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In-depth reviews

Citroen C4 - Engines, performance and drive

Not the most dynamic or fun to drive, but the C4 offers excellent levels of comfort

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.7 out of 5

Price
£19,690 to £37,410
  • Striking exterior design
  • Good standard kit
  • Comfortable
  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Not very exciting to drive
  • Clunky infotainment system
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Citroen has chosen to prioritise comfort for the third-generation C4, and a key piece of tech that helps improve the ride is the use of hydraulic dampers, designed to more effectively deal with big bumps in the road and lessen any impact felt in the cabin. The system works well, and you really notice the difference compared with standard family hatches when driving around town and taking on the scarred tarmac often found along urban routes.

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What isn’t so great about driving the C4 is its overly light steering, which lacks any feel or feedback. Coupled with quite a bit of body roll through corners, you couldn’t say that the C4 is a particularly fun car to hustle down a twisty B road. Rear visibility isn’t great due to the steeply raked rear window and awkwardly placed spoiler. Thankfully, all models bar the most basic version come with a reversing camera as standard.

The 128bhp three-cylinder petrol engine has a reasonable amount of low-end punch, and is better paired with the six-speed manual ‘box, rather than the eight-speed automatic transmission. The optional automatic transmission isn’t smooth enough in stop-and-go traffic, especially due to its dimwitted start/stop system. We’re yet to try the hybrid version, but we found it to be rather impressive in the larger Peugeot 3008, so we expect it to be similarly good in the C4.

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Driving the e-C4 requires minimal effort, especially when you engage the ‘B’ mode for stronger regenerative braking. It doesn’t offer one-pedal driving like you get in a Kia Niro EV, but lifting off the accelerator slows you down enough that you only really need the right pedal to trim your speed.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

If you’re after the fastest C4, then the 154bhp 1.2-litre PureTech Hybrid version is the one to go for; 0-62mph is dispatched in 8.0 seconds, and the top speed is 128mph. The 128bhp variants aren’t too far behind, with the six-speed manual managing the same sprint in 8.9 seconds, and the auto taking a further half a second to reach the benchmark.

The slowest C4 is, obviously, the least potent 99bhp 1.2-litre petrol. However, while its 10.8 second 0-62mph acceleration time seems pedestrian, the mid-range grunt of this engine means it’ll cope just fine if you primarily drive in town. 

The 134bhp e-C4 will sprint from 0-62mph in 10.0 seconds and hit a top speed of 93mph. Performance is best described as adequate, but where the e-C4 really shines is from 0-30mph, because all of the electric motor’s 260Nm of torque is available from the moment you touch the throttle. The e-C4 simply zips off the line – handy when driving in town. The 154bhp version is a little swifter off the mark, taking just 9.2 seconds to get from 0-62mph.

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