$20,990 – $33,490
Good: Elegant and avant garde styling; Great visibility; Innovative features; Economical engines.
Not so Good: Ride quality; Steering feel; Rear passenger space; Aging chassis.
Design and Engineering
Good : The styling is all of the following – individualistic, elegant, bold and remarkably still fresh considering the Citroen C4 went on sale here back in early 2005! We should note it was freshened up with a facelift in March 2009. The exterior design is perfect for what has always been a relatively niche model – no point styling a small Citroen like a Toyota Corolla.
Not so good : The next generation model isn’t too far away, expect it to arrive Down Under in the second half of 2011. The current C4 platform shares its platform with Peugeot’s previous generation 307 small family car, which first went on sale here way back in 2001 and inherits too many of that model’s now old-school characteristics.
Interior and Styling
Good : The avantgarde theme continues inside with a futuristic dash design – the driver’s instrument panel, with a digital speedometer, is located in the centre of the upper dash in a rectangular pod shaped binnacle (helping to create a minimalist like theme). The centre console is the only ‘normal’ part of the dash which looks like it could come from another small family car; the steering wheel has a centre fixed hub (the middle part of the wheel never moves, so always stays upright and allows for an anatomically shaped airbag, plus it looks cool as well); the front seats are comfortable, the driving position is nice and high (unlike in a sport’s car, where lower is often better) and the visibility excellent. Useful storage compartments scattered around the cabin and decent boot space.
Not so good : The minimalist dash design won’t appeal to everyone. The front cupholder feels flimsy (yes only one?!); rear space is poor with tight leg and headroom.
Good : No shortage of choice with four engines on offer – two turbo diesel’s (a 1.6-litre with 80kW of power & 240Nm of torque and a 2.0-litre with 100kW & 320Nm) and two petrol’s (a 1.6-litre with 88kW & 160Nm and a 1.6L turbo 103/110kW & 240Nm). Not surprisingly the picks of the bunch are the 2.0-litre diesel and the punchy 1.6-litre petrol turbo.
The 2.0-litre diesel is smooth and mates well with the six speed gearbox (only choice). It’s a strong performer around town or out on the open road, offering dollops of punchy ‘oomph’, whilst staying impressively refined.
The 1.6-litre turbo petrol is made to work a little harder, yet has no problem getting the C4 up to speed and keeping it their.
Not so good : The 1.6-litre petrol is the weakest option here and feels underpowered for a small family car in the year 2010. With the five speed manual gearbox (also comes with a four speed auto) the gear changes lack feel and the clutch travel is excessively long.
Ride and Handling
Good : Overall the Citroen C4 is a balanced handling small family hatch, providing decent levels of agility and good grip levels.
Not so good : Over less than perfect surfaces the ride is often unrefined with a level of harshness above what we expect from Citroen. Over these surfaces the steering can experience unwanted kick-back and has a slightly vague feeling to it. Tyre noise is also louder than desired.
Buying and Owning
Good : Four engines (and three with two transmissions) to choose from and not one ‘gas guzzler’ amongst the lot (combined fuel economy ranges from an amazingly low 4.5 litres per 100kms with the sequential gearbox 1.6-litre diesel, to 7.7 litres per 100kms with the automatic gearbox 1.6-litre petrol turbo); Safety features include standard Anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control and six airbags. The Citroen C4 is awarded a top safety rating in independent crash testing.
Not so good : A quick look in the classifieds will show that the C4’s resale value is only average; new model not too far away; parking sensors are an extra cost option across all grades.