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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Though the Citroën C4’s on-paper performance is not unusually special by current standards, when you drive the car in all of its guises you’ll find its engines able and willing partners. 

The entry-level 1.2-litre with 108bhp is sweet-revving and has enough verve to make swift enough progress, while the 128bhp version of the same petrol unit, also found in the DS3 and elsewhere in the Citroën range, moves the C4 nicely with decent refinement.

It's easy to make relatively smooth progress in the C4, even if you opt for the EGS gearbox

Of the 1.6-litre diesels, the 118bhp version is the better bet, offering strong in-gear pull. Its micro-hybrid e-HDi powertrain is clever too, incorporating a stop-start system that’s driven by the alternator. This reduces the need for a beefed-up starter motor so restarts are smoother and quicker.

Throw in all the usual eco-model add-ons, including regenerative braking and low-rolling-resistance tyres, and you have a C4 that is officially rated with very fine mpg and CO2 claims.

Even with the usually slow-witted six-speed automated manual ’box, progress off the line is smooth. We’re not fans of this gearbox, but it is suited to the less urgent, steady character of the 118bhp 1.6 HDi unit. The speed of gearchanges still frustrates, but they are smoother and faster and help put you in the eco-driving mindset.

The 99bhp 1.6-litre diesel focuses primarily on fuel economy and its emissions rating, which means its acceleration isn't its strong suit. Having said that, it is powerful enough to get the C4 moving quickly enough, although it does struggle if the car is loaded up.


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Stopping performance is pretty good, but the C4 needs a more progressive brake pedal if it is to offer truly confidence-inspiring braking ability.