The new coupe-like C4 crossover from Citroen is a striking and stylish addition to the French automaker’s range – but it is clearly designed for comfort rather than dazzling performance.
Oddly, I also found it to look better and more noticeable on the street and in metal than it does in photos.
Long before I got behind the wheel, I spotted one out of the corner of my eye in Citroen’s office car park in Coventry as the first batch was delivered to the UK by van.
The new C4 crossover from Citroen is available with petrol, diesel or all-electric drive trains
It looks very different and very appealing. It is a stylish addition to most driveways and celebrates the much-acclaimed French virtue: “Vivre la Difference”
When deciding to buy one, you need to ask yourself the key question: do I want it in gasoline, diesel or electric?
As electrical power becomes the norm, all three powertrains will be offered on this new range, priced between £ 20,990 for gasoline, £ 28,240 for diesel and £ 29,180 (after deducting £ 3,000 of the £ 3,000 plug-in car allowance) for electricity lies.
I tried the gasoline and electric versions.
I was led to gasoline first – I suspect based on the fact that the quieter, smoother electric model would likely make a bigger impression, so it’s best to build on it. Indeed it was.
Ray found the new C4 more noticeable on the street and in the metal than in photos
But in truth, both gasoline and electric versions – while perfectly decent and very comfortable – could never be accused of setting the world on fire. But it doesn’t pretend to be hot.
It’s more suited to buyers, couples, and families who want a nice looking car on the driveway that is harmlessly decent to drive, offers a comfortable ride, but doesn’t need a racing pedigree in terms of performance and handling.
If the C4 were popular music, it would take its place in the easy listening category.
Depending on your tastes, this could be anywhere along the continuum from Andy Williams and Frank Sinatra to today’s Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith.
It certainly tends more towards the lyrical Adele than, for example, punk rock, heavy metal or challenging eclectic bands like The Pixies or Einstuerzende Neubauten.
The once popular record label ‘MfP -‘ Music for Pleasure ‘- sums it up. Gently entertaining, but it won’t scare the horses.
The C4 is an enjoyable and certainly comfortable ride, but not an overly engaging or spirited one that gets the juices flowing. But honestly, don’t most people want a car anyway? Not everyone is a high octane gasoline head.
Citroen believes the C4’s blend of style, technology, design, and engineering in its newest car will make it one of the most comfortable on the road – especially in its class – as the chic Gallic rival of the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
Offered in electric, gasoline, and diesel modes, it also promises suspension and hydraulic systems that make occupants feel like they’re traveling on a magic carpet without hopping.
The curved interior of the new C4 is an elegant, contemporary take on the Citroen sedans of yesteryear – the 10th iteration of a compact hatchback line that dates back to 1928
Citroen has already registered 20 new patents for the suspension and offers so-called “progressive hydraulic cushions” which offer a “magic carpet ride” effect for the driver and passengers.
The comfort factor applies twice to the all-electric e-C4 version of the C4, which gives the mix a peaceful silence and smooth running. It’s also a more responsive drive than the gasoline model and – thanks to its smooth acceleration – out of the blocks a fraction faster.
In order to maintain the comfort factor, the French automaker promises, thanks to an extended wheelbase and plenty of space for the shoulders and elbows in the back, more space with additional knee room at the rear (198 mm in total, which in its opinion is the best class) even when three are seated side by side. It comfortably accommodates a couple of six footers.
The “Advanced Comfort Seat” of the C4 offer a high seating position and are filled with high-density foam – to avoid the “seated effect” after many hours of driving.
They promise to keep inmates on the street comfortable, alert, and refreshed. The foam also prevents seats from aging after several years, says Citroen.
Seats and backrests are also wide with reinforced support and lumbar and height adjustment in the front.
The clever storage includes 39 liter containers and storage compartments in the cabin. The practical 380 liter trunk (expandable to 1250 liters with the rear seats folded down) has a low, flat loading edge. There are also 20 driver assistance technologies that keep you safe.
For technology and entertainment fans, the new C4 even has a special pull-out computer tablet or an Apple I-Pad holder and storage space so that the person in the front passenger seat can watch a movie or play a game while on the move.
There is also a slot for your smartphone that you can use for infotainment and sat-nav if you don’t want the factory-installed version.
