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 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 range-topper exclusively on top-spec Shine Plus.

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 only improves performance slightly; 0-62mph takes 8.5 seconds. Given this engine is now only paired with the top trim level, we’d suspect that it won’t be long before it’s discontinued from the range.

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.

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.

Performance figures for the base 108bhp diesel have yet to be confirmed. 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

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