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Long-term tests

Citroen C4

Citroen’s C4, has been proving its worth as a bag-carrier supreme during its stint on our fleet

  • Impressive fuel economy, decent engine, good cruising ability, appealing styling, plenty of stowage on offer, luggage space in the back
  • Tinny, low-rent feel, erratic glovebox lid operation, nasty digital speedo, fixed-hub steering wheel, unpleasant Sable Gold paintjob
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Loads to offer! That’s my verdict on Citroen’s C4, which has been proving its worth as a bag-carrier supreme during its stint on our long-term fleet.

Previously, I held the keys to a Mazda 3 saloon, which despite its striking looks never really cut the mustard in the practicality stakes. The limited access to the load bay meant that on more than one occa-sion I had to swap to another car, simply because the 3's boot couldn't accommodate my luggage.

That's not been the case with the C4, though. Whether it's swallowing bags on airport runs or transporting rubbish to the local tip, the Citroen has dealt with whatever has been thrown at it with ease. The 320-litre boot expands to 1,270 litres with the rear seats folded - which is more than adequate for my load-lugging needs. There are no concerns in terms of space inside, either; in both the front and rear I have found leg and headroom to be more than adequate.

Out on the road, too, there is little to complain about. Economy remains impressive at 47.8mpg, while RV06 EEX is very much in its element when cruising at the legal limit. It can't quite match the class-leading Ford Focus in the handling stakes, admittedly, but given that this C4 spends most of its time travelling on city streets on the motorway, that's not really a major problem.

So far, so good then. But there are a couple of areas in which the Citroen falls a little short. Firstly, the build quality leaves something to be desired. As our last report (Issue 906) highlighted, the glovebox door jammed after less than 1,000 miles. We managed to jimmy the lid open without doing any lasting damage, yet since then it has happened again on a handful of occasions. Each time I've been able to force the lock, but I have now decided the best course of action is not to use the glovebox at all. Just as well the car's manual and my favourite CDs all fit in the side pockets!

And I'm afraid I still can't agree with features editor Mat Watson, who sang the praises of the fixed-hub steering wheel in our previous report. If anything, after 3,500 miles I'm finding it more irritating than ever, and have given up using the stereo buttons located on the hub. While this feature is certainly a talking point, I don't see what benefits it offers. It seems to be a quirky touch simply for the sake of it - and a little incongruous on an otherwise quite well thought-out car.

Second opinion

On the whole, I was happy with the C4 during a recent two-week swap with Graham. It coped admirably with everything - it was comfortable for the family on a day out, and easy to drive around town. The Citroen doesn't have parking sensors, but the light steering makes manoeuvring a breeze. My main gripe would be with the gearbox, which I found notchy - oh, and I'm not too keen on the colour, either!
Dawn Tennant, picture editor
 

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