tidy nine seconds. 

Its top speed of 93mph isn't going to win it any awards, but the eC4 can cruise happily at motorway speed and there is enough grunt to make overtaking easy.

Handling is also responsive, and if you change the drive mode from Normal to Sport, you'll find you can have a bit of fun around corners, while straight-line acceleration is sharper.

Citroen eC4

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you'd rather drive more economically, you can switch to Eco mode which limits the power available to you, helping you to extend the range as much as possible. Citroën says the eC4 can provide up to 217 miles of range from the 50kWh battery - but you'll likely have to be in Eco mode pretty much constantly and avoid fast-moving roads.

The battery is on the smaller side for electric cars of this size, and Citroën currently doesn't offer a larger power pack in the form of an extended range option.

With our mix of driving, including motorway speeds as well as city driving, we were able to get around 120 miles from a single charge. If you use Eco mode more, and mainly drive around town, then you'll get closer to 200 miles from a single charge.

One of the plus sizes of the smaller battery is the eC4 charges quickly. At a superfast charger, we were able to replenish 80% of the charge (roughly 165 miles) in under 40 minutes.

Citroen eC4

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Citroën eC4 specs and tech

The Citroën eC4 is well equipped when it comes to tech, but we want to focus on one particularly unique aspect first - its dedicated tablet holder for the front passenger.

Most of us are familiar with the glovebox on the passenger side of our cars, but instead of one compartment, you'll find three in the eC4. The bottom, and largest section, is a traditional glove compartment, but the two sections above it offer something a little different.

Press the silver button of the middle section and it slides out like a draw, with the shallow space hiding an instruction booklet and a case for your iPad or Android tablet. 

The case has a number of foam inserts, allowing you to securely fit your particular tablet - from the smaller Amazon Fire 7 to the 10.2-inch iPad Air 4 - although this case is not compatible with Apple's largest slates, the 12.9-inch iPad Pros. 

The chunky case comes with its own screen protector, which you may find a little odd and it does limit your touch inputs slightly, but there's a good reason for its presence. It actually acts as a privacy screen, which means the driver can't see what's on-screen.

This allows the front seat passenger to watch a movie or TV show on their tablet, and the driver can't watch along - handy, as they need to keep their eyes on the road.

Back to the trio of sections, and the third and final compartment - at the top of the stack - pushes out to form a mount to attach Citroën's dedicated case to. This holds the tablet at a comfortable height on the dash, giving the passenger hands-free viewing, without blocking the view out of the front of the car.

It's certainly a nice added extra to have, and the fact it all neatly packs away means the cabin isn't cluttered with mounts and cases.

Taking a look at what else is on offer here, you get climate control and a range of driving aids including cruise control and adaptive lane assist, along with automatic lights and wipers.

Your main infotainment display comes in the form of a 10-inch, landscape touchscreen which sits atop the dashboard - and unlikely some in-car systems, it's extremely straightforward to use.

Citroën has developed a simplified interface making the technology accessible to pretty much anyone. The large, tiled design gives clear directions to the core applications available, such as radio, navigation and phone.

It doesn't offer up an abundance of options, or have sub-menus on top of sub-menus of various settings - it's clean and simple. Those who like to tinker with settings and personalize their car's setup may find the lack of options here disappointing but, for others, it'll offer just what you need.

The simplified approach continues across to the 5.5-inch TFT instrument cluster display located behind the steering wheel. Again, the information displayed and the options you have on this screen are limited, but it still functions well and is clear to read.

This is complemented by a HUD (heads-up display) which sees a glass panel automatically rise out of the dash when the eC4 is started and displays core information including your current speed, the road's speed limit and navigation directions in your eye-line on the road.

It all works nicely, but for those who want a bit more tech at their disposal, the Citroën eC4 also has support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Connect your smartphone to the USB-C port and you'll be able to mirror core apps (such as Apple Maps, Google Maps, Messages, WhatsApps, Spotify and more) onto the 10-inch display.

This provides you with some different mapping options - although the built-in nav worked well for us - as well as enhanced media playback and voice control.

The Citroën eC4 is an excellent feather in the firm's electric car cap, with plenty of tech, the uniquely useful tablet holder and a design which will appeal to a wider customer base than some of its other vehicles. 

We do wish the range was a little better, but if you're looking for an electric car with space for both luggage and passengers for mainly city driving, the eC4 offers up a compelling proposition.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.