Citroen C4

2 Jan, 2007 (All day) Graham Hope
Good driving position, superb high-speed refinement, attractive styling, adequate practicality, excellent economy
Cheap feel, jamming glovebox, chunky central digital speedo, awkward fixed-hub steering wheel

Steamed up! That's how I am feeling about Auto Express's long-term C4

Now, don't get me wrong... there's nothing seriously amiss with our garish gold Citroen. But recent months have highlighted an irritating trait of RV06 EEX which I, quite literally, cannot see past when asked to give my verdict on the car.

The problem? Misting. Simply put, unless the air-conditioning system is constantly switched on, the French hatchback's windscreen and windows quickly become irritatingly cloudy.

And that in itself throws up two further issues. Firstly, driving around with the air-con turned on obviously adversely affects the fuel economy. As I've mentioned in previous reports, I'm extremely impressed with the 44.2mpg the Citroen has returned over the past nine months. However, our road testers estimate that with the set-up off, I might have topped the magic 50mpg mark.

Secondly, it's prompted no end of arguments between myself and Mrs Hope. If the air-con goes on, the temperature has to be pretty high to keep her happy, while I prefer things a little cooler.

This small issue aside, the C4 has continued to impress. A 1,000-mile round trip to Scotland showed the Citroen to be a decent motorway cruiser, with the excellent driving position and comfortable seat a real boon for a six-footer such as myself. Normally, the eight-hour journey to visit family just south of Aberdeen leaves me feeling shattered. But as the C4 is such an easy, relaxing car to pilot, that wasn't the case this time.

And practicality-wise, the Citroen has excelled, too. More recently, the folding rear seats ensured that taking a coat stand home from the furniture store was a cinch. I just wish it was as easy to put the 'self-assembly' stand together! Niggles? Well, apart from the misting mystery, there are a couple of other gripes. On three occasions in recent weeks, an alert has sounded and dash light illuminated to warn me that my front-seat passenger is not wearing a belt... even though no one is sitting there. Spooky! Opening and shutting the passenger door seems to sort this - until the next time.

I've also complained about the central digital speedo in the past, as it can be a little distracting for the driver. It's since been pointed out to me that from the outside the read-out is pretty similar to the orange sign you see on vacant taxis. It's not a look that any car should aspire to in my book. Still, at least if the screen is steamed up, no one will be able to see in and mistake me for a cabbie...

Second opinion
I'm much more of a fan of the C4 coupé than the five-door - our model doesn't quite have the 'je ne sais quoi' that the French firm put into the styling of its three-door version. However, as with Graham, I do appreciate this car's brilliant economy and practicality. A trip to the Forest of Dean, Glos, from London hardly affected the fuel gauge, and the boot - while not big by class standards - was big enough for my needs. Gary Lord, production editor

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My girlfriend has a c4 and she has had nothing but problems i.e warning lights for the seat belt,oil temp service light poor visibility i.e the windows steaming up with the air con on ! Now all these problems were supposed to have been sorted out by citroen the car has been in now 3 times for the same issues each time citroen dealer said the problems were sorted,but this morning the oil temp warning light came on so now my girlfriend wants here money back so goodbye to a piece of rubbish worst car ever!!

I Had Citroen C4 Hatchback 1.6I 16v SX 5dr for 2 Years do around 15,000 miles a year and had no problem with it at all . All the car has needed is new set of brake pads and the regular Services and MOT.
To cure the misting effect use rain x anti fog.
Car is great for delivering small parcels and take family to shops and with the cars Ncap 5* rating for occupant protection i know i safe. Great Car

I have a c4 2.0ltr HDI VTS this is my first citroen and it will be my last. the looks of the car are fab and the inside of the car looks even better, but thats as far as it goes. from day one all i have had is problems after problems DO NOT BUY A FRENCH Citroen.

Cars build Quality is dreadfull, Electrics fail, fuel injection system has failed twice.. EGR valve failed, turbo failed, car cuts out for no reason now and again. lights failed to come on one night. warning lights apear dash then dissapear. total loss of power sometimes.. car sometimes missfires and so on and so on. and the car is only 5 years old waste of money if you ask me DONT BUY one.. O they also might be cheap to buy but there well expensive to fix. cost of a clutch £1200, if you read this and still buy one your MAD MAD MAD stay away, would not like anybody else to go through all of theproblems i have had with the car..

I would never buy a c4 again this car is the worst you can get. I have a desil 2006 1.6 turbo, First the glove box breaks easily, then thesomething on the clutch wore out so quickly it was unbelievable. The dealers rip you off making you pay for a Service they did not perform. Now the final straw Turbo. My turbo went after 100,000 miles, i replaced it with one under warenty, it did not last 1000 miles apparently there is a fault with the engine that is inherant with the car, (low oil pressure) no lights warn for this and the engine still purs. No turbo is going to work on it acording to inherant problem. I have one years hp left to pay, i cant cancel because they will charge me to fix it, i cant get a new car because i cant drive mine to the show room its stuck at the garage, I cant fix it, as a new turbo is not garanteed even to get me home. I cant get intouch with Citreon, its like drawing blood from a stone. I would warn everyone out theer in the stronges possible way DO NOT BUY A CITREON EVER.

I would realy like some honest advise about this car. Dont want to end up with expensive unreliable junk?
1) Are they easy to maintain, engine acessibility good or bad? (for fiting new parts ect)

2) Are the eletrics and computer a pain?

3) Do the parts last very long or are wearing out quickly?

4) Are the dealer's cowboys?

5) What do you recomend.

I have a 06 plate C4 coupe 1.6 disel (92Hp). It has taken me all round the UK without any trouble. Apart from the servicing and MOT the only other time off the road was for the ABS recall. I deal with Citreon Slough, very professional, friendly and helpful when needed. Beware not all dealers are this good but that could be said for any manufacturer.
If I were to buy it again I'd go for the 110 version - nice to have that little extra umph when required but the 92 is no slouch off the mark.
As I'm in the London area my average speed is only 28mph but I'm still returning an avg 54+ mpg. When I get the chance I'm up there at the top end of legal limits - still returns very economical figures.
Front tyres last 20+k miles, rear last 45+k - only changed the rears early due to the severe winter or they would still have been legal up to 50k.
Still on the original set of brake pads - 70% worn after 50k on the clock, but then I look ahead and lift off the gas before having to slam on the brakes like some other muppets out there...
Handles the family runs without any problems to either my parents in Scotland or down to hers on the south coast - plenty of space for my bag, her suitcase and all of our little ones toys, dvd players, colouring books - you get my drift.
Did buy a roof box after one Xmas visit to my folks - they spoiled us but it did not effect the cars handling back (again at top legal limits on the motorway...)
I love it, and they have stopped making them so it is even more unlikely to get stuck behind another on the roads, unlike the Focus, Golf or any of the other similar range vehicles.

I have a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso. I have had it for about 18 months. Now Citroen have decided to scrap the VIN number and I have to scrap my car despite doing nothing wrong. Think seriously about buying a second hand Citroen!!

Key specs

  • On fleet since: March 2006
  • Price when new: £15,240
  • Running costs: 36.2ppm
  • Mileage: 7,642/44.2mpg
  • Engine / Power: 1.6 litre
  • Insurance Group / Quote: 5/£275
  • Any problems?: Irritating fogging in cabin, random seatbelt alert warnings
  • Equipment: None