Citroën C4 hatchback
Price £14,240 - £21,185
- Big boot
- Great value for money
- Very comfortable
- Dull to drive
- Cramped rear seats
- Sluggish petrol engines
At a glance
"The Citroen C4 isn’t the most exciting car but it offers good value for money, low running costs, great practicality and comfort."
The Citroen C4 is a rival for cars such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Hyundai i30, and Peugeot 308. The Citroen majors on comfort, although it is not as much fun to drive as either the Ford Focus or the Volkswagen Golf. Citroen has worked hard to increase interior quality and the C4 gets close to the Golf, which leads the class in this respect.
Engines include four petrols and three diesels. Of the petrols, the e-THP 130 offers an excellent mix of economy and performance - it can get from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and return fuel economy of nearly 60mpg. All the diesels return strong economy, but the best balanced model is the e-HDi 115 version that goes from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds, while being capable of economy of 74.3mpg.
Citroen offers three trim levels - VTR, VTR+ and Exclusive. VTR models gets equipment such as cruise control, air-conditioning and front electric windows. VTR+ models look much smarter thanks to the addition of alloy wheels and flashes of chrome on the exterior, while they also get rear parking sensors and a DAB radio. At the top of model range is the Exclusive trim level, which adds a part-leather interior, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, auto headlights and wipers, plus front parking sensors.
MPG, running costs & CO2
C4 has a range of efficient diesel engines
The cheapest C4 to run is the e-HDi 115 diesel model. It can return up to 76.3mpg and is free to tax. Its impressive figures come thanks to stop-start technology, which turns the engine off when the car is at a standstill, and regenerative brakes that recoup power. The HDi 90 is the cheapest diesel to buy and it is capable of 67.3mpg. It produces low CO2 emissions so that road tax is just £20 per annum. Of all the diesels the HDi 150 is the fastest, but still gets 56.5mpg, although annual road tax of £110 is comparatively pricy.
As you would expect, the petrol models are more expensive to run. The most frugal is the e-THP 130. It's the one we would go for and uses the same technology as the e-HDi diesel to get up to 58.9mpg with low CO2 emissions that mean road tax just £20 annually. It is also quicker than all but the THP 155 range-topping model.
Citroen dealerships offer fixed-price servicing that mean it is easy to keep on top of maintenance costs, but Citroen's three-year/60,000 mile warranty can’t much the likes of Vauxhall's 100,000-mile scheme. The Citroen should hold its value better than the Vauxhall Astra.
Interior & comfort
The interior is sharply styled and it’s one of the most comfortable cars in its class
Instead of trying to make the C4 as much fun to drive as the Ford Focus, Citroen has instead aimed to make it ultra comfortable. As a result, the hatchback is one of the most cosseting cars in its class. The Citroen also does an excellent job of keeping road, wind and tyre noise at bay, so that the interior is quiet even at high motorway speeds.
Getting comfortable behind the wheel is easy too, and all models come with a height adjustable driver's seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for both rake and reach. Things are also helped by the Citroen's stylish interior design, although it's not as well-built as a VW Golf's. Top-of-the-range Exclusive models even get front seats with a massage function.
Practicality & boot space
Huge boot but limited legroom in the back
While the Citroen might not have the VW Golf beaten on quality it's got it bang to rights when it comes to boot space. In fact, the Citroen's 408-litre boot not only betters the Golf (380 litres), but also the Vauxhall Astra (370 litres) and the Ford Focus (316 litres). Folding the Citroen's back seats expands total load capacity to 1,300 litres.
Head and legroom in the front is plentiful, but its not the same story in the back seat, where some may find legroom is tight, although headroom is still pretty decent. The Golf is more spacious in this respect.
All Citroen C4s get useful cubbyholes dotted around the cabin, while one advantage of going for the automatic model is the addition of a refrigerated storage area in the centre console, where the gearstick is located on manual models.
Reliability & safety
No reported major faults and a five-star safety score
Citroen doesn’t have a great record for reliability, although the C4 didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power survey. The C4 does feel solidly constructed, but Citroen's 26th placing out of 33 firms in our manufacturer's ranking does little to inspire confidence.
Nonetheless, safety is excellent and the C4 was awarded the full five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. All C4s get electronic stability control and six airbags, while the top-of-the-range Exclusive model gets eTouch - a system that calls the emergency services when it senses the vehicle has been involved in an accident.
Engines, drive & performance
The C4 is perfectly capable but a little dull to drive
The secret to building a great all-round car is to make it both comfortable and fun to drive and while the C4 successfully nails the former is falls behind on the latter. On a country road, the C4's soft suspension setup allows too much body lean and the steering lacks accuracy. The results is that it is not as fun to drive as either the Ford Focus or the Volkswagen Golf. The C4 is at least excellent as a quiet motorway cruiser.
The fastest C4 model is the THP155, which can get from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds and tops out at 133mph. It is still well beaten by fast hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, and the Renaultsport Megane. The HDi 150 diesel is nearly as quick as the fastest petrol model, but is much more economical. For an excellent balance of performance and economy we would recommend the 1.2-litre e-THP petrol, which does 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and is also cheap to run.
Price, value for money & options
Decent price but the C4 suffers from heavy depreciation
All Citroen C4s get useful equipment such as air-conditioning, cruise control and electric windows, but VTR+ plus models and above look much nicer thanks to the addition of alloy wheels and exterior chrome. VTR+ model add features such as fog lights that point in the direction of the steering wheel, rear parking sensors, a DAB radio, and electric folding wing mirrors that also light up the kerbside when the car is unlocked. Exclusive models sit at the top of the range and get front parking sensors, climate control with separate adjustment for the driver and passenger, a part-leather interior, plus auto wipers and headlights.
While Citroens don’t hold their value as well as some competitors, Citroen dealers are known for giving healthy discounts so arrive at the dealership with the view to haggling money off.
What the others say
"Although the design has been toned down from the model it replaces, the C4 is smart and understated, thanks to the slashes in its sides and the neat C3-inspired tail-lights. Inside, the high-quality cabin includes brushed metal inserts and soft-touch materials, while the switches feel solid."
"An improvement on the old C4, but still no better than average in a competitive and competent class, and certainly not up to the standards set by the impressive DS range."
"The C4 does some things extremely well, but is also mediocre in a number of areas. It's fine if your priority is comfort, but it won't suit enthusiastic drivers or people wanting maximum space."