The first vehicle to feel the effects of the stiff bristles of the Gallic broom is the Citroen C4, which is virtually all-new. It comes Down Under with a choice of four petrol and four diesel versions and three trim and equipment levels – Attraction, Seduction and Exclusive.
Inside and out the design is completely new. Nothing has been carried over from the model it supersedes. The new Citroen C4 comes to the market starting at just $22,990, excluding statutory and dealer costs.
This variant is powered by a 1.6-litre 88 kW diesel engine with a standard automatic transmission, central locking, power front windows and cruise control.
Other vehicles in the range boast a blind spot warning system and front massaging seats. New powertrains offer fuel economy as impressive as 3.8 litres per 100 km.
Also available is a micro-hybrid e-HDi system that includes a 1.6-litre 82 kW diesel motor fitted with a second-generation engine stop-start function and regenerative braking.
Engine start-ups take a mere 400 milliseconds; it cuts the engine even before the car comes to a stop, at about six km/h, with the overall result of improving fuel efficiency by up to 15 per cent and reducing CO2 emissions by about five grams per kilometre. Every little bit helps.
An electronically controlled alternator uses regenerative braking to recover energy when the car slows. The EGS gearbox incorporates optimised gear ratios.
Aimed at meeting the needs of mid-size five-door hatchback customers, the Citroen C4 offers a purposeful front, is aerodynamic amidships, business-like back yet with a rear spoiler adding a touch of sportiness.
At 4.33 metres long, 1.79 metres wide and 1.49 metres high, it’s a tad larger than the model it replaces. The new C4 has a cargo carrying capacity that leads the class. It swallows up to 380 litres of luggage with the rear seat backs up, or 1183 litres with them folded.
Interior finish too is up there with the best in class. The soft finish upper surface of the dashboard and chrome rims on dials and vents presents a touch of class to a driver-focused layout.
The latest in automotive technology, some of which is unique to this market, is within reach of the driver. There is blind spot monitoring; cornering lights that guide the driver on sharp bends, and cruise control with speed limiter that can be set to driver’s choice speeds.
Comfort can be ‘cut’ to individual tastes with colour adjustment of instrument display, a selection of ‘polyphonic’ alerts and three intensity settings for air-con. The top line Exclusive model is fitted as standard with front seat massage facility, the first in this market sector.
Citroen C4’s use of 15 per cent ‘green’ materials adds to its environmental credentials.
In a compact cruise around Sydney’s north shore in a petrol and diesel variant, the C4 showed itself to be versatile enough to suit a range of customers from the green leaners to those who demand a touch of luxury no matter what size of vehicle.
The 88 kW petrol with six-speed manual transmission tended to run out of puff under load unless revs were maintained in the upper regions, while a diesel powered ‘mate’ produced a more relaxed drive with a surprisingly quiet cabin atmosphere for an oil burner.
While light and spacious in interior feel, the seats turned out to be flat and on the hard side of firm. The large digital speedo and expansive windscreen meant flicking between ‘clock’ and road was easy on the eyes.
With a range of vehicles presenting something for everybody, the C4 sets the standard for other Citroens to come. It could be a happy new year for the marque.
C4 Attraction 1.6 petrol automatic: $22,990
C4 Seduction 1.6 petrol six-speed manual: $22,990
C4 Seduction 1.6 petrol automatic: $24,990
C4 Seduction 1.6 HDi six-speed manual: $26,990
C4 Seduction 1.6 e-HDi six-speed EGS $27,990
C4 Exclusive 1.6 turbo-petrol six-speed EGS: $31,990
C4 Exclusive 1.6 HDi six-speed manual: $31,990
C4 Exclusive 1.6 e-HDI six-speed EGS: $32,990