Citroën C4 hatchback (2011-2018)
"The Citroen C4 isn't the most exciting car, but it offers good value for money, low running costs, great practicality and comfort"
- Great value for money
- Very comfortable
- Big boot
- Dull to drive
- Cramped rear seats
- Sluggish petrol engines
The Citroen C4 flies under the radar of UK car buyers, while its Citroen C4 Picasso and Citroen C4 Cactus sisters get all the glory. Few seem to remember that the C4 hatchback even exists, and overlook it when comparing rivals such as the the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra, as well the Renault Megane and Peugeot 308 from its native France.
However, the C4 does have one thing very much in its favour – the value-for-money it offers makes it a credible alternative to the Hyundai i30, Kia Cee'd, Nissan Pulsar and Toyota Auris. If you can find a good deal on a C4, it's actually a very safe and sensible choice.
It scored very well in crash tests – expert independent body Euro NCAP awarded it the full five stars in 2010. And while safety is high on the agenda, comfort is anything but overlooked. The interior is trimmed with plenty of soft-touch materials, while comprehensive sound-deadening keeps things nice and quiet when you're on the move.
Those in the front have loads of space in which to stretch out, too, but taller rear-seat occupants might struggle a little for legroom. The design is neat and tidy and the controls simple and easy to use, while equipment is generous across the range. Even entry-level Touch models have cruise control (including a speed-limiter function), electric windows up front and LED daytime running lights.
Step up to Feel trim and music fans will appreciate a six-speaker stereo with USB connection and DAB radio, while the range-topping Flair builds on this with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It also comes with front foglamps, automatic headlights and wipers, and rear parking sensors.
Not only is the C4 quiet on the move, but the ride is among the smoothest of all hatchbacks of this size. This does come rather at the expense of handling prowess, though – the Citroen is rather shown up by its rivals if you show it a challenging country road. The steering doesn't inspire with precision or feel, and there's rather a lot of body lean if you corner with enthusiasm. Such high jinks will quickly lead to discomfort among your passengers, though, and the C4 rather encourages a more relaxed, unhurried driving style.
This actually makes the C4 a pretty accomplished motorway cruiser, and its economical engines mean long distance trips won't cost the earth. With 118bhp the BlueHDI 120 diesel offers sufficient performance for most, yet is claimed to return almost 80mpg. The petrol engines are pretty thrifty, too, and those who drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year will enjoy the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 petrol. Its 128bhp will take the C4 from a rest to 62mph in less than ten seconds, yet is still claimed to achieve almost 60mpg.
The C4 stacks up well, then, as an attractively priced, well furnished and comfortable family car that doesn't drink fuel at an alarming rate. Rivals are far more polished, but few offer such good value. However, Citroen's 25th-place finish in our 2018 Driver Power satisfaction survey was a big disappointment – buyers seem rather disappointed by the build quality of its cars.