22 May 2013
Citroen’s C4 has forged quite a reputation for itself since its launch in 2004, due in part to its the dancing Transformer TV advertising and its four (and counting) World Rally Championship titles. A ‘new look’ C4 has just been introduced which features a number of changes and improvements.
The top-of-the-range VTS C4 comes with either a 140hp 2-litre HDI or a 150hp 1.6i THP 16 valve 4cyl petrol engine. I drove the latter and its ‘Turbo High Pressure’ engine was co-developed with BMW and features technology new to the C4 range such as direct sequential injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger, and continuously variable inlet valve timing. The claimed figures are 0-62mph in 9.7secs with a max of 129mph, so although it’s not the brawniest hatch ever to hit the streets, it’s certainly not lacking in get-up-and-go. The 6-speed gearchange action is smooth, while the C4’s engine and drivetrain feel remarkably quiet and refined for a car of this size.
No complaints here either. Some of the more powerful hatchbacks in recent years have earned themselves a reputation for having a bone-jarring, tooth-rattling ride, all supposedly for the benefit of boy racers on track days. But take your mum or gran for a ride in this C4 and you won’t see her grimacing in discomfort. Which isn’t to say that the VTS is a softie that doesn’t like to be driven hard; it isn’t and it can be. The steering is accurate and positive while the compliant suspension was capable of comfortably handling everything I could throw at on a mixture of B, A and M roads.
I’ve already commented on how refined this car feels, and this doesn’t come as a result of sloppy engineering or a so-so attitude manufacture and assembly. It’s always hard to gauge build and reliability when you only driven a car for a week, much less a few hours, but everything seemed very well screwed together during my brief encounter, despite having a good poke about in the boot and under the carpets.
The original C4 achieved some of the highest EuroNCAP ratings in the segment for frontal impact (5 star), child protection (4 star) as well as a 3-star pedestrian safety rating. This ‘new look’ C4 has all the same safety equipment, including the unique to Citroën torso shaped driver’s airbag that can be incorporated because of the C4’s fixed-centre steering wheel. ESP, front, passenger and side airbags, an alarm, immobiliser, central locking and front seatbelt pre-tensioners all also come as standard, while options such as directional headlamps, front and rear parking assist, a lane departure warning system, hill start assist, laminated side windows, a speed limiter and cruise control are also available.
In addition to a number of subtle changes to the C4’s exterior, the ‘new look’ interior boasts improved finishes and materials to give the car a more upmarket feel. Importantly there’s still good space for four plus some light luggage, and in addition to the C4’s distinctly high tech instrumentation, there’s also an integrated air freshener. Those into gadgetry will appreciate Citroen’s NaviDrive which features a hi-resolution 7-inch colour screen with Europe-wide satnav, real time traffic reports and an audio system with a 30GB hard drive, a video auxiliary socket and USB connectivity.
For a 130mph/150hp car, a combined mpg figure of 40.9 looks pretty good, until you compare it with the 2.0 HDI’s 53.3mpg. But then the 143hp HDI VTS costs £18,895, or £1,400 more than the £17,495 1.6 petrol VTS, so as is so often the case, the manufacturer provides the choice – all you have to do is estimate your annual mileage, fuel costs and likely period of ownership… Other relevant ownership figures are group 10 insurance, 164g/km of CO2, a 3yr/60,000m warranty and 20,000m service intervals. On a more subjective level, the C4 VTS is very easy on the eye, it’s refined, comfortable and also great to drive, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
Submitted: 31/10/2008 10:30:56
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