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Citroen C4 in the test: How is the new Golf competitor doing?

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Citroen C4 in the test
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W e should first distinguish between two things: a good one Citroën and a good car. Both do not necessarily have to be identical, as has been shown many times in the company's history: SM, GS, BX, C3 Pluriel and, yes, the 2CV were all that you associate with the avant-garde ideas of André Citroën, who was once a sculptor DS created. But for all their ingenuity, they were often quite a disaster in everyday life. Believe someone who didn't make sense of damage.

Citroën C4 follows the growth trend of its class

The new Citroën C4 doesn't care much about tradition. The way it looks, it could also be called Auris, Cee’d or 308. It follows the current growth trend in its class and now extends to a manageable 4.33 meters - making it one of the largest compact models with the Opel Astra and Mazda 3. But in contrast to the other two, the Citroën C4 translates the dimensions into a generous amount of space that is significantly higher than that of its predecessor. The cargo space increases its minimum volume by 88 liters, the maximum by 160 liters.

However, the high inner edge of the Citroën C4 is annoying when loading, with the rear seat backs folded down, one step remains in the otherwise well-designed loading compartment. The narrow doors with their small opening angles make it difficult to get into the rear. Once they have meandered in, two adults can be accommodated comfortably in the back, three acceptable. Only passengers over 1.80 meters should bump into the restricted headroom in the Citroën C4 with the optional panoramic glass roof.

Operation of the Citroën C4 is now easier

Pilots and co in the C4 on somewhat tightly cut seats, but undisturbed under the roof dome. The cockpit of the Citroën C4 stretches out in front of you: central digital instruments? Perfume dispenser? Fixed steering wheel hub? Everything passé. Instead, there are conventional fittings, although the mix of analog and digital displays requires getting used to.

In addition, the small speedometer needle almost disappears due to the large multifunction display and the instrument lighting, which can be selected in eight bright colors. Otherwise, the operation of the Citroën C4 is now easier without having to forego any challenges: The many buttons on the steering wheel - for radio, cruise control, telephone and central display - are just as much a part of it as the complicated menu navigation of the infotainment system.

Even the base is upfully equipped on a CD radio

In the top-of-the-range Citroën C4 Exclusive (from 21,800 euros), the variety of buttons is increased by the switches for lane keeping /change assistant and the e-Touch emergency call system. These absolutely sensible extras - such as bi-xenon headlights or tire pressure monitoring - are neither available for the Tendance line, which is 2,600 euros cheaper, nor for the basic Attraction version, which is 4,350 euros cheaper. Particularly annoying because the more expensive versions of the Citroën C4 hardly offer any significant or affordable added value and Citroën.

The basic engine remains initially the 1.4-liter petrol engine with 95 hp

The role of the base engine in the Citroën C4 - the 1.4-liter petrol engine with 95 hp will be available by the beginning of April 2011 - the 120 hp 1,600 cc. As in other models, Citroën couples it in the C4 with a five-speed box. The torque weakness of the four-valve engine - only at 4,250 rpm did it pile up a torque of 160 Nm - is supposed to compensate for the short ratio of the wobbly transmission.

The engine of the Citroën C4 beats at 130 km /h with 4,000 tours and, despite its good running smoothness, drowns out the careful noise insulation from the recommended speed. This has no negative impact on fuel consumption, which despite the fact that no special savings measures are taken, at 8.3 L /100 km, which is the appropriate level of the charged, 122 hp Golf 1.4 TSI. But the noise damages the comfort.

Citroën C4 with very safe driving characteristics

The Citroën C4 still shows the most typical Citroën character when it comes to comfort. It cushions carefully over small and large bumps, effectively absorbs driving noise - with the exception of the engine at higher speeds - and the automatic air conditioning (part of the innovation package for 690 euros) cools with three selectable flow rates.

The very safe driving characteristics match the relaxed nature of the Citroën C4. Even during the tests on a closed-off route, ESP has to intervene late, then brakes hard and effectively. During normal country road tours, the anti-skid protection is unlikely to be active - if only because the Citroën C4, with its somewhat in-direct steering and significant lateral inclination in curves, does not encourage sporty driving.

Advances in material and Quality of workmanship

At least in this respect, the new Citroën C4 is similar to its predecessor, which it otherwise surpasses in many details. In addition to the increased space and the more transparent operation, the greatest advances in the quality of materials and workmanship are evident. Except for little things like a wobbly bonnet support, the compact looks solid and high quality. In addition, adjusted for equipment, it is a few hundred euros cheaper than before, the Citroën C4, which has decided to be a good car rather than a good Citroën.


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