Citroen hits the mark
Posted on: 4th Jul 2012
I warmed to Citroens original C4. Its shape was a refreshing change from the usual rather dull designs that populate the family hatchback sector.
This second generation model doesn’t look quite so radical but it’s still very attractive, the tech is even higher than before and quality seems to have come on in leaps and bounds.
Although bigger than the car it replaces, the latest C4 is no heavier, despite all the safety kit that’s on board. The rather agreeable upshot is that interior space and stowage room are both more than class competitive.
What I really like however, is the way that Citroen has improved the build quality and finish and tried to build in features more often seen on luxury cars.
Plus sound alerts which can also be changed to your taste, in the same way that you can modify your mobile phones ring-tone.
One slight disappointment inside is the absence of the unusual fixed steering wheel boss, which on the MK1 C4, carried most of the car's key switches and was a really unusual touch. You turned the wheel and the switches stayed static. Citroen says that it’s ditched this in the interests of saving 3.5kgs in weight: I think it’s more likely that buyers just couldn’t get used to it.
Whatever the truth, this second generation C4 does deliver a very smart cabin indeed.
As for the styling, well it’s not as dramatic - evolutionary rather than revolutionary - but it is growing on me.
Behind the Wheel
On the road, Citroens have always put comfort ahead of handling but the spec sheet suggests that this one may well serve up a slightly more dynamic experience than its predecessor, without compromising the relaxed character that has always marked this car out.
This C4 does, after all, feature a new rear suspension set up with flexible transverse beam and the claimed result is minimal bodyroll and good road feel, all of which should be aided by better feedback from the hydraulic power steering.
There’s a wide range of powerplants, most of which meet Euro IV emissions standards, offering a broad range of performance from 90 to 180bhp for the petrol engines and 92 to 138bhp for the HDi diesels.
The ultimate C4 HDi is the 138bhp 2.0-litre 16-valve version. This powerplant feels significantly more muscular at lower engine speeds thanks to a brutal 236lb/ft of torque at 2,000rpm and its more responsive higher in the range too.
Value For Money
Prices start from £15,000. Obvious rivals apart from the inevitable Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra models include the Peugeot 308 which is essentially much the same car underneath.
Buyers of this Citroen will be choosing between three main trim levels, with the top-end models featuring extras such as a powerful Denon sound system complete with sub-woofer in the boot for a genuine hi-fi experience on the move.
Other optional features you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find on a car of this class include electric lumbar adjustment and massage seats for driver and front seat passenger. Safety of course is a priority, so there’s also the option of blind spot monitoring to stop you lane-changing dangerously in front of another driver, plus programmable speed limiting and cruise control systems.
Could I Live With One?
This car certainly falls into the category of models I’d buy because I wanted to rather than I had to - and there aren’t too many of those in the Family Hatchback sector.
To be honest, it deserves to sell in greater numbers than it does. This C4 really does deliver on a lot of levels.