Three petrol engines (a 1.4 and two 1.6s) and three diesels (two 1.6s and a 2.0) cater for just about every taste, delivering outputs of 90 to 155bhp. Even the weakest engines give the car a respectable turn of speed. For us, the star of the show is the 94bhp petrol. It’s flexible and it keeps things relatively cheap.
The C4 doesn’t cover itself in glory in either area. The ride feels lumpy and unsettled most of the time, and potholes and bumps can really thud into the cabin. Body control isn’t all that tight, either, and the steering also prevents you from having fun. The weighting is totally artificial and there's an over-strong self-centring effect. The car also wanders around in crosswinds and on cambered roads.
The C4 is a pretty refined car. The engines are smooth and quiet, road- and wind noise is well isolated from the cabin. The two versions with the slow-witted six-speed paddle-shift gearbox are best avoided, though, as it makes the car almost impossible to drive smoothly.
The C4’s list prices aren’t particularly cheap, so this is no budget option. Resale values aren’t all that strong, either, but if you haggle hard with your Citroen dealer, you should be able to offset some of that with a massive discount. Economy and emissions figures are competitive throughout the range.
The C4’s cabin has some nice areas of soft-touch plastic and chrome detailing on the switches, but some panels in the lower reaches of the cabin have a somewhat flimsier feel. It’s far from being the poshest car in the class. The company's reliability record has been heading in the right direction of late, too, and the C4 rated as above average in this respect in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey.
Stability control and six airbags are expected these days, and the C4 ticks those boxes. It also checks one or two boxes you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Blind-spot monitoring, cornering lights and a programmable cruise control and speed limiter with five memory settings are all available, while the eTouch system puts you in contact with an emergency centre at the touch of a button if the car breaks down or is involved in an accident.
You can vary the instrument backlighting from white to royal blue and choose your own selection of bings and bongs as warning chimes. The stereo buttons are large but scruffily arranged, and the markings could be clearer. There are too many buttons and scrolling wheels on the steering wheel, too.
Rear legroom is very restricted for tall passengers, especially when compared with the C4’s roomiest competitors. Headroom is good, though, as is access. There's a big rectangular boot (slightly reduced if you go for the optional Denon stereo) with a low lip, but the rear backrests don't fold completely flat.
Standard on the entry-level VTR are air-con, electric front windows and cruise control. VTR+ brings alloys, customisable instruments, front foglights, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth. Range-topping Exclusive models add part-leather upholstery, climate control, automatic headlamps and wipers, and front parking sensors. Also included are electric lumbar adjustment with massage function on both front seats, while options include blind-spot monitoring and even Wi-fi.
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