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Citroen C4: Fascinatingly French

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What is it?

Citroen Australia has added the latest generation C4 to its model range.

Initially, only one model is coming Downunder — the Shine variant.

Should it be successful, it’s likely that we will see other models coming here.

New Citroen C4 Shine is 4355mm long with a 2670mm wheelbase.

It’s 1525mm tall and 1800mm wide.

This puts it up against the Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, as well as another French car — the Peugeot 2008.

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What’s it cost?

In a clever move, new C4 blends SUV characteristics with hatchback versatility and coupe styling.

It has a wide bonnet, a narrow opening with Citroen double chevrons in the centre and slim daytime running lights at each end.

There are large multiple headlights in the lower area.

The lower part of the body and the wheel arches are finished in black which adds to the SUV look . . . well, sort of.

The roof has a rear downward slope that works well visually.

The lower area of the tail has a complex black three-dimensional shape with multiple trapezoidal shapes that, yet again in this car, look like nothing else in this class — or indeed in any class.

Observers who checked over the car during our test period had differing opinions of the rear. We loved it.

The Citroen C4 has DAB digital radio and a six-speaker sound system.

There’s no branding on the system, presumably because it’s been developed specifically for the Citroen by one of the major players.

Sound quality is fine, but not what you would call outstanding.

Australasia’s independent voice on vehicle safety, ANCAP gave a 4-star safety rating to the Citroen C4 with performance falling short in three of the four key areas of safety assessment.

It achieved scores of 76 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection, 81 per cent for Child Occupant Protection, 57 per cent for Vulnerable Road User Protection and 62 per cent for Safety Assist.

“Unfortunately, the Citroën C4’s scores fell short in three of our four key areas of assessment, meaning it was unable to meet the five-star safety standard consumers and fleets have come to expect,” ANCAP CEO, Carla Hoorweg, said.

“It is likely that with some small enhancements, Citroen could see the C4 elevated to five stars, and we would strongly encourage Citroen to consider introducing such improvements.”

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What’s it go like?

Power comes from a three-cylinder, 1.2-litre, turbo-petrol engine with 114kW of power and 240Nm of torque.

It drives the front wheels through Citroen’s latest eight-speed Efficient Automatic Transmission.

There are three driving modes: Eco, Normal and Sport.

We found that Normal gave decent performance, but we did prefer to run it in Sport as we do love driving.

The dashboard area has the instruments in a squared off binnacle, shrouded to keep off reflections.

In the centre there’s a large rectangular screen for satellite navigation as well as controls for many of the minor functions.

The front passenger has a dashboard tray, effectively a large, sliding drawer, with a cushioned opening position to store and hold a tablet (or other object) in place.

The tray is covered with a graphic anti-slip coating.

Dual-zone climate control with rear centre console air vents make it a pleasant place to travel for all occupants.

Citroen “Advanced Comfort seats” include a high-density layer at the heart of the seat structure covered by a 15mm-thick textured surface foam, providing a padded effect.

Their styling is again fascinatingly French.

The front seats are electrically heated, not something that we’re going to be testing our C4 on the Gold Coast in the middle of summer.

We may borrow another one in winter to see how they go.

The driver’s seat has four-way powered adjustment with manual longitudinal adjustment as well as a massage function.

The front passenger’s seat has multi-way manual adjustment, with electric lumbar adjustment so there are plenty of ways to get it just right.

Rear seat legroom is fine, but tall people may touch the roof due to the sloping tail.

Ride comfort is exceptionally good in the manner of all French cars.

The C4 almost seems to float along and only the biggest of bumps and potholes cause it to be slightly upset.

There’s a fair bit of body roll, something Citroens have had for years, but it’s part of the comfort package and Citroen lovers are happy with that.

Handling is competent enough but is set up more for comfort than sporting feel.

The steering is rather too light and it doesn’t respond as quickly as we like.

A colour head-up display projects the main driving information, including speed, into the driver’s direct field of vision.

This is so much easier to see when wearing polarized sunglasses as I do. Big marks to Citroen for this.

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What we like?

  • Ride comfort is exceptionally good
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear centre console air vents
  • Blends SUV characteristics with hatchback versatility and coupe styling

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What we don’t like?

  • 4-star safety rating
  • Steering rather light and unresponsive

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The bottom line?

Could we live with a Citroen C4 as our own car?

Probably; the pluses outweigh the minuses and it’s enjoyable to be in — something that doesn’t look like everything else on the road.

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CHECKOUT: Citroen C3: A little ray of sunshine

CHECKOUT: Citroen — the C4 is back!

Citroen C4 Shine, priced from $37,990
  • Looks - 8/10
    8/10
  • Performance - 7/10
    7/10
  • Safety - 6/10
    6/10
  • Thirst - 7/10
    7/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
    8/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
    9/10
  • Tech - 7/10
    7/10
  • Value - 8/10
    8/10
Overall
7.5/10
7.5/10

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