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Citroen C4 vs Opel Astra: compact petrol engines with and without turbo

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Citroen C4 vs Opel Astra
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E in soft sky blue? Or a strong violet blue? Or would you prefer non-binding pale white? Shortly before the Citroën C4 driver mourns the loss of all the quirks typical of the brand, he discovers the two buttons between the speedometer and tachometer that can be used to regulate the color of the instrument lighting - separately for the scales and central displays of the three round instruments. The Opel Astra can do that too, at least a little. When the adaptive chassis, which costs 980 euros, animates the dampers to work as required, pressing the sport button in the Opel Astra causes the instruments to flare up in red. That promises dynamism - which the new, 120 hp turbo engine in the Opel Astra is supposed to manifest with corresponding performance.

Opel turbo with weak acceleration and torque

The four-cylinder in the Opel Astra with 1 .4 liter displacement replaces the 1.6 liter naturally aspirated, weaker five hp, the maximum torque increases from 155 to 200 Newton meters, the required speed drops from 4,000 to 1,850 rpm. The key data heralds the currently popular form of motorization. On closer inspection, however, two potential troublemakers reveal themselves: the lack of direct injection could make it difficult for the Opel Astra in the test to achieve particularly low consumption, and the 170 kilograms higher curb weight compared to the Citroën C4 threatens the triumph in terms of performance. And indeed: When accelerating from zero to 100 km /h, the Opel Astra misses the connection by two tenths in 10.4 seconds, while the Frenchman also retains the characteristic double angle at the front when measuring elasticity.

Citroën with transmission weakness and high consumption

The manual transmission in the Opel Astra, which is specially geared to five and six, proves to be guilty in terms of the indictment. After all, it can be operated reasonably precisely, although the five-speed gearbox of the Citroën C4 is not a real opponent. The cuddly gearshift lever of the Citroën C4 strolls through the widely spaced lanes like in a long-serving used car, and the reverse gear lock can be overcome without any particular effort. The Frenchman could use an additional gear, because at 140 km /h there is a considerable speed difference of 1,100 revs between the two opponents. Since the 1.6-liter engine tends to roar anyway,It quickly gets uncomfortable in the Citroën C4 on brisk travel stages. After all, the standard audio system counteracts this with an astonishingly powerful and balanced sound - it also has to drown out the annoyance about the higher consumption. At 8.2 L /100 km, the surcharge compared to the Opel Astra (8.1 L /100 km) is minimal, which benefits from its long sixth gear.

Citroën shorter, but hardly less space

Otherwise, the C4 hardly offers any reason to complain. Ten centimeters shorter than the Opel Astra, it offers only marginally less interior space and even swallows a little more luggage when the rear seat is up. Only the large, but not openable glass roof (surcharge 990 euros) noticeably restricts the headroom in the rear. Even without this option, the Frenchman lets more light into its no-frills, cleanly finished interior and therefore offers a much better overview than the Opel Astra, especially towards the rear. At the front, on the other hand, tall drivers will also feel at home and will find an almost optimal position in relation to the steering wheel in the soft, comfortable seats. How- ever, how to use it needs to be learned, but that also applies to the Opel Astra, which once again impresses with its perfectly shaped optional seats. Every Opel Astra buyer and his passenger should be worth the extra charge of 685 euros. This also applies to the bi-xenon headlights that are standard in the tested innovation equipment, which adapt their light cone to the respective driving situation.

Citroën with handling weaknesses

If savings have to be made, then more with adaptive chassis. Although it solves every task almost perfectly, lets the Astra glide smoothly over large and small bumps and at the same time maneuvers it through bends without annoying body movements even at a brisk pace, but previously tested models without this option did their job hardly worse. The conventional dampers of the affordable Citroën also understand their craft, concentrating primarily on comfort. They consider agile handling to be unnecessary and let the C4 sway over the front wheels early. The - as in the Astra - callous steering reinforces this impression. So the Opel pulls past the Citroën, but rather despite and not because of the new engine. His temperament feels more sky blue than fire red even when the sports button is pressed.


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