Citroen’s e-C4X is a fully electric version that blurs the segment lines, but it works
There were more than a few questions about what the new e C4-X actually is when the gathered motor press arrived into Madrid and got a first look.
The thing is, motoring journalists (and motoring engineers/designers, for that matter) like to put cars in boxes. The segments are lettered and, as you would imagine, there are a huge number of them as the lines continue to blur.
Citroen’s newest baby is the full-electric version of the recently announced C4 X, a longer saloon (ish) car that sits high and long.
The combustion engine version of this car is for sale elsewhere, but Citroen Ireland is one of the 14 regions globally to only take on the electric version of the brand new model. And it is a brave move that we think will benefit the company.
The blurred lines of the segment choice may bother some people, but it doesn’t bother me, and it certainly isn’t a consideration to the car-buying public.
I think it is a great looking car with a good, sturdy set up and build that sits up off the road a little more than you would expect of a fastback saloon.
The preferred view is the rear. It’s like they just wanted this new car to stick its bum in the air and have created a deeper, more spacious boot as a result. It’s now capable of 510 litres which is pretty good. It is more than the likes of the Arkana, for example, which I think is a good comparison on body shape, even if the powertrain is completely different.
The saloon-style boot door and extra length means the space has grown by 130 litres in the car’s hatchback version, which almost justifies the chassis style change alone. And there’s a new sloping roofline that makes the whole thing look really well.
The wheel arches have a black plastic cover which (when paired with any paint job other than black) gives an added height and girth that you don’t normally see in cars of this shape.
The presentation on Tuesday in the Spanish capital suggested that you get a feel of SUV out of it, even though it sits in a different segment.
OK, so enough about the outside. The interior of the e-C4 X is well laid out and has some nice design features using several different materials. There is a good, chunky multi-function steering wheel that is almost flat bottomed and topped and sits in front of several well-designed screens.
The digital cluster behind the wheel is nicely designed and lit and connects directly to a colourised head-up display that erupts from the dashboard when the car starts.
The 10” touchscreen sits right in the middle of the dashboard and continues to use Citroen’s infotainment system that we have seen in recent new models and model refreshes. Rather cleverly, they have a half dozen or so built-in tutorials which walk you through the personalisation of the car and several handy tip videos to get new buyers comfortable with the car as quickly as possible.
There is a good wireless smartphone mirroring so you can connect and run Android Auto or Apple CarPlay without any cables and there is a wireless phone charger available which worked really well during my test drive.
Actual knobs and controls are included for climate control too, which is also welcome.
Row two is another positive from me as legroom and headroom is very good. A third adult in the rear is probably going to be an uncomfortable stretch but I will test that out properly when I get a full week in the car as soon as it lands in the country in the coming months.
Powering the e-C4 X is a 50kWh battery and a 100kW (approximately 136hp) electric motor that drives the car from the front wheels. It is a very smooth and comfortable drive, and despite our test drive taking place during rush hour in the Spanish capital, I think this is where the car is built to perform.
When you get out of the city, you find yourself on motorways where the e-C4 X has a little pep in its step to safely overtake when necessary but isn’t anything that you would take to a drag race.
The range is supposed to be 360km also but I don’t think that is accurate. I look forward to testing it properly over the course of a week of school runs and weekday urban commutes. The motorway just seemed to soak up the range.
There are three different driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Sport but as I say, just leave it in ‘Normal’ and you will do just fine.
Pricing is yet to be finalised and while Irish buyers will only have the full-EV version to choose from they will have the choice of four specification grades: Feel, Feel Pack, Flair and Flair Pack.
In conclusion: It may have a slight identity crisis, but only among a few small corners of the industry. The most important and relevant segment is the "car buying” one and if Citroen get the price right they should do really well with this new EV.