Frankly, we’re used to Citroëns coming up short in handling tests. Before the DS3 showed that Citroën hadn’t entirely forgotten how to build fun cars, our expectations would have been pretty low. What is less easy to predict is that the C4 proves substantially deficient in its ride quality too.
There appear to be two problems undermining the C4’s chassis. First, the raw material simply no longer matches the calibre of the rest of the class. Even the Astra, which retains a torsion beam rear axle, has been fitted with a Watts linkage to take lateral loads and therefore allow the beam to be much more softly bushed, with attendant benefits to ride quality. The second problem is Citroën’s apparent solution to this issue, which is to provide the C4 with unusually soft springing.
At first there seems to be sense in the decision. Amble around town and you’ll appreciate how well it soaks up lumps and bumps and, superficially at least, provide perfectly passable ride comfort. Trouble begins when you give it a somewhat sterner task, like a rising and falling country road or motorway undulations taken at speed with a full load on board. Then the C4 struggles to contain its body movements and maintain its ride height.
It doesn’t bode well for its handling, either. Citroën has gone for overly light steering (no doubt to complement its overly soft springs) and while the wheels have plenty of grip, the numbed response from the helm, combined with notable body roll, means the C4 provides someone who cares about driving with no pleasure at all.