By Bill McCarthy
HAVING been lucky enough to drive the newest Citroen C4 at the UK launch, it was good to be able to give the French newcomer a more extended run.
That was over several hundreds of miles and if I was impressed originally, that extended run further emphasised the qualities of the this compact family car.
Already impressed by the stunning looks, the question was, is it good enough to take on the market leaders in one of the most competitive segments?
Going up against formidable rivals such as the Golf, Focus and Astra, not to mention its own stablemate the Peugeot 308 is a tough call, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the C4 is a classy alternative. It is simply one of the best looking cars of its type on the road, and with a choice of petrol, diesel and pure electric versions, it has plenty to offer.
The 1.2 litre, three cylinder engine powering this model proved itself with flying colours. Delivering 130bhp, it offers pace, flexibility and diesel-like economy, with an average of around 48mpg, unheard of in petrol cars not so very long ago.
For a smallish engine there is bags of grunt and low-down torque making it an excellent motorway cruiser with great overtaking potential while it was just a doddle to potter around town. The raspy roar from the twin exhausts also delivers a pleasing sound under acceleration. which is not too shabby either, the car hitting 60mph in a shade under nine seconds.
The styling is bold and ambitious and designers have combined hatchback practicality with the muscular styling of a crossover/SUV and swooping, coupe-like sleekness.
The near range topping Shine model driven here, like the rest of the range, puts the emphasis on comfort with the firm’s specially padded seats with hydraulic cushions, a softish, but comfortable ride and high quality fixtures and fittings.
Despite its sporty profile, comfort is very much a key factor from the comfortable seats, wide wraparound effect dash and soft touch finish to doors and dash and ambient lighting giving it an upmarket feel.
There are 20 driver assistance features, including Highway Driving Assist and a level-two semi-autonomous system that incorporates adaptive cruise control and lane keeping.
Inside, the centre point is a 10-inch touchscreen which controls the major functions of the car like infotainment, connectivity and navigation.
Connectivity is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while a full HD camera, which can take photos or video stored on a 16GB memory card, is built into the rear-view mirror.
As a hatchback it is practical with a 380 litre boot, where capacity can be increased to 1,250 litres by folding the rear seats. It is also packed with equipment from creature comforts to comprehensive safety kit and neat touches like the head-up display on this model.
Citroen C4 Shine
Mechanical: 307bhp, 1199cc, 3-cylinder, petrol engine driving front wheels via six speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 47.3 – 54.7
Insurance Group: TBC
C02 emissions: 120-135g/km
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles