Citroen C4 X Shine long-term test: a spacious and affordable family car
First report: the Citroen C4 X saloon is suiting the Adam family to a tee so far
The Citroen C4 X is already playing to its strengths: its load-lugging ability has been a real boon, while a spacious interior and comfortable seats all get a thumbs up. The car fits in perfectly so far and looks to be great value.
Family life can be pretty hectic, so when news arrived that I was to be the custodian of a new Citroen C4 X, it seemed the perfect fit. With two sporty kids and a lively Labrador to keep entertained, I was quietly confident that the clan’s new wheels would be just the ticket to help smooth along the organised chaos at la maison Adam.
My first experience of Citroen was my dad’s XM way back in 1990; I still remember thinking its Bertone-designed exterior looked stunning and a cut above next door’s starchy BMW 5 Series, while the comfortable seats were just fantastic on longer trips.
The French manufacturer clearly made an impression, because although dad now runs a Volvo as a daily driver, he still has a Citroen Berlingo tucked away in the garage. Me? I’ve always had a hankering for the XM’s eventual replacement, the C6, mainly for the model’s equally attractive styling and premium wafting ability.
While our new C4 X may not be quite as remarkable to look at as its cool forebears, it still trades on its maker’s reputation for quirky, unconventional styling. Based on the striking-looking C4 hatchback, the X transforms into a rather smart saloon, albeit one with quasi-SUV undertones.
We’ve plumped for a PureTech 130 S&S petrol model with an eight-speed automatic transmission, although Citroen has already completely revised specifications for the C4 X, which means you won’t find our mid-range Shine version on the current price list. It’s close enough in spec to the latest Plus trim, however, which sits above YOU! and below the Max and e-Series in the hierarchy of equipment levels.
Starting from £19,495, the entry-level C4 X offers refreshingly good value for a spacious family car, but our model is a little pricier, at £26,780 (including Cumulus Grey metallic paint, at £595, and the £135 Safety Pack Plus). To provide some context, the same petrol engine with Max trim costs around £27,000, while the most expensive EV will set you back almost £36,000.
At 4.6 metres long, the C4 X is a big car, but I like the purposeful look that’s brought together by a combination of its elevated ride height, black wheelarch mouldings and chunky 18-inch wheels, while a 240mm increase in length over the C4 hatchback provides a superior 510 litres of boot space.
The extra load-lugging ability has been a real plus point for us, with most of the kids’ sports kit now taking up residence in the boot, but still leaving plenty of room for ad-hoc shopping trips without the fuss of having to clear everything out first.
We’re finding the cabin space is equally impressive, although it’s a sombre affair inside, with the dark trim only lifted by a few silver accents dotted around. Any fastidious cleaners out there will be driven mad by the use of black piano trim across the centre console. I think I saw it reasonably clean for a full two minutes after delivery, but it’s now succumbed to its usual modern-day patina of fingerprints, greasy marks and dust, courtesy of a tag-team effort from the kids.
Standard kit is pretty generous and includes a 10-inch touchscreen with integrated sat-nav, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a head-up display and dual-zone air-conditioning. There’s no heating function for the seats or steering wheel, though, which would’ve been welcome with winter on the way. Likewise, a sunroof or fixed panoramic glass panel would help to brighten the cabin, but perhaps that’s a little nit-picky when you consider the reasonable asking price and decent build quality on display.
Auto Express creative director, Darren Wilson, previously ran a Citroen C5 X on our test fleet and remarked in his first report that “It’s the kind of model that makes you want to book a driving holiday”. I get the same feeling from its smaller sibling; the Comfort seats in the C4 X are a highlight and more than live up to their billing, combining well with the soft damper set-up to expertly lull you into taking things easy.
It’s early days with the C4 X, but it’s a case of so far so good, while a few minor niggles, such as a faulty boot catch and mildly irritating stop-start system, haven’t taken the edge off what seems to be a capable family car.
|Model:||Citroen C4 X 130 S&S Shine|
|On fleet since:||October 2023|
|Engine:||1.2-litre, 3cyl turbo petrol, 128bhp|
|Options:||Cumulus Grey metallic paint (£545), Safety Pack Plus without Adaptive Cruise Control (£135)|
|Any problems?||Faulty boot catch|
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.