Best of all worlds for the family in a choice of ICE or EV

The all-new Citroen C4 is a little perplexing  at first acquaintance. With styling inspired by the classic Citroen GS, it’s a kinda crossover yet is as much a rival for a Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus as it is for C-HR and Kuga. Citroen give you one car where others may offer two – including within its own family group as this shares its platform with the Peugeot 208 and 2008.

However this is the longest iteration of that chassis as can be witnessed in its sleeker form, but also from the remarkable practicality it offers. There’s a useful 380-litre boot expandable to 1250-litres with the rear seats down, and talking of which, there is certainly room to accommodate a six-footer like yours truly in the rear – moreso than it’s cousins from Peugeot.

Prices for the C4 range from  £21k to £28,255 and the trim levels are Sense, Sense Plus, Shine and Shine Plus. It’s available with petrol engines with a choice of 100, 130 and 155bhp outputs and offered with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed auto (you only get an auto with the most powerful engine). You could also opt for 110bhp (6-speed manual) or 130bhp (8-speed auto) diesel units. There’s also a full electric version available dubbed the e-C4 with prices ranging from £30,395-£32,545 – more on that in a bit.

The model tested was the C4 PureTech 130 S&S in manual and Sense Plus  priced from £23k. It pretty much has all the kit you could need unless you’re really going to miss the rear centre armrest. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol turbocharged engine delivers 130bhp and 170lb ft of torque endowing the car with rest to 62mph acceleration of an on-par 8.9 seconds and a top speed of 130mph. This is more than adequate for city driving, motorway cruising and even chewing up some back roads. Combined fuel consumption is an impressive 54.7mpg and CO2 emissions are 135g/km.

Despite Citroen insisting this car is geared towards comfort, backed up by the softer seats and excellent suspension, it’s playful and enjoyable enough on the go. The instrumentation is clear and intuitive and the sensation is of driving a hatchback but sitting a little higher.

When it comes to the all-electric e-C4, since the platform, which you’ll also find underpinning EV versions of the Peugeot 2008 and Vauxhall Corsa, was intended from the outset to be electric, there are little if any compromises to be found here in terms of space for humans or their luggage, apart from the fact you’ll have bulky cables in the back.

If you mostly charge at home, you won’t need to carry them around. Citroen claims a range of 217 miles. So allowing for a realistic range of about 180-190 miles depending on usage, it is entirely usable as a daily driver.

With a 50kWh lithium ion battery on board along with a 7.4kW charging (11kW is optional) a 100kW CCS Rapid charger should get it juiced back up to 80% in 30 minutes. Plug it in at home – once you’ve taken advantage of the free PodPoint 7kW home charger Citroen throws in – and seven and half hours should get the battery up to full bars.

With a 100kW motor driving the front wheels, it puts out the equivalent of 136bhp and 192lb ft of torque getting it to 62mph in 9 seconds and onto 93mph. And it feels like a properly grown up electric car from behind the wheel, mostly matching the non-electric versions for driving dynamics, but adding a tighter sense of solidity and somehow an even more refined experience. 

Get the e-C4 if electric makes sense for you, but even with the regular ICE (internal combustion engine) versions, the new C4 could be the most obvious all-round choice for families in the current Citroen line-up.

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