Refreshingly in this sector, the Citroen C4 isn’t trying to be a hot hatch for the family, instead it’s more than happy to focus on being truly comfortable – something most families will appreciate more than super-sharp handling.
Although there aren’t any bad engines in the C4 line-up the 1.6-litre diesel units are the cheapest to run. The petrol alternatives, on the other hand, are more modern and less noisy than the diesels.
Although we would recommend avoiding it, the mid-range diesel and top-of-the-range petrol can be had with an automated manual gearbox, but it’s a jerky operator that makes the C4 feel dated to drive.
The entry-level diesel has only 98hp, but compensates with decent fuel economy of 78mpg and sub-99g/km CO2 emissions. With a 0-62mph time of 11.5 seconds, it’s not that slow, either. The most powerful offering with 150hp would be ideal if you plan on towing a caravan, but the overwhelming opinion is that the 120hp model is all you need – it’s eager to rev and returns the same fuel economy as the basic model.
I really like the focus on comfort, but look elsewhere for something sportier
The 1.2-litre follows the trend for fuel-sipping petrol engines. It only has three cylinders, but is boosted by a turbocharger for added pep. You can choose from 109 and 129hp models – they’re cheaper to buy, smoother, nicer sounding and also quicker than their equivalent diesels. Both can achieve fuel economy of more than 55mpg. These engines make a lot of sense if you don’t expect to rack up a huge mileage.
Citroen prioritised comfort and refinement when developing the C4, so it’s no surprise that the ride quality and noise insulation are top notch, which makes it ideal for motorway journeys. The light steering makes it fairly competent at navigating tight city streets, but the large steering wheel takes some precision away.
The focus on comfort means that it’s not quite as agile or as dynamically composed as a VW Golf or a Ford Focus, with reports of numb steering and a fair bit of body roll in corners. Choosing larger wheels doesn’t improve things, they just leave you with a harsher ride – diminishing one of the C4’s key strengths.