Citroen C4 Review
Citroen mid-size Citroen C4 family car is a worthy rival to the Ford Focus, even if it's not as much fun to drive
Which is why the appointment of Linda Jackson as managing director of Citroën UK is a significant event; female senior executives heading vehicle manufacturing companies and dealerships are very much the exception.
Linda's recent arrival coincides with Citroën's determined surge towards a better brand image, a central element of which is to convince potential buyers that its cars have that essential item: convincing quality. It's a tough call; the Citroen C4 has to square up to the Ford Focus, VW Golf and a phalanx of other finely crafted family hatchbacks.
Engine choice includes three smooth, revvy petrols developed with BMW and three very efficient HDi diesels. Manual gearboxes are quick and light to use. Citroën aesthetics have long swung between extremes, from the deadly dull Xsara to the extraordinary innovative design and technology of the original DS and later daring but low quality CX. The latest Citroen C4 occupies commercially safer middle ground.
Linda Jackson, carefully analysing the figures at Citroën HQ, will be hoping that it's Citroen C4 "convincing".
Lazy steering aside, it's a competent car to drive. The 2.0-litre petrol unit is ageing and the sporty 180bhp VTS version never really offers true hot hatch go. Both 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre HDi units provide plenty of punch, strong torque and very smooth, refined manners.
Arguably the most handsome car in its sector, the "Citroen C4 is elegant", well detailed and oozes French style. It comes either as a smart five-door hatch or more radical three-door, which Citroen near-viably calls a 'coupe'. Vauxhall's Astra is the "Citroen C4' most obvious rival, as it comes in practical five-door and more sporty three-door format. More conventional competitors include sister company Peugeot's 307, the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.
If only the Citroen's exterior style were matched by its interior. On first inspection, the unusual layout and static-hub steering wheel bode well, but the ergonomics are flawed. Furthermore, while diesel engines are economical, those ageing petrol engines return unimpressive mpg figures, while Citroen's willingness to offer cashback deals on new vehicles hurts retained values.
THIS is probably the best car Citroen has ever produced." It's miles better than the Citroen Xsara it replaces and shows the way Citroen is thinking.
There is a three-door coupe and five-door to choose from, plus a range of eight petrol and diesel engines - in all, 22 variants with four specification levels - LX, SX, VTR Plus and Exclusive - and prices ranging from £11,095 to £17,995.
Seats are supportive and space inside is excellent. Six airbags are standard, as well as anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist and many models have electronic stability programme and traction control.