Citroen C4 Review

Find out more about the Citroen C4 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Classy exterior styling
  • Economical range of engines
  • Strong amount of standard equipment

Cons

  • Build quality isn’t on-par with rivals
  • Space in the rear isn’t all that good
  • Poor residuals
  • MPG

    0 - 0

  • CO2

    0 - 0 g/km

Review

The Citroen C4 was released in 2004, offering buyers an affordable hatchback that was packed with technology. It was the first of a ‘new age’ of cars from the French manufacturer, with a completely new design language – both inside and outside. It gained smart touches like a built-in air freshener and a strange fixed hub steering wheel.

Even base cars received a CD player, cruise control and front electric windows. Not only was the five-door available, with a coupe version was too, giving consumers better variety within the range.

This model was given a facelift in 2008, which refined the looks of the front of the car and introduced a new 1.6-litre petrol.

An all-new model was released in 2010, bringing the C4 up-to-date and in line with rivals. It was then given a facelift in 2015, which brought with its more efficient engines and higher standards of technology.

Latest model

As mentioned, the ‘new’ C4 was introduced in 2010. Larger than the car it replaces, it is a five-door only.

Available with two engines with four different power outputs, it trades on a similar approach to economy as the original car, albeit with added creature comforts and better levels of refinement. Though its styling isn’t as out-there as the original, it still manages to look striking thanks to chrome touches.

It was given a mild facelift in 2015, updating the look of the car with additional paint options and new alloy wheel designs.

It’s available with a choice of two engines – there’s a 1.2-litre petrol producing either 108 bhp or 128bhp depending on spec, or a 1.6-litre turbocharged diesel putting out either 98bhp or 118bhp, again, depending on which specification you choose.

Both higher-output engines are driven through a six-speed manual gearbox, while lower power versions make do with a five-speed ‘box. An automatic gearbox is available as an option, however.

Value for money

 

Even early cars had an impressive list of standard equipment, with a CD player and cruise control fitted to even base cars. As time went on, this list was added to giving buyers increasingly better value-for-money. The C4 struggled with poor residuals, but this does mean that you can get quite the bargain on the used market. For instance, a 2007 model-year C4, with 76,000 miles on the clock can be purchased for under £2,000. This isn’t bad for a car fitted with a car with air conditioning, CD player and metallic paint.

However, if it’s a brand new car you’re after, then the C4 still represents a good value purchase. With prices starting at £15,595, it makes a compelling argument for itself. For that price, you get air conditioning, height-adjustable front seats and cruise control. You also get body coloured door handles, which help give the C4 a more premium look. These cars are already available used, with a 2016 model with 17,418 miles on the clock priced from around £10,750 – so there are savings to be made.

 

 

Looks and image

 

When it first came out, the C4’s radical styling certainly made it attractive. It did well to shed the image of previous Citroen models that did little to inspire enthusiasts into driving them.

With sharp, angular styling – especially in the coupe – the C4 offered a slightly more dynamic image. The cabin featured a lot of soft-touch plastics, though some harder materials did let the premium image slip at times. Faster VTR versions certainly exuded a sport image, and their performance wasn’t all that bad either – though not mind-blowing.

As mentioned earlier, a redesign came in 2015, which brought the C4 more in line with rivals. In some areas, it remains old-tech, with the ride and handling certainly behind other cars in the segment. That said, it still remains a good value choice for those who want a hassle-free way of getting around.

Space and practicality

The current C4 is a reasonably practical car, with plenty a fair amount of interior storage compartments. There’s not a great amount of legroom for those in the back, so it may not be the best choice if you’re looking to take passengers on longer journeys.

The boot area eats away at the overall space inside the car, which is why there’s not a huge amount of room for those in the rear of the car.

Boot space is respectable at 380 litres, which rises to 408 litres if you include the underfloor storage area.

The total amount of space can be increased to 1,300 litres if you fold the rear seats down, however. That said, those rear seats don’t fold down completely flat, instead resting at an angle.

This can make loading items into the rear tricky at times. When it was tested in 2010, the C4 received five stars in the Euro NCAP crash ratings. However, these tests have been toughened up since then – so it may not be as safe by today’s standards as it first appears.

