Citroen C4 e-HDi

Stop-start version of latest family car aims to clean up

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

FROM the outside, this diesel hatch doesn’t make a song and dance about its eco credentials. However, beneath the surface, technology such as stop-start and regenerative braking works unobtrusively. The Citroen is also spacious, comfortable and neatly finished. On the downside, the standard-fit EGS auto is jerky, and the 110g/km CO2 figure misses the tax-free 100g/km target achieved by similarly priced cars such as the VW Golf BlueMotion. Cash-conscious C4 buyers would be better off with the 90bhp version of the 1.6 HDi with its £2,000 saving, manual gearbox and similar economy.

French giant Citroen is proving how low it can go with an eco-friendly version of the C4 hatch. We drove the flagship diesel in Issue 1,133, but this is the model bosses are most proud of.

The e-HDi uses a 1.6-litre oil-burning engine, instead of the 2.0-litre unit, and packs all the firm’s eco know-how under the bonnet to save fuel and slash CO2 emissions. But does this economy variant make sense?

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

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

The biggest contributor towards the 67mpg and 109g/km CO2 figures is Citroen’s version of stop-start technology, which cuts the engine in traffic. Put your foot on the brake, and below 5mph the engine will cut out – as long as there aren’t too many electric gadgets in operation. In the time it takes to move your foot back to the accelerator, the engine is running again and you’re off. In the sparsely populated Swedish city of Malmö where we drove the C4, the digital dash readout recorded that the engine was off for seven minutes in only half an hour of driving, proving how the pauses can mount up in urban situations.

Another advantage when the roads are busy is the automatic gearbox, fitted as standard. Called EGS, it’s essentially a manual that shifts itself for optimum economy. Alternatively, pull the small chrome lever and use the steering column paddles to swap the cogs yourself.

As with most automated manuals, changes are slow and jerky, although as the C4 is designed for a more relaxed driving style, owners probably won’t mind. Responsive steering stops the experience from feeling too disconnected, but this is a car that takes comfort seriously. It even comes with two types of foam hardness in the front seats – firm for the outer wings, for better grip, and softer for the base. The engine sounds rather coarse and undoes some of the work Citroen has put into cutting road noise. That aside, the cabin is superb. Dash materials are of a high quality and it is well equipped – even the mid-spec VTR+ gets rear parking sensors and Bluetooth connectivity.

However, the e-HDi’s biggest rival comes from within the C4 range. The standard 90bhp 1.6 HDi (which will form the basis of a sub-100g/km model next year) is in the same £20 tax band, with near identical economy. It swaps the EGS box for a manual and will cost £2,000 less at around £17,500 in mid-spec trim.

Rival: Toyota Auris HSD NO hatch in the class can beat the Auris hybrid on urban economy. Combining a 1.8-litre petrol engine with battery power, it feels faster, returns 74mpg and puts out only 89g/km of CO2. It matches the C4 on price and comfort, too.

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space
Peugeot 308 SW - front
News

New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space

The Peugeot 308 SW joins the hatchback in the range and arrives with two plug-in hybrid options
22 Jun 2021
New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech
Dacia Duster facelift - front
Dacia Duster

New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech

The budget-conscious Dacia Duster has been updated for 2021 with some subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen
22 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’
opinion: charging
Opinion

‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’

Andy Palmer sees electric car uptake revving-up in the UK but says targeted investment is needed to prevent a stall…
22 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front
Volvo XC40

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950

Volvo has revised the electric XC40’s pricing and trim-level structure, with a simplified three-tier system
22 Jun 2021