Citroen C4 (2011- ) car review
- We like...Smooth ride; back massagers
- We don't...Jerky EGS gearbox
Citroen’s new C4 is now a car for grown-ups. Where the car it replaces is had enough quirks to mark it apart from the pack, this one is sober.
It’s made for mature drivers, so Citroen tells us: the car is intended to appeal most strongly to blokes aged over 50 – and the two things the make’s marketing wizards are keenest to talk about are its smooth ride and big boot. It will always come with five doors and, no there won’t be a ‘GTi’ version. Length-wise it’s bigger than a Golf but smaller than a Vauxhall Astra, although its load area beats all others in its class. And while it’s not the biggest, it will still house five adults in reasonable comfort.
So it’s no tearaway and don’t expect to get too excited about the way it looks. It’s handsome, though, its lines clean and bold so that it looks very much like its big brother, the C5. The now-huge double chevrons across the nose mark it clearly as a Citroen but to our eyes there are few other visual clues. Inside, the centrally mounted speedo and the steering with a fixed centre boss that made the previous C4 an oddball are gone, replaced by a thoroughly conventional dash, instruments and switchgears.
Quality and appearance of the plastics is several notches up on before and the finish in the top-level Exclusive models isn’t now far off that in a Volkswagen Golf (which currently has the best cabin for your money). All models are well equipped – air conditioning, six airbags and a full set of other safety kit come as standard. If you go for the mid or top trim levels – VTR+ and Exclusive – you also get a button to vary the backlit colour of the instruments, while the Exclusive also gets built-in back massagers for those sat up front.
Some also include a raised centre console that’s chilled and big enough to house four, half-litre drinks bottles.
The previous C4 rode well enough but this new version is noticeably better – sponging away all but the biggest road undulations. Joints between road sections can send a muffled thump into the cabin if passed over at speed but otherwise it’s pretty calm and quiet. And such smoothness, hasn’t we’re pleased to report, been achieved by tuning the car to go all mushy once you point it into a corner.
It’ll corner flat and fairly level. Make no mistake, this is no tearaway: but it will cover distances efficiently and fast while making only the mildest demands of its driver. There is a choice of seven engines – three petrol units co-developed with BMW to be economical and low-emitting and four diesels.
Of the ones we’ve sampled, the 90bhp 1.6 diesel is punchy and while noisy, makes for a pleasant and economical drive, while the 150bhp 2.0 diesel is quick and civilised. The 120bhp 1.6-litre petrol is strong, refined and economical.
The 1.6 110bhp diesel mated to an auto/semi auto six-speed EGS transmission is the 'eco' version but although it has Stop-Start to save fuel and emissions, its 109g/km of CO2 and 67.3mpg is unexceptional. The 1.6 90bhp diesel matches those figures, has a five-speed manual gearbox and is much more enjoyable to drive.
Should you buy one? It deserves a place on your list. While there no one standout feature, its mix of strong attributes and pleasant cabin make it an appealing choice.
- Engines1.6 diesel
- 0-60 mph12.9secs
- Insurance groups
Motors.co.uk value verdict: