Citroen C4 hatchback (2010-2018) review
It's comfortable and economical, but the Citroen C4 doesn't stand out in any particular area
Even compared to some budget competition, the Citroen C4 is well outclassed. It feels like an old car – and a 2015 facelift didn’t do enough to bring it back into contention. It’s also not as practical as many rivals, plus it’s too expensive and will lose more money in depreciation.
It’s spacious enough though, especially in the front. It's also comfortable thanks to a particularly soft ride, although the trade-off is lacklustre handling – most of its rivals are more fun to drive.
While the C4’s standard equipment and technology don't feel cutting-edge, all later models feature air conditioning, electric front windows and cruise control. They’re also all cheap, but they're not as efficient as many rivals - even the cheaper C4 Cactus, which in our eyes is by far the more rounded car, is a better choice.
The Citroen C4 has formed the basis for a number of other models in the Citroen range, from the C4 Cactus to the C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso, but the basic hatchback is something of a disappointment in comparison. There were two generations of Citroen C4, with the first running from 2004-2010, while the C4 Mk2 here was in production from 2010-2018. The second generation delivered comfort and reasonable space for a decent price, but unfortunately the compact hatchback class is one of the toughest markets out there, and the C4 struggled in the face of a raft of talented competition.
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While the original C4 came as a five-door hatchback or a sportier three-door with a different body design (which gained a cult following, courtesy of Citroen rally driver Sebastien Loeb and his multiple world rally championship wins in it), the Mk2 just came as a five-door. If you wanted something other than a hatch, your choices with Citroen were either the C4 Picasso MPV, the larger Grand C4 Picasso version, or later in the C4's life, the C4 Cactus pseudo crossover/hatch.
Citroen gave the C4 a minor facelift in 2015 to coincide with the arrival of cleaner Euro 6-compliant engines, and these are the motors we'd choose if you're looking to buy a used C4. The 1.2 PureTech three-cylinder turbo petrol comes in either 110hp or 130hp spec, while the 1.6 BlueHDi diesel has 100hp or 120hp, again depending on trim level. The C4 was available with a powerful 2.0 HDi diesel for a while, although this was dropped when it couldn't meet the later Euro 6 emissions standards.
Top-end versions of the 1.2 and 1.6 come with stop-start technology and six-speed manual transmissions - as opposed to the five-speed fitted to the less potent choices. Citroen's clunky EAT6 auto gearbox was also offered, although we think there are far better auto gearboxes to choose from on the market. All C4s are front-wheel drive.
The C4 was given three trim levels to bring it into line with the rest of the Citroen range when the facelift arrived in 2015, so there are Touch, Feel and Flair models on offer. The basic Touch trim has a decent amount of kit included as standard, with LED lighting, seat height adjustment, electric mirrors, cruise control and air-con all featured.
Feel adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a Bluetooth-enabled DAB radio and MP3 CD system and an instrument panel which buyers can customise with a choice of colours. At the top of the range Flair spec adds some luxuries including cornering front fog lights, a seven-inch touchscreen, reversing sensors, dual-zone climate control and automatic wipers and lights.
Prices when new made the Citroen C4 one of the better value hatchbacks on sale, so rivalled the likes of the Skoda Rapid, Fiat Tipo and SEAT Toledo. On the used market, the Citroen C4 makes a good buy thanks to its steep depreciation which makes it more attractive than rival hatchbacks such as the VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane, among many others. However, there are question marks over the C4's reliability when compared to these models.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingIt's comfortable and economical, but the Citroen C4 doesn't stand out in any particular area
- 2Engines, performance and driveA soft ride doesn't make up for the C4's uninspired handling, but the engines are reasonable
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsGood fuel efficiency and low running costs should ease the pain of high depreciation
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe ageing C4 is up against some tough competitors, but it just about styles things out...
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe C4 makes a very comfortable family cruiser, with room for lots of luggage
- 6Reliability and SafetyC4 safety gets a cheer from EuroNCAP, but reliability gets a groan in our Driver Power survey