- We like...Smooth ride
- We don't...Average in too many respects
Mid-life facelift improves C4 hatchback's looks and cabin. But has Citrn done enough to keep up with newer arrivals?The Citrn C4 looked fresh and different when it turned up four years ago. But as time passed and rival newcomers arrived, it slipped down the small hatch-pack to become an also-ran. Now Citrn’s given it a mid-life nip’n’tuck to boost its appeal. There are a couple of new engines, too, developed with the help of BMW.
You’d need to be a car enthusiast to spot the changes without prompting. The front lamps are reshaped to resemble those of its range-mate, the C5, while the front bumper is new. Inside, the dash is now formed from higher quality plastics – the C4’s previously cheap-looking interior was beginning to mark it down badly against the competition.
And like ever more cars in its class, the C4 can now be packed with gadgets that you’d have once expected only on big, luxury saloons: parking beepers, cruise control, speed limiter, laminated side glass, and hill-start assist.
Let’s move on to the new engines. Both use petrol and are 1.6s, producing 120bhp and 150bhp. The 120bhp version spins smoothly and easily and suits the car well. It’s quiet until you push and it cruises easily at the motorway limit. The 150bhp gets its extra power from a turbo, though it’s brisk rather than outright rapid. BMW makes ultra-economical, low-emissions engines for its own cars and Citrn sought its expertise with these newies. Both are nice engines – flexible, quiet and sweet – but at 42.2 and 40.4mpg and 159 and 165 g/km CO2 emissions, they rate as good rather than exceptional.
Aside from these, there are 1.6 diesels offering 92 or 110bhp outputs, plus a 2.0 producing 140bhp. These are carry-overs from the previous C4.
Inside, the C4 is now a pleasant place to spend time, notable for its big centrally sited instrument pod atop the dash and a steering wheel centre that stays put as you twirl the rim. While its cabin is not as upmarket as the current Volkswagen Golf’s or that in the latest Renault Megane, it’s good enough.
Meanwhile, its smooth ride makes it a comfortable choice, though not one best suited to press-on drivers. Cabin and boot space in 3dr and 5dr versions is adequate rather than generous.
Prices from £12,695 for the 5dr hatchback and £13,895 for the three-door sound fair, although the LX and SX look far better buys than the top-end models, the VTR+ and Exclusive.
Second-hand, the C4’s rapid early-years losses in value make lightly-used ones bargain-priced, although would-be buyers should keep in mind that the French make’s reputation for trouble-free ownership isn’t up there with the German or Japanese brands.
Should you buy one? If you can get a good price, definitely. Having spent years reeling in customers with cashback and other incentives, Citrn is moving away from its ‘cheap’n’cheerful’ image. This works certainly with its best cars, such as the C5, the latest Berlingo and the C4 Picasso. But the C4 hatchback, while good, can't head a field of very strong rivals, so we'd expect you to make a big saving on list price.
To buy and sell new and used Citrn C4s, visit motors.co.uk
- Engines1.6 petrol; 1.6, 2.0 diesel
- 0-60 mph8.4-11.2sec
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: