From £13,3805
Updated C4 isn't devoid of talent but ultimately lacks what's required to tackle more modern, capable and similarly priced options

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

Nic Cackett
18 February 2015

What is it?

This is Citroën’s attempt at reinvigorating its long-standing C4 hatchback, which first appeared in 2010.

Back then the Citroën proved a quietly popular choice thanks to its extensive kit list, soft ride and distinctive interior design but, since then, many new or heavily revamped rivals have arrived – such as the all-new Peugeot 308, Mazda 3 and updated Ford Focus.

In order to keep Citroën in some kind of contention a host of upgrades have been carried out. Predictably, there is a selection of light cosmetic and equipment tweaks. The C4 now features redesigned lights, front and rear, new trims and paint options, and a simplified dashboard with an integrated 7.0-inch touchscreen display.

More importantly, the engine line-up has been revamped, resulting in improvements in efficiency and, in many cases, performance. Gone are the old four-cylinder VTi petrols, replaced entirely by modern ‘PureTech’ three-cylinder units, while the diesel range has been refreshed with the latest BlueHDi engines.

We tested the mid-spec BlueHDi 120 version of the facelifted Citroën C4, with a six-speed manual gearbox and a stop-start system, in flagship Flair trim. As standard it includes the likes of dual-zone climate, navigation, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and cruise control.

What's it like?

Despite the refresh the Citroën C4 still feels a little dated. It’s the minor details, like the gear lever that looks straight out of a decade-old Peugeot 407, that result in this aged feel.

Even the new sat-nav system is sluggish and hardly modern in its appearance, compounding the effect. The cosmetic tweaks don’t make a great deal of difference to its looks, either; it’s still not a particularly distinctive car – although some will approve of that.

Elsewhere, many of the C4’s original foibles haven’t been attended to. While it still rides in a pliant, cosseting fashion on good surfaces, it lacks poise and control over lumpen, rougher roads.

The steering could still do with more weight and feedback, too, but it’s at least precise and prompt to respond. There’s plenty of front-end grip, so it doesn’t descend into an unruly mess in faster corners – even in the wet – although it doesn’t inspire confidence or handle like, say, a Focus. Make no mistake, this is a car that suits a relaxed, moderate pace.

The 1.6-litre diesel engine is a decent performer, albeit a little raucous if worked hard. Otherwise, the Citroën is a relaxing car to drive and it’s particularly quiet inside at speed. Only seats that lack lower back support, and the aforementioned ride issues, prevent it from being a good long-distance companion.

Rear room isn’t exceptional, but there’s enough space for two adults to sit in relative comfort. The vast boot, however, is worthy of note. In practicality terms, as a result, it rates quite well.

Additionally, Citroën claims an impressive 74.3mpg, granting the C4 a potential range of 966 miles. During our cross-country test route it returned a still–impressive 49mpg, which would still result in a useful range per tank of 637 miles. In manual form this diesel C4 won’t cost you anything to tax, either.

Should I buy one?

Despite the low running costs it’s difficult to recommend the C4 – although it does pain us to say so. After all, Citroëns have always had their appeal in places and this is no exception.

There are also several brokers already offering this particular car for around £15,000, which might appear to make it a very tempting proposition. The major snag is that the Peugeot 308 is equally discounted and consequently available for a similar price.

Besides being a much more modern car, the Peugeot also performs better and is more economical. Faced with such competition, not to mention numerous other highly regarded and similarly priced cars, the Citroën doesn’t stand a chance.

Citroën C4 BlueHDi 120 S&S MT6 Flair

Price £19,145; Engine 4cyls, 1560cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 118bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 221lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6spd manual; Kerb weight 1280kg; Top speed 122mph; 0-62mph 10.6sec; Economy 74.3mpg; CO2 rating & BiK tax band 100g/km / 16%

Join the debate

Comments
6

18 February 2015
If Citroen were really serious about creating 2 distinct model lines, they would cease RHD manufacture of the very average standard C3, C4 and C5 models and leave this part of the market to the (apparently) upmarket DS equivalent.

Leave Citroen with City cars, MPV`s and commercial vehicles.

18 February 2015
So a family size car that cruises quietly and is relaxing to drive, does 74 mpg combined, comes with sat nav. And can be bought for £15,000. Worth a test drive just to see if negative reviewer was right.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

18 February 2015
It is, IMHO, a great shame to see Citroen producing cars that appear to be so dull and off the pace. This C4 puts me in mind of the 1990's Xsara, an inadequate car bought by those who didn't know any better or care, purely on the basis of the hefty discounts offered. The "Germanic" C5, although not a bad car, was misconceived and failed to make any serious inroads into the real German opposition. Whatever the merits of the DS models, now to stand alone as a separate brand, I'm afraid that that the company is being distracted by this effort and is shamefully neglecting its heritage of great Citroens, from the 2CV to the (proper) DS, all uniquely and delightfully French. The C4 Cactus is a first step in the right direction but needs more development for it not to appear to be all style and lacking substance. I would love to see Citroen redefined as a manufacturer of clever, comfortable and practical cars aimed at people who dislike the rather macho image of most other makes. Just a thought...

19 February 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

an inadequate car bought by those who didn't know any better or care, purely on the basis of the hefty discounts offered.

I've got one, and I'm not going to lie, I bought it because I got a great deal on it. I was pleasantly surprised by it though. No, it doesn't win any awards for being fun, but for most people, they don't want or need that. I use my car for my business. I drove over 30000 miles a year. I got mine over a year ago, it has 48000 miles on the clock, it hasn't broken down, it consistently gets over 50mpg (or 650 miles from a tank of fuel), its been very comfortable, and that boot really is huge! I have no problem fitting in all my kit that I carry about.

I know Focus will go harder and faster around a corner, and the Golf does have a lovely interior, but both were more expensive. Even the Hyundai i30 and Kia C'eed weren't a match for the Citroen in terms of value for money.

11 March 2015
superstevie wrote:
Daniel Joseph wrote:

an inadequate car bought by those who didn't know any better or care, purely on the basis of the hefty discounts offered.

I've got one, and I'm not going to lie, I bought it because I got a great deal on it. I was pleasantly surprised by it though. No, it doesn't win any awards for being fun, but for most people, they don't want or need that. I use my car for my business. I drove over 30000 miles a year. I got mine over a year ago, it has 48000 miles on the clock, it hasn't broken down, it consistently gets over 50mpg (or 650 miles from a tank of fuel), its been very comfortable, and that boot really is huge! I have no problem fitting in all my kit that I carry about.

I know Focus will go harder and faster around a corner, and the Golf does have a lovely interior, but both were more expensive. Even the Hyundai i30 and Kia C'eed weren't a match for the Citroen in terms of value for money.

These 'dull' family hatchbacks from Citroen, Peugeot and Renault are proving to be very reliable indeed. If people aren't to bothered in the latest and want a good value, comfortable, reliable and economical car in this segment, I would have no hesitation in recommending one of these. i had a look at one of these last month, and while not amazing, it quietly impressed. Unfortunately people are easily impressed by Golf's nice interior plastics and Focus' sporty handling.

19 February 2015
The C4 doesn't sell here at all and not even particularly well in France compared to the Mégane and particularly the 308. I bet dealers are desperate for something all new. Also bet the C4 Cactus is stealing even more sales from the standard C4 and the equally uninspiring C3. Citroën appears to be slipping behind a bit. Will be interesting to see if the separation of the DS brand is a success.

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