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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For Diesel models are really economical, and all have a great safety rating and unique styling

Against Instruments are hard to read, controls are badly positioned, and it's only average for practicality

Verdict The C4's styling is unique in its class, but the cabin is narrow and the boot is average

Go for… 1.6 HDi SX 5dr

Avoid… 1.4 16v LX 5dr

Citroën C4 Hatchback
  • 1. Safety is a strong point, with electronic driver aids and six airbags
  • 2. There have been five recalls, so check all the necessary work has been carried out
  • 3. Check the speed limiter and cruise control systems for electrical glitches
  • 4. On high-mileage cars, check the cabin trim, which has proved fragile
  • 5. Avoid the 1.4-litre petrol engine - go for the 1.6 instead
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Citroën C4 Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Citroen’s stylists got their bravery back when they launched the C4 in the autumn of 2005. Although it doesn’t suit everyone, there are plenty of fans of the curvy five-door hatchback and the sporting coupe.

Inside, the C4 is radically different, too, but, again, the multi-function electronic read-outs are not to everyone’s taste.

Similarly, the steering wheel has a fixed boss that keeps the controls mounted on it in position, and this takes a lot of getting used to.

Sloping sides make the cabin feel small and the boot is not the biggest in the class. However, safety, with electronic driver aids and a full six airbags, is excellent.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine feels on the weak side, but the rest of the range is adequate. Unlike many previous Citroens, the C4 has a firm ride. The light steering needs more feel, although the C4 still turns into corners sharply.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Technically advanced but values retarded compared to others'. Petrols cheaper than diesels

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There’re plenty to choose from, but you’re best staying clear of the 1.4 LX five-door and the 1.4 VT Coupe.

Not only do they have the weakest engine in the C4 range but these trims miss out on air-conditioning and alloy wheels. Even so, equipment is still reasonable because every C4 in the range was fitted with cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, and a CD player.

Look at the LX, SX, VT, VTR, VTR Plus, VTS and Exclusive trim levels, and you start to find plenty of high-tech kit, such as parking sensors, laminated side windows and windscreen wipers that turn themselves on in the rain.

The C4 maintains Citroen’s tradition of strong diesel engines, and the 1.6 HDI 110bhp is a good compromise between the slower 92bhp version and the thirstier 2.0 HDI, providing a blend of fun and affordability.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Great value, 1.6 petrol or TD with SX trim has lots of appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Provided you stick to the smaller engines and the less plush trim levels, insurance costs are very affordable. Much of the range falls into groups 4, 5 and 6.

It’s only when you venture up to the 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines that this rises to group 10. The 178bhp 2.0 16v VTS 180bhp coupe is the worst offender, in group 15.

Fuel economy is good throughout the range. The 1.6 16v VTR petrol returns 39.8mpg, proving that you don’t always have to go for a diesel.

If you do, however, the benefits are there to be had. Choose either of the 1.6 HDI engines, and you’ll be looking at a claimed overall fuel figure of 60.1mpg, even if that translates into nearer 50mpg in the real world.

Servicing costs are marginally more than for a Ford Focus, but the C4 is still an easy and affordable car to maintain.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Technically advanced but values retarded compared to others'. Petrols cheaper than diesels

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

Citroen promised a big improvement in build quality with this car, and early indications are that the cabin is indeed screwed together a lot better than many Citroens of the past.

However, there are some concerns. Already in its relatively short life, the C4 has had no fewer than five recalls - and not for trivial matters, either.

They have included a short circuit, which may result in the risk of fire; a possible loss of braking efficiency; and the possibility of front airbags not deploying correctly in a frontal impact. So make sure any recall work has been carried out before you buy.

As the miles mount, cabin trim has not proved so robust on all cars, and there have been complaints that the radio does not always hold selected stations. Electrical glitches have also affected the speed limiter and cruise control systems on some cars.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Great value, 1.6 petrol or TD with SX trim has lots of appeal

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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