Citroen C4 2010 review

Will revised hatch’s understated looks make it a more appealing prospect?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The C4 is a competent compact family hatchback. It’s good looking, well made, relaxing to drive and efficient. Yet there’s a feeling that Citroen has toned down the C4 in order to put some distance between it and the upcoming DS4 crossover. It doesn’t stand out in the way that a Citroen should, and while it’s a good family car, there are plenty of rival models available that offer buyers a bit more spark.

Is this the Citroen that will ‘C’ off competition from Ford’s new Focus and the VW Golf? The French company has high hopes for the C4 – it’s been completely revised, getting a new look, even more economical engines and a real upmarket feel to tempt UK drivers.

On sale in January, prices will start at £16,000, rising to about £22,000. No three-door version will be available, but there will be a range-topping DS4 crossover to go with this five-door model. The new C4 has lost the distinctive rounded shape of its predecessor. It has a smart front end, with a C5-derived face and clamshell bonnet, but despite the long slashes in the sides and neat tail-lights, it’s all rather conventional.  

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Citroen C4

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_narrow","fid":"69290","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image"}}]]

It’s longer than its predecessor by around 5cm (at 4.33m), as well as being wider. And combined with a panoramic glass roof, the cabin feels spacious and airy. The boot is bigger, too, at 408 litres, while further neat touches include coloured instrument lighting for the digital dials, a trip computer that helps you to drive more economically, and a choice of polyphonic tones to replace the usual dash beeps.  

Material quality is better than ever – with soft-touch plastics and classy metal trim – and the cabin is logically laid out. Equipment is decent, too. All VTR, VTR+ and Exclusive models are likely to have ESP, air-conditioning and alloy wheels, with the top-spec Exclusive getting leather and Bluetooth. Blind spot monitoring will also be available.

Out goes the controversial fixed-hub steering wheel of the old C4. As a result, the cabin feels similar to the exterior: classy but rather conservative.

Despite being bigger, the C4 doesn’t weigh any more than before. Yet Citroen has still managed to ensure a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of three petrol engines, with 94bhp, 118bhp or 153bhp, and three HDi turbodiesels with 90bhp, 110bhp and 148bhp. There will also be a stop-start-equipped 110bhp e-HDi from launch that emits around 109g/km of CO2. It will be joined by a tax-exempt 99g/km version shortly after.

Lower-powered models come with five-speed manual gearboxes, while higher-powered versions get a six-speed unit. A four-speed auto is available on the 118bhp petrol, while the 1.6-litre HDi diesel is equipped with Citroen’s automated manual gearbox, boasting steering wheel-mounted paddles or a selector on the centre console. It’s notoriously jerky – and it’s a shame there’s no twin-clutchtransmission, such as Ford’s PowerShift system or Volkswagen’s DSG, on offer.

Our 148bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel flagship was punchy (0-62mph takes only 8.6 seconds), smooth and very economical.

On the motorway, the C4 is an excellent performer, thanks to a long top gear and fine ride, bolstered by comfortable seats and a lack of wind noise. In corners, it’s agile, but the precise steering could do with more feel. As a result, the overall package isn’t particularly engaging. In comparison, a Golf is more fun to drive, while we expect the new Focus to be even better.

Is the C4 a class leader? Not really. There’s much to like about it, but it won’t worry the established players too much.

Rival: Volkswagen Golf With a wide engine range, brilliant build quality and an accurate, rewarding driving experience, the gimmick-free Golf is about as good as hatchbacks get.

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
News

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020