The curved interior of the new C4 is an elegant, contemporary take on the Citroen sedans of yesteryear – the 10th iteration of a compact hatchback line that dates back to 1928.
It is the successor to the earlier C4 from 2004 and 2010 and most recently the C4 Cactus from 2014.
According to Citroen, its bloodline goes back more than 92 years and includes the AM16 and 8 of the 1960s, the GS and GSA of the 1970s, the BX of the 1980s, the ZX of the 90s and the Xsara of 1997.
Will it fit in my garage?
New Citroen C4
Area price: from £ 20,990
Length: 4355 mm
Turning circle: 10.9 m
Starting volume: 380 liters
With the rear seats folded down: 1250 liters
Electric Citroen e-C4
Price: from £ 29,180 (after deducting £ 3,000 plug-in car grant)
Model-driven: e-C4 Shine
Price as driven: £ 30,130 (when granted)
Electric motor power: 100 kW / 136 PS
Battery: 50 kWh
Top speed: 150 km / h
0 to 62 mph: 9 seconds
Offer: 217 miles
Quick charger DC to 80%: 30 minutes
Charger: 7 and a half hours
Household plug: 24 hours
Model-driven: C4 Shine Plus PureTech 130 EAT8 S&S Price: £ 26,590
Engine: 1.2 liter 3 cylinder turbo gasoline
Power: 128 hp
Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch automatic transmission
0 to 62 mph: 9.4 seconds
Top speed: 130mph
CO2 emissions: 131 g / km
MPG: 44.7-50.3 mpg
The new gasoline-powered C4 is offered with a choice of three 1.2-liter three-cylinder turbo engines: a Puretech 100 mated to a six-speed manual transmission; the 130 with manual or 8-speed automatic; and the 155 only in car.
I drove the C4 Shine Plus PureTech 130 with 8-speed automatic transmission and stop-and-start technology from £ 26,590.
Its 1.2-liter 3-cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine and 128 hp brings it from rest to 100 km / h to a top speed of 200 km / h in 9.4 seconds. The CO2 emissions are 131 g / k and averaged between 44.7 and 50.3 mpg.
Despite the threatened ban on fossil fuels from 2035, there are still two four-cylinder diesel engines, the BlueHDi 110 as a 6-speed manual transmission and the car-only 8-speed BlueHDi 130.
I also drove the nippy zero-emission all-electric e-C4 Shine for £ 30,130 (after the plug-in car grant).
Its 100 kW / 136 PS electric motor and its 400 V (50 kW) lithium-ion battery bring it quickly from standby to 100 km / h in 9.0 seconds to a top speed of 150 km / h with a claimed range of 217 km.
It has a new gear selector switch that replaces the previous handy handle with a new flat system that is flush with the center console. I prefer the old version. But you get used to it and time goes by.
There are three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport. To increase the range, you can set a braking function to increase the resistance and thus the deceleration of the vehicle without actually having to apply the brake.
This one-pedal driving style helps reclaim extra energy to recharge the battery on the go, and I’ve used it most of my time driving through the Warwickshire countryside and urban Coventry.
Charging to 80 percent takes 30 minutes at a public charging station, 7.5 hours with a household wall box (5 hours with an optional 11 kW version) and up to 24 hours with a household plug.
The new C4 definitely looks good and should give rivals VW Golf and Ford Focus a chance (as does the electric e-C4, which offers more choice in a market with the Nissan LEAF and the new VW ID.3).
And it would be even more effective if you dared to step outside your comfort zone.
Religious plates for eco-drivers
When you need to show your green credentials, official green license plates can now legally be placed on zero-emission vehicles.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps was one of the first to have a kit installed for his Tesla Model 3 in Halfords, Welwyn this week.
He said they would raise awareness that a greener transportation future is possible.
Nissan strives for affordable luxury
Nissan is targeting “downsizer” by delivering business-class comfort and technology at economy-class prices with its UK-built Qashqai compact SUV, bosses say.
The interior of the new SUV, which is to be built in Sunderland next year, is even inspired by the interior of an Airbus cockpit.
The premium kit includes massage seats, high-resolution displays and wireless smartphone charging. Introductory prices start at around £ 20,000.
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