From £13,380
New family hatch is composed but doesn't stand out in a competitive segment

Our Verdict

Citroën C4
The Citroën C4 range comprises three diesel and three petrol engines, plus three trim levels

An admirable car, but there is an abundance of much better rivals

14 September 2010

What is it?

You're looking at the new Citroen C4, France's latest rival for the VW Golf and Ford Focus. It will be launched at the Paris show in a couple of weeks' time and is due to reach the UK market in January 2011. Citroen bosses say the C4 is their third offering in a promised wave of new models that began, after an overhaul of the company's objectives, with the C5 in 2008 and the C3 in 2009.

The C4, which uses the middle edition of PSA's three new platforms on which almost everything new will be based, has MacPherson strut front suspension and a twist-beam set-up at the rear. It is around 5cm longer than the outgoing car (at 4.33 metres) and also a couple of centimetres longer and wider, but thanks to a stringent weight-saving campaign it is no heavier – a decent achievement, given that the C4 has already achieved a five-star NCAP rating for crash safety.

The new C4 comes with an engine line-up of four four-cylinder diesels ranging from 91 to 148bhp, including a special low-emissions 'e' version of the staple 110bhp engine that undercuts the previous model's emissions by "up to 15 per cent". Three four-cylinder petrol units, ranging from 94 to 153bhp, will also be offered. The lower-output C4 engines get five-speed manual gearboxes; the upper-end models get six-speeders.

The new ultra-low-emissions 110 diesel and the top-spec 153bhp petrol unit are both offered with PSA's love-it-or-hate-it six-speed automated manual, a transmission they confusingly describe as "clutchless". There's also a conventional four-speed auto available with the 118bhp petrol engine.

What's it like?

It's pretty conventional, really. The shape is neat and competent, with long styling lines on the sides to emphasise its length, a clever clamshell bonnet and the familiar incorporation of the Citroen chevron badge into the leading edge of the bonnet.

Despite being a bit bigger, it also manages to look more compact than the outgoing car. But in this crowded market sector there's nothing special or memorable about its looks; it's almost as if Citroen has made the C4 a 'non-halo' car to make room for the forthcoming bob-tailed DS4 high-rider, which will also be at Paris.

The interior is conventionally comfortable, with nicely chosen materials and a three-dial fascia with better standard equipment than many rivals, and lots of options. Interior room is similar to that of the previous car, which set a good standard in the class.

Notably absent is the outgoing C4's fixed steering wheel boss, which carried most of the car's key switches and was a real USP (Citroen explains the loss by claiming it has saved 3.5kg in weight). The new layout is intuitive and works well enough; the company has seen the need to spice it up a bit with gimmicks like choices of instrument light colouring and a choice of tones for the turn indicator click. This shows the direction of its concerns.

Better news on the road. Our test car was a 148bhp HDi diesel whose strong, torquey performance, allied with low noise and vibration, immediately made itself apparent.

Our test car also had a fluent six-speed manual gearbox whose long-legged top was an especially good cruising gear. Citroen says it has made exceptional efforts with seat comfort and noise suppression, and the success of this is clear as soon as you begin to drive.

Allied to these achievements is the smooth ride for which the non-sports versions of the outgoing car were also known, plus enhanced quietness over bumps. Road and mechanical noise are low, focusing some attention on the car's wind noise, which is moderate for the class.

Should I buy one?

The C4 is a modern, refined and comfortable driving machine – albeit with nothing truly special to lift it away from the many C-segment cars that also fit this description.

Choosing it first probably comes down to three things: whether you're a Citroen enthusiast, whether it's a purchase from a local dealer you trust, or whether the deal is sharper than any you can do with a rival. If you do choose a C4 you'll be getting a good, albeit undistinguished, new car.

Citroën C4 HDi 150 Exclusive

Price: £21,995 (est); Top speed: 129mph; 0-62mph: 8.6sec; Economy 56.5mpg; CO2: 127g/km; Kerb weight: 1320kg; Power: 148bhp at 3750rpm; Torque: 251lb ft at 2000-2750rpm; Gearbox: Six-speed manual

 Looking for a Citroen C4 for sale? Visit PistonHeads Classifieds

Join the debate

Comments
33

16 September 2010

a goodlooking brand new car , I like new C4

16 September 2010

I thought the last C4 looked good (sharp, clean, different), drove "mediocre" and although interior quality was better than before I managed to break two door handles and the filler cap in two days on a hire car. I can't comment on quality of this new one, but the looks are dumpy and derivative and it doesn't sound like the ride/handling is much better. For all their faults the ZX and Xsara were pretty decent cars in that department.

16 September 2010

I remember being told some time ago that in the future all cars sold in Europe will end up looking the same due to stringent design/safety rules the EU were setting. Rubbish! I thought.

I was wrong. This C4 looks similar to the new Focus/C'eed/Madza3/Astra and several more I can't think of due to the silly time of the morning that it is currently.

The interior is an improvement (athestically). I thought the old C4 exterior looked okay but it would have been much better if it really was a 'robot in disguise'...

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

16 September 2010

The new C4 seems like a well built and refined car. What can the DS4 do, that the C4 can't, to justify the price premium over it (aside fron being slightly higher that is)?

jer

16 September 2010

Damned by faint praise. But hard to see what is wrong with this C4, good materials, it rides and goes ok. No mention to the Citroen light steering.

16 September 2010

What is it?

Don't know. You tell me. Citroen it is not. And if it is, then Citroen should put some citroen to Citroen. This one isn't too interesting to look at. Hey, now I know: this is VW's Golf - how it should look nowadays if there were any progress at VW's design compartment.

16 September 2010

Looks good, I think.

Given the huge discounts that seem to be applied to Citroens these days, this could be a candidate for my next car - if reliability is good - as I tend to keep cars long-term rather than chop and change every 2 or 3 years.

16 September 2010

[quote Overdrive]What can the DS4 do, that the C4 can't, to justify the price premium over it (aside fron being slightly higher that is)?[/quote] The extra height as you mention, better interior trim (more leather and better quality plastics etc), more optional equipment, maybe more powerful engines, more standard equipment and the loss of the C4's anonymous styling.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

16 September 2010

This is a fairly good looking car, certainly one of the best in its sector, looks to have a high quality interior, and sounds as if its very comfortable. Its bound to be quite well priced, and Citroen reliability is miles better than it once was, so as long as you dont want a sports car i fail to see why you wouldnt give it a try.

16 September 2010

This looks as utterly generic to me as the Xsara did back in the 90's. Could really be anything if it weren't for the ludicrously oversized chevrons on the nose.

What a shame.

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