From £25,4866

Citroen is no stranger to electric power. Back in the mid-1990s, it produced electric versions of the Berlingo, and sister company Peugeot built an electric 106. Nearly 20 years later, the world has caught up, and in a climate of spiralling fuel prices, buyers are now beginning to take electric vehicles seriously.

The Citroen C-Zero is effectively a rebadged version of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Peugeot iOn. It has a 66bhp electric motor fed by lithium-ion batteries mounted midships. A full recharge takes seven hours from a household electricity supply which is good for a range of around 93 miles.

Naturally, the exact range depends not only on how the C-Zero is driven, but also when and where. On a cold night, with the main beam and air-con turned up, the charge will be depleted far quicker than if it’s all turned off, but buyers will quickly learn to factor such events into their journey planning.

The C-Zero doesn’t compromise on the things that make city cars useful. It has plenty of space for four occupants, four doors and decent boot. The narrow track means its can squeeze through gaps in traffic and all-round visibility is excellent and the rear-mounted motor means it has a tight turning circle.

Despite the narrow track and tall body, the C-Zero has decent body control thanks to a low centre of gravity. The soft springs offer a good ride, and the steering is unexpectedly sharp and responsive.

Don’t expect sports car-like performance, but the electric motor has plenty of pickup from rest, making darting through traffic easy. Acceleration up to 30mph is rapid, but above this it needs to be worked hard and the additional pace will certainly harm the vehicle’s range.

Citroen says there is still anxiety among buyers about the lifespan and cost of batteries, so it is offered on a four-year, 40,000 contract for £299 a month, excluding VAT. The plan includes the cost of leasing the car and battery, full servicing and maintenance, a two year vehicle warranty and a five year drivetrain warranty.

By comparison, the C1 city car can be leased from £119 a month, making the C-Zero a costly alternative.

Top 5 Superminis

  • Ford Fiesta
    Fiestas sold in Europe are ostensibly the same as those sold in America and Asia

    Ford Fiesta

  • Mini Cooper
    Its various improvements make the new Mini more desirable and practical than ever before

    Mini Cooper

  • The Mazda 2 name dates back to 2002. This latest version showcases the firm's Skyactiv technology and 'Kodo' styling

    Mazda 2

  • Skoda Fabia

  • Renault Clio
    Distinctive styling details are taken from the showstopping Renault Dezir concept car

    Renault Clio



Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Citroën range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    8 October 2015
    The greatest driver’s Boxster ever, and far enough removed from the GTS to be worth the compromises its complex hood demands
  • Car review
    7 October 2015
    Does the Zenos E10 have enough to oust Caterham and Lotus off their throne
  • First Drive
    7 October 2015
    Performance diesel variant of Audi's fifth-generation A4 is effortlessly fast, while also proving comfortable and spacious
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    Track Edition GT-R takes key elements from the range-topping GT-R Nismo and offers them at a more affordable price
  • First Drive
    2 October 2015
    We've driven the Golf R Estate abroad and thought it was top drawer, but we need a UK drive to be sure.