If you want a small car but don’t want to blend into the crowd, the all-new Citroen C4 could be just right for you
The all-new Citroen C4 is not the best small car on the market. The Mazda3 is cheaper, the Ford Focus has better drivetrains, and the Volkswagen Golf is far superior in the handling department. Yet, despite all this, the Citroen C4 is a lovable little car that will be perfect for plenty of Australian new car shoppers.
Despite being one size larger than the Citroen C3, the C4 is actually the least expensive passenger vehicle in Citroen’s Australian MY2012 line-up.
For that starting price, you can choose from two different models. The first is the C4 Attraction. Powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 88kW of power and 160Nm of torque, the Attraction is teamed with a four-speed automatic transmission, making it one of the most affordable small autos in Australia.
The Attraction is lightly appointed from a standard features perspective, missing out on alloy wheels, rear power windows, trip computer, steering wheel controls and Bluetooth. Fortunately, it offers a comprehensive safety package (six airbags, ABS, EBA, electronic stability control and traction control) as well as cruise control with speed limiter, front electric windows, six-speaker audio system with auxiliary jack and an automatic rear windscreen wiper.
Stepping up to the mid-spec trim level adds 16-inch alloys, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, trip computer, multi-function steering wheel and power rear windows, as well as an automatic handbrake, fog lights with cornering function, dark tinted rear windows, leather steering wheel and cruise control with three memory settings. For $24,990, you can get the Seduction equipment level with the four-speed auto.
Also available in Seduction spec is a 1.6-litre diesel engine. For $26,990, the 82kW/270Nm HDi unit pairs with a six-speed manual transmission. Combined fuel use is a neat 4.6 litres/100km, while its 0-100km/h time of 11.2 seconds makes it feel much faster than the petrol.
The e-HDi unit is only available with a semi-automatic six-speed EGS (electronic gearbox system). There’s no clutch pedal, so you can drive it like a regular automatic, or change gears using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The $27,990 Seduction e-HDi is the most fuel efficient model in the range, returning combined figures of just 4.2 litres/100km. Both Seduction diesels also score special 16-inch Michelin low consumption tyres.
The final option is the $31,990 Exclusive turbo petrol. This model gets a turbocharged 1.6-litre engine with 115kW and 240Nm. It’s paired with the six-speed EGS and hits the sweet spot between performance and efficiency: 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds, 6.4 litres/100km combined. Unfortunately, Citroen didn’t have one at the launch for us to test either.
One nagging feature about both manual models is the pedals. The clutch has an unnecessarily long travel, and takes some getting used to before you find the sweet spot for smooth take-offs. The brake pedal has a spongy feel to it early before the brakes suddenly jab in, again making smoothness more difficult than it should be. The pedals are all positioned fairly close together too, so best leave your Ugg boots at home.
Despite the soft ride, the C4 sits flat when pushed around corners. The steering is light, making it a dream in tight car parks and urban traffic but a little less responsive when cornering.
It’s easy to find your place in the driver’s seat, and front and rear visibility are both very good. The large digital speed readout facilitates quick glances and means you can spend more time with your eyes on the road. The centre console switchgear is attractive and simple to use, and pairing Bluetooth devices is intuitive.
All Citroen C4 models are covered by a three-year/100,000km warranty and three-year roadside assistance and need to be serviced annually or every 10,000km.
Citroen C4 manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):
- Attraction petrol four-speed automatic – $22,990
- Seduction petrol five-speed manual – $22,990
- Seduction petrol four-speed automatic – $24,990
- Seduction HDi six-speed manual – $26,990
- Seduction e-HDi six-speed EGS – $27,990
- Exclusive turbo petrol six-speed EGS – $31,990
- Exclusive HDi six-speed manual – $31,990
- Exclusive e-HDi six-speed EGS – $32,990
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