In-depth reviews

Citroen C4 hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Citroen's innovative suspension serves up a smooth ride

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.4 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.1 out of 5

While some brands like SEAT try to cultivate and promote a sporty image, Citroen has been trying to position its cars as class-leaders in comfort. The Progressive Hydraulic Cushion suspension has been a big part of this push; it’s designed to help soak up the worst bumps in the roads but it's actually had mixed success - in some cars we found the technology made little difference.

Thankfully, it feels more successful here, taking the edge off all but the deepest potholes, giving it an advantage over most family hatchbacks. It's also particularly welcome in Britain, where the suspension is able to filter out all but the worst road surfaces. Composure is still intact at higher speeds but the C4 predictably feels far less willing to play along a twisting back road than a Ford Focus. Its steering is light and somewhat vague, while there's also a fair bit of body lean.

If you’re used to cars that aim to be sporty, the C4 feels prone to wallowing in corners by comparison, so take a test drive before you buy, particularly if you or one of your passengers gets travel sickness. The relaxed nature of the car and the comfortable seats means it’s great for long motorway journeys.

Citroen C4 petrol engines

Citroen's willing 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder engine has been around for some time and fitted in various Peugeot, Vauxhall and Citroen models. Here it's available with 99bhp, 128bhp and 153bhp, with the first two getting a manual gearbox as standard. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is optional for the 128bhp version and standard for the range-topper. The lowest-powered engine is exclusive to the cheapest trim level, and you can choose the most powerful engine exclusively on top-spec cars.

The entry-level 99bhp PureTech petrol reaches 0-62mph in a little over 11 seconds. There’s not a lot of pulling power but it comes in early, so you don’t feel like you need to rev it noisily to make progress. In most situations it feels just about quick enough but we did find it felt underpowered at some points.

Above this the mid-range 128bhp version manages 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the eight-speed auto taking 9.4 seconds. Go for the flagship 153bhp petrol engine and the automatic gearbox is fitted as standard, which improves performance slightly; 0-62mph takes 8.5 seconds.

The 128bhp version has decent pulling power at low revs, so you rarely have to go above 3,000rpm where the engine can start to sound a bit gruff. The automatic gearbox shuffles through the gears competently enough but we think the manual makes better use of the available power.

The 153bhp petrol engine is slightly keener to accelerate, especially in Sport mode. It makes light work of gaining speed on a motorway slip road or when overtaking. Just remember that it’s not trying to be a hot hatch; the same driving quirks from the other versions apply here too. Some are exacerbated by the extra power, like the way the nose rises up when you accelerate and how it dives forward under braking.

This engine also also suffers from an odd gearbox setup. As when combined with the grabby brakes and the engine’s jerky start-stop system, it can be difficult to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic. We wouldn’t discount the range-topping engine entirely, but make sure you get a good deal on it as its position at the top of the range makes it expensive.

Diesel engines

Choose the 1.5-litre diesel engine and there's 108bhp but this increases to 128bhp with the automatic gearbox fitted. The Volkswagen Golf has a larger 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 113bhp or 148bhp.

With the 108bhp option, acceleration from 0-62mph is dealt with in 10.5 seconds, which will feel adequate rather than impressive. In the 128bhp diesel, performance is fairly close to similarly powered rivals, with 0-62mph taking 9.5 seconds.

Electric motors

Unlike most of its rivals, the Citroen C4 is available as a petrol, diesel or electric car. Badged e-C4, the latter has a single electric motor powering the front wheels, making it a rival for the Mazda MX-30 and Volkswagen ID.3. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes nine seconds but instant torque and the absence of gear changes help it feel quicker than the raw numbers suggest. 

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

Recommended

Fiat Tipo hatchback review
Fiat Tipo Hybrid
Fiat Tipo
16 May 2022

Fiat Tipo hatchback review

2022 Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: UK prices, specs and release date
2022 Renault Megane E-TECH Electric
Renault Megane
11 May 2022

2022 Renault Megane E-Tech Electric: UK prices, specs and release date

Peugeot 308 hatchback review
2022 Peugeot 308 driving
Peugeot 308
11 May 2022

Peugeot 308 hatchback review

MINI 5-door hatchback review
MINI 5-door hatchback
MINI 5-door hatchback
5 May 2022

MINI 5-door hatchback review

Have You Considered

Skoda Octavia hatchback review
Skoda Octavia
Skoda Octavia
4 May 2022

Skoda Octavia hatchback review

Citroen C4 hatchback review
Citroen C4 hatchback
Citroën C4
2 Mar 2022

Citroen C4 hatchback review

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers
Honda CR-V deal
Deals
13 May 2022

Best new car deals 2022: this week’s top car offers

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
23 Mar 2022

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
5 Nov 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Car buying
21 Jan 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2022
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Ioniq 5
Best cars
25 Apr 2022

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022
Nissan Leaf front
Best cars
3 May 2022

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022
Audi RS 3 driving - front view
Hot hatches
3 Feb 2022

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2022