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Long-term review

Citroen C4 PureTech 130 – long-term review

£26,605 / £27,200 as tested / £321pcm
Published: 10 Sep 2021
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    Puretech 130 Shine Plus

  • ENGINE

    1199cc

  • BHP

    131bhp

  • 0-62

    9.4s

The Citroen C4 has gone all crossover-y. What's it like to live with?

Before the C4 arrived, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. 

I knew the back-story, of course: the C4 has long been Citroen’s middle-of-the-genre C-segment hatchback, an on-the-nose rival for the Focus, Golf and Astra. But with Britons apparently deciding they’d stick instead with their Focuses, Golfs and Astras, Citroen has reinvented the C4 as a… well, whatever you’d call the car in the images above.

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I don’t mean that in a disparaging way. As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m all over cars that defy classification, if they work for their occupants. But C4’s reinvention did mean I was rather struggling to get my head around exactly how big it actually was.

Now it’s here, I can officially reveal that the C4 is… smaller than I expected, much closer to hatch than SUV in height. The design is… well, there’s a lot of it going on.

The C4 isn’t what you’d call ‘elegantly understated’, but having spent quite a while trying to get my head round it, I think it looks, from most angles, surprisingly well resolved: the squinty face is easier on the eye in the metal than the photos might suggest, perhaps because few adults look at cars from the nine-inches-off-the-ground angle favoured in car photographs. If nothing else, you’re at least unlikely to lose it in a busy car park, which is more than could be said for the old C4.

Given its modish design – and indeed modish roofline, which will definitely compromise the modish haircuts of any rear seat passengers – it’s noteworthy that the C4’s press spiel doesn’t go big on sportiness or active lifestyle. Instead, Citroen’s watchword here is comfort, which pleases me greatly. Comfort is my watchword too! I’m all about the comfort! 

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Because look, I love a Spirited Jaunt™ down a Twisty B-Road™ as much as the next red-blooded petrolhead, but let’s be honest. Family cars spend 99 per cent of their life doing boring family stuff, so why not do that in the best – by which, obviously, I mean most comfortable – way possible? Let’s be realistic about what we actually use our cars for, not what we wish were using our cars for if it wasn’t our week to take the kids to swimming. It will always be your week to take the kids to swimming, so chill out and embrace the comfy side of life.

Of course, comfort isn’t the same as softness. Make a car too wallowy, and your passengers won’t find their heart-rates going down, they’ll find their lunch coming back up. It’s an equation that’s foxed many more expensive cars, so I’m intrigued to see if Citroen can nail the ‘plush yet not bilious’ conundrum, especially with the UK’s terrible roads factored into the equation.

Speaking of expensive cars, the C4’s hardly a Lidl-middle-bin offering. C4 prices start at just over 21 grand, but this one tips the scales at £27,200, thanks to range-topping ‘Shine Plus’ trim level, which includes… well, pretty much everything, including that rather swish leather upholstery.

You can have your C4 in diesel (remember that stuff?) or even all-electric flavour, but we’ve gone for the 1.2-litre petrol offering in middlemost state of tune, its three cylinders providing a turbocharged 128bhp. It’s mated to an eight-speed (eight!) automatic gearbox driving the front wheels: no 4WD option here. Not exactly a rocket ship, then, but that’s exactly the point. This car is all about the comfort, so here’s to a tranquil six months…

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