First DriveWe try the Citroën C4 with its new three-cylinder 1.2 turbo petrol engine. Does it make the C4 a more competitive family hatch and a better buy?
First DriveUpdated C4 isn't devoid of talent but ultimately lacks what's required to tackle more modern, capable and similarly priced options
What is it?
A refreshed version of the Citroen C4, featuring the usual mid-term visual makeover and new powerplant options.
Most of the aesthetic changes relate to the C4’s front end, which gets a new treatment for headlights and radiator grille strongly reminiscent of the new C5.
The interior has been tidied-up slightly, with the rev counter relocated to the large central display unit. Two new 1.6-litre petrol engines are available, with the less powerful 118bhp version tested here.
It’s a product of PSA and BMW’s joint petrol engine programme, and we’ve previously seen it in the Mini.
What’s it like?
The new motor is an impressive performer, combining strong low-down response with decent urge if you choose to wring it out. CO2 and fuel economy figures are both substantially improved over the old 1.6-litre motor, too.
Unfortunately the vague-feeling change action of the five-speed gearbox charged with transferring the engine’s efforts really lets down the driving experience – and the sudden, high-biting clutch doesn’t help, either.
The C4’s cabin looks and feels plasticy compared to more modern rivals, but the driving position is comfortable and the C4 is a relaxed cruiser on ‘A’-roads, although it feels under-geared for motorway cruising.
Should I buy one?
The C4 remains a decent car, but one that’s starting to show its age. That said, the new engine is good enough to push it back into contention if you can live with its other imperfections.
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