Engines

 

When it was first released back in 2004, the C4 came with three petrol engines, a 1.4-litre, 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre. There were also two diesels, a 1.6-litre with two outputs of 92bhp and 110bhp, as well as a 2.0-litre. They all offered decent levels of economy, with smooth performance throughout the range.

Fast forward to the new model, and the selection has shrunk somewhat. As mentioned earlier, there’s just two engines with four different outputs, depending on which specification you go for. The diesel is definitely the one to go for if you’re looking for refinement and power, with the most powerful 118bhp version taking 10.6 seconds to reach 60mph.

Running costs

 

Thanks to two efficient engines, the current C4 is a good car if you’re looking to keep running costs down. The base diesel engine can achieve 85.6mpg combined, and emissions are good, too, at 86g/km CO2. Even the more powerful 118bhp engine should return up to 78.5mpg and 95g/km CO2. Expect for these figures to decline slightly with cars using an automatic gearbox.

In terms of insurance, the C4 is decidedly average. Base petrol-powered models sit in group 12, rising to group 23 for those cars fitted with a 2.0-litre diesel. As you’d expect, lower-powered models will be better for younger drivers or those who have just passed their tests.

Things to look out for

Though Citroens of old have suffered from a certain association with poor reliability, the C4 has done surprisingly well. Early cars were recalled for problems associated with the ABS and ESP functions, as well as a ‘possible loss of braking efficiency’, though these were issued within the first few years of the car’s lifespan.

More recently, some cars have been recalled for issues relating to the door locking mechanism, as well as oil leaks. It’s imperative that you check for any recalls made on a car you’re looking at, and ensure that the relevant repairs have been made.

Rivals

It’s a highly contested segment which the C4 finds itself in, with rivals such as the Ford Focus offering an involving drive at an impressively low price and the Volkswagen Golf giving consumer traditionally solid build quality. If you’re looking to stand out, then the C4 isn’t a bad choice – but you’ll do well not to be swayed by others.

Depreciation warning

Citroens are notoriously bad in terms of depreciation and, unfortunately, the C4 suffers just the same problem. If you’re planning on buying a new C4, then expect to lose a lot of money once you drive it out of the showroom. You’ll have to absorb and even bigger loss on low-powered petrol versions, too. If you’re wanting a car to invest in, then you may have to go elsewhere.

Trims Explained

There are just three trim levels for the C4 – Touch, Feel and Flair. We’ll have a look at what separates them, and how much they cost.

Touch

Cars in this specification start at £15,595, and for that you get a MP3 CD player with six speakers and an AUX socket for playing external devices through the system. Other features include cruise control, air conditioning, remote central locking and electrically adjustable door mirrors.

This trim doesn’t include alloy wheels however, just steel wheels with 16-inch plastic covers.

Feel

This starts at £17,850, and now you get a DAB radio with Bluetooth handsfree and wireless media streaming. On top of that, you get a multifunction steering wheel that is leather trimmed. The exterior now features 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome side window sills and an ‘Aerodynamic Pack’. Height adjustable halogen headlights also come as standard, giving better night time visibility.

Feel is a good compromise between good levels of equipment and an affordable entry price.

Flair

Finally, Flair sits at the top of the specification list, bringing with it extra levels of equipment and technology. As such, you now get a seven-inch touchscreen, housing a DAB radio as well as Bluetooth connectivity. There’s a USB charging point, too. Automatic dual-zone air conditioning is now fitted as standard, along with front and rear electric windows with ‘one-touch’ operation. Rear parking sensors also come as standard, which make parking the C4 a lot easier – though in truth it isn’t too hard to manoeuvre to begin with.

These cars cost from £18,850.

Summary

  1. Earlier models had a good range of engines, newer versions are more select
  2. Some cars have been issued with recalls, so check before purchasing
  3. Residuals are poor, so a used purchase makes more sense
  4. Diesel engines are the most efficient, so the best choice for high-milers
  5. Even base-spec cars get a good amount of standard equipment
  6. Boot space isn’t bad, though rear seats don’t fold down completely flat
  7. Rear passengers are limited in terms of legroom
  8. Base-spec current cars don’t get alloy wheels
  9. Parking sensors are only fitted as standard to top-spec cars
  10. Automatic gearboxes are available

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