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Citroen C4 2005 review

How do you make a stylish family hatchback even more appealing? Citroen is hoping its self-shifting model can tempt buyers to the C4.

If you want an automatic family hatch, there are lots to choose from - and Citroen has just made your decision even more difficult. The self-shifting C4 is both smooth and refined in 1.6-litre guise, and with the cashback deals being offered, this model is a real bargain.

How do you make a stylish family hatchback even more appealing? For city drivers, the option of a smooth automatic gearbox would be a big plus - and Citroen is hoping its new self-shifting model can tempt even more buyers to the C4. The hatch has already proved to be a strong rival to Ford's new Focus, and its unusual but innovative design has made it a smart alternative for buyers who are looking for something different. Available in 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol guises, the automatic variant completes the range.

Unlike the SensoDrive paddleshift system offered in smaller Citroens, the C4 auto has a conventional gear selector with four forward speeds. With the box mated to the 110bhp 1.6-litre engine, progress is swift and the drop in pace compared to the manual car is barely noticeable. The transmission provides smooth changes and also avoids hunting for gears, making motorway cruising just as relaxing as travelling in town.

Slide the stylish gearlever to the left, and you can select ratios manually to make the most of the engine's performance. A top speed of 118mph and a 0-60mph sprint time of 13.1 seconds are respectable, although the C4 feels quicker than the figures suggest. Else-where, the automatic retains all the abilities of the standard model.

With capable handling and a comfortable ride, the car is enjoyable to drive, while the five-door shape is refreshingly different. Inside, the cabin is roomy and stylish, and features a unique fixed-hub steering wheel with fingertip controls. So in auto form, the C4 has a strong blend of abilities matched to a keen price.

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