In-depth reviews

Citroen C4 hatchback review

"The Citroen C4 is a comfortable family hatchback with modern, fashionable styling"

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Price
£20,950 - £26,950

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Generously equipped
  • Electric version available

Cons

  • Vague handling
  • Average boot size
  • No mild-hybrid tech

The Citroen C4 family hatchback has been reinvented, swapping its forgettable looks and dowdy image for fashionable SUV styling that incorporates a dramatic sloping roofline and some intricate detailing. In a class that includes heavy hitters like the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, the new C4 needed to stand out and it does.

Under its dramatic bodywork, the C4 shares underpinnings with the Peugeot 2008 and Citroen C3 Aircross but this time they’ve been stretched to give the C4 family car dimensions. The car is also available as a petrol, diesel and electric model for the first time ever, with the zero-emissions version badged the Citroen e-C4. We’ve reviewed it separately.

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Citroen gave the C4 a small update for October 2021, including a couple of new colour and wheel choices. The tablet stand for the front passenger seat is now standard, while the 128bhp diesel and 153bhp petrol are no longer available on Sense Plus and Shine trims respectively.

The petrol models use a 1.2-litre turbo engine with 99bhp, 128bhp or 153bhp and will make up the majority of sales, blending decent performance with fuel economy of well over 40mpg. Even the 99bhp engine feels powerful enough; the power comes in early and, after all, the C4 isn’t intended as a sports car. We expect most buyers will choose the middle option, while some drivers will no doubt value the 153bhp version’s extra oomph. The latter is a good alternative to the 148bhp 1.5-litre auto Volkswagen Golf.

With a higher price tag, the 1.5-litre diesel is available in 109bhp or 128bhp outputs if you choose a manual or automatic gearbox respectively. The diesel might be an unfashionable choice but it’s likely to appeal to high-mileage drivers, thanks to economy of over 60mpg. Every C4 is front-wheel drive.

With a 50kWh battery, the electric e-C4 can manage up to 217 miles between charges, while its single electric motor can get it from 0-62mph in nine seconds. It also comes with 100kW DC charging, meaning it can be topped up from flat to 80% in around half an hour using a suitable public charging post. Citroen said at the time of the October 2021 update that the C4 should now be more efficient in real-world driving, even though its official range figure is unchanged.

Set off in the petrol C4, and it's clear Citroen's focus on comfort has been a success. While many hatchbacks aim to please enthusiastic drivers with their sporty handling, the C4 is intended to be the most relaxing car in its class. Clever suspension helps absorb bumps and poor road surfaces, and works better here than in the bigger C5 Aircross SUV, while the car also handles reasonably well. Most speed humps and potholes are soaked up nicely.

Inside, many potential owners will be pleased to hear there are now physical dials for the climate control, although you can also use the touchscreen if you’d prefer. The dashboard is also reasonably attractive, but doesn't quite match the best in class for quality. However, there's lots of storage space and some novel features like a slide-out tablet mount for the front passenger. 

Equipment levels are pretty generous too, with even the entry-level Sense getting 18-inch alloys, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and a 10-inch touchscreen. Sense Plus adds a head-up display, an alarm and a reversing camera, while the range-topping Shine Plus is fitted with luxuries like leather upholstery, heated seats and an upgraded sound system.

By bringing the Citroen C4 out of relative anonymity and playing to the popularity of SUV styling, Citroen has made the car more desirable. Its innovative suspension makes it one of the most comfortable cars in its class and there's impressive equipment for the price too.

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Sense 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,950

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Sense 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,950

Fastest

  • Name
    1.2 PureTech Sense 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,950

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