September launch

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September launch

The new mid-sized Citroen will be launched on home soil at the Paris motor show in September, probably alongside the premium DS4 model that will come along a few months after the mainstream C4.

Full details of the cars' mechanical make-up are being held back until the Paris debut, although Citroen has already confirmed the C4 will have 89 and 108bhp versions of its 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, both featuring the latest version of the e-HDI stop-start system that will help save fuel in city driving and peg CO2 emissions to a level that brings various tax advantages.

Citroen is claiming 109g/km for the more powerful of the two engines and 99g/km for the other, which means it will be exempt from road tax. There's also a 134bhp 2.0-litre diesel if Citroen chooses to use it.

The petrol options are almost certain to be broadly similar to those in the Peugeot 308 1.4- and 1.6-litre units plus the 1.6 turbo co-developed with the BMW Group, giving a spread of 94 to 154bhp. The EGC paddleshift semi-auto gearbox will be available with some engines in place of a manual.

Unmistakably Citroen
The styling marks the new C4 out immediately as a modern Citroen, but the car's not as distinctive as, say, the C3 Picasso.

It's smart but unexciting, and could easily be mistaken for anything from a C4 Picasso to a C5 from a casual glance in the rear-view mirror. Everything looks good once you're inside the car, though, with attractive trim and strong attention to detail.

There'll be driver assistance systems to stop you rolling backwards when setting off on hills, to help you see round corners at night, to alert you to speed limits and to warn you if you're straying out of lane or if something is coming up behind in your blind spot.

There'll also be a feature called eTouch, which offers on-board emergency assistance, monitors the car's servicing and maintenance requirements and gives you tips on how to improve your fuel consumption based on your own driving style.

For the total hedonist there'll be massage seats and surround-sound hi-fi, and you'll be able to programme the colour of the instrument lighting to your own tastes and change the sound alerts that tell you if you've left the lights on or forgotten to fasten a seatbelt.

The arrival of the new C4 will not only draw the company's entire line-up into something approaching uniformity, but should also bring about the end of some of the desperate deals that are available on the current car you can get the best part of 4000 off any model in the range. That, in turn, ought to push up resale values, which are among the worst for any family hatchback.

So, you'll be paying more, but ought to eventually get more back and for a much better car if the promises are borne out on the road. We'll be able to let you know in a couple of months.