Citroen C4 PureTech

 

Funny, isn’t it, how certain cars begin to grow on you?  When Citroen’s new C4 first arrived here I’m ashamed to admit that my inner car snob dismissed it as just another hatchback; it was nothing to get excited about.  The promise of just 3-cylinders, between them displacing a meagre 1,199cc and producing a modest 129bhp was hardly something to set the pulse racing. And as someone who’s always swung more towards Germanic motors when spending his own money, my initial (some might say slightly prejudice) impressions was that the C4 was “typically French”. I know… Perhaps the motor-noter doth protest too much.

      Then came the opportunity to drive the C4 from out here in The Far Unlit Unknown to Cardiff on a very rainy Monday afternoon.

    The C4, despite what you might think on first seeing it, is very much a hatchback rather than an SUV. Yes, it does have ever-so slightly raised suspension, and some fashionable plastic body cladding in places, nevertheless, protected door bottoms and chunky front bumper aside, the C4 is very-much a hatch. Or is it a crossover?  The C4 is front-wheel drive only, you sit ever-so slightly higher, and yet the roof is a lot lower and indeed a lot slinkier than many of its similarly-sized contemporaries - thanks in part to that curvaceous glass… err… hatchback… than it would be on a something like a Qashqai, an Ateca, or any of Citroen’s own crossovers for that matter.

    Then quirky design has always been a Citroen trademark, so perhaps we shouldn’t too surprised, and there’s definitely a hint of many-a-Citroens of old in that side profile.

     Comfort has always been a Citroen trademark “We are the kings of comfort” so said Citroen Chief Vincent Cobee, and he should know. So instead of the C4 being some stiffly-sprung bahn-stormer, it sits on a much softer, almost lazier feeling CMP chassis that puts ride quality first, and lap records very much in second place. As a result, there’s little point in trying wrestle the C4 around corners or jump on either its throttle or brakes in a bid to cut your commuting time - it simply won’t thank you for it. Instead, it feels far better if you relax, use gentle inputs, and just go with its flow. It rolls a little in corners, everything feels soft; the light steering, the Comfort seats, and especially the slightly rubbery gear-change, (my C4 was a 6-speed manual, autos are available) but it soaks up the bumps like magic carpet and floats over bumps that would send other hatches, and crossovers, all of a dither.

    It’s quiet too. There is a little vibration from that diminutive three-pot motor, more-so when it’s being worked hard, but once up to cruising speeds it seems to hum along quite unobtrusively in the background while simultaneously providing surprising mid-range punch. Wind and tyre noise are nothing to concern yourself about, and the overall feeling when simply ambling along is one of calm.

    Citroen have also gone to great lengths to make the C4’s interior as stress free a place as possible too. There’s a head-up display (which I folded down immediately) and the digital dashboard appears only to show the information you really need to know: speed, fuel level, temperature, and that’s it. The trip computer can be accessed via button on the end of a column stalk – presumably it’s there only to satisfy those who like to worry about average speeds, fuel consumption, and time. And, hoorah! Citroen have fitted proper knobs and buttons to control the heating and air-con, rather than hiding everything inside a touchscreen that never really responds to the touch. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are standard fit.

    With my bags packed and stored in the C4’s surprisingly commodious boot I set course for Cardiff, settled-in, tuned the DAB, and arrived approximately two-and-half hours later, in a more far relaxed state that when I started. If Citroen’s mission was to make the C4 as relaxing as possible, and thus as different from its competition as it could be, I’d say mission accomplished.

   If you prefer your cars comfy, and your journeys stress free, whatever you do, don’t dismiss the new C4.

 

 

 

Citroen C4 PureTech 130 S&S 6-speed manual Sense Plus

 

Engine: 1,199 cc 3-Cyl 12V turbocharged petrol

Transmission: 6-Speed, Manual, front wheel drive.

Power:  129 bhp @ 5,500 rpm

Torque: 170 lbft @ 1,750 rpm

0-62 mph: 8.9 sec

Max Speed: 130 mph

CO2: 120- 135 g/km (WLTP)

MPG: 47.3 – 54.7 (WLTP combined).

Price: £23,010 (Car driven £23,710)

 

Many thanks to Michael at Citroen’s UK press office

